Clients who have difficulty dealing with authority figures is for them a common reason why they enter coaching, and it shows up in several characteristic ways.
1. Some go from job to job because they can't handle a boss. This pattern is usually repeated in their dealings with others "in authority" (e.g., doctor, police officer, maitre'd).
2. Some clients unconsciously express their authority issues in subtler ways. For instance, they can be overly deferential towards authority figures. They have a problem saying no and are usually the ones staying late because they've taken on too much.
3. Others reveal themselves in how they exercise their own authority in dealings with students, subordinates, and clients. So, on the one hand, they please, and on the other hand they use authority to others.
The problem is that we do not feel equal.
This could be our boss, but also someone with higher social status, or anyone who has something we want and the power to withhold it.
Psychologically speaking, our first "authority figures" were our parents or caretakers. That's right, it all goes back to Mom and Dad! Not that we can blame them. This will not solve our issue. They were just passing on--quite unconsciously--pretty much what they experienced when they were that age.
Authorities have only as much power over us as we reflexively give them. You see, it isn't the way we think about authority, though that's certainly part of it. The trouble lies in the way we feel about authority.
The power we allow an authority figure to have over us affects how we feel about ourselves, and thus the degree of internal discomfort. That being so, the ability to change our attitudes remains in our hands. We give away our power, or we exercise it, to the degree to which we resolve those issues.
Because authority issues arise from our feeling states, they're not effectively changed by left-brain criticism or admonition. We need to feel how and where these states arise in the body (the right brain) and then move into experiencing something new at that moment. Through coaching /therapy assignments we can practice to feel equal and not feel this internal discomfort.
Article:Dr. Susan LaCombe, Psychologist and Psychotherapist