Alex Bierach

Developmental coaching for grounded achievers

Zone of Proximal Development and Inner Conflict

30 September 2019

The ZPD describes the phenomena that you can perform at your maximum capacity when being guided by someone more competent than you.

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This phenomena is a major reason coaching is so important when we want to develop a new skill or capacity. The coach can guide us into levels of competence that we eventually make our own.

One common skill that I support my clients in developing is the skill of mediating internal conflict. All of us are at times beset by what can be described as an internal civil war. We have competing commitments that jockey with one another for attention.

Without practice in this domain, most of us experience our internal conflicts as a continuous power struggle that plays out just below our conscious awareness, bubbling up in periodic spells of confusion, doubt or difficult emotion.

What if we could negotiate an enduring truce, where each of our competing commitments are in a wise balance?

The presence of a skilled coach in this area helps us mediate these conflicts, much like a professional mediator might resolve conflict within a board room. More importantly, their expertise serves as a scaffolding for our own development, so that we become more skillful in resolving our inner tensions.