What is a Transformational Coach?
A Transformational Coach provides individuals with a direct, lived experience of the reality they have created in order to empower them to shift their current paradigm to make way for what is desired.
Our fullest intention is to empower clients to fully embrace the dilemmas and choices facing them. This inevitably supports
• Cultivating awareness and choosing to choose through intelligence and mindfulness
• Stepping into vulnerable, intimate, openness and expanding ones capacity to be the fullest expression of their essential self
• Choosing to live in faith, trust, and the unknown fuels the leap of faith required to achieve one’s desired outcome
• Realization that fear is always present and available to inform us of all our perceived limitations
• Experiencing and embracing the magnificence of Being that we already are
• Realizing the priority or hierarchy of our commitments and how they inform us of the values we have in place and the way we make meaning
A coach is an expert empowering people and organizations at strengthening commitments to their Vision. From these commitments come actions that produce powerful results. A transformational coach adds a unique dimension to coaching in that they are masterful at assisting you in revealing the very core interpretations and beliefs that support each and every aspect of your life remaining unfulfilled.
Individuals seeking coaching for themselves will have a thinking partner with whom to investigate and reveal underlying patterns of operating. These patterns undermine your capacity to have what you say you want. It’s very different then therapy in that you are focused on your future aspirations and take on practices that exercise, strengthen and expand your capacity to manifest your desired results.
Therapy is an important process in supporting people in developing a strong ego structure in order to live in well-being in the present moment. Transformational coaching attracts people who are willing to take a leap of faith into the unknown territory of their future reality. We all have dreams. But, too many of us are afraid of what lies within the mystery of “let’s make it happen!”
In the business world, distinguishing business operations from ever-present human dynamics (which undermine these operations) enables clear, effective, and rapid change to processes and procedures. This results in a healthier, more vital company and a much better bottom line. Each person in your company, from the president to the receptionist, through their humanity, fundamentally impacts how your organization functions and manifests its Vision. Coaching to the personal dynamics of your staff will facilitates long-lasting and high-quality results.
Supporting you in moving beyond your present paradigm, liberating you from limited thinking, and expanding possibility beyond your imagination is what good coaching is about. One famous high tech company proposes that we “think different!” Good coaches facilitate this “thinking differently” out of and beyond the box. Transformational coaching is far more powerful than problem solving, which addresses the symptom but not the root cause of the symptom. Discovering the root cause gives you choice where presently there is none.
Here, in this moment, you get to choose your level of greatness. Until now the choice belonged to those who came before you. They limit your vision of the future by only providing solutions from the past.
What is Transformational Coaching?
Coaching in general, is results oriented, generative in nature and requires clients to practice being accountable for what occurs in their lives. It distinguishes a client from the interpretations she has about life in general, herself in particular and about the specific outcome she is wanting. Coaching empowers her to shift those interpretations, which no longer serve her. It also empowers her to practice new ways of being that align her with her desires in order to reach her highest potential. It is transformational in nature because it focuses on the states of being that generate actions, which either move the client closer to her desired outcomes or further away. Shifting how an individual is being, rather than what she is doing, will create transformation, because the way she is being is transferable to every other aspect of her life. The client transforms their perspective, shifting their paradigm to include more, which allows an expanded repertoire of possibilities to exist.
The focus of coaching, any type of coaching, is on the desired outcome or results. It focuses on where you are in this present moment, how you want to be, where you want to be, and how you want to get there. The outcome is something that is tangible and measurable. For instance, a client who is desiring more peace in his life might be asked: "How will you know when you have the level of peace you want? What will be present or absent when there is more peace?" In other words, the client needs to have some tangible and measurable indicators so that he and his coach will know when they have met their target. The client may say that when he has more peace he will experience more balance in his life. He will have more time with his children, more intimacy with his wife and more quality time with himself. He will make time for exercise and being in nature. These are tangible results that can be seen and measured.
With the desired outcome clear, a coach listens to what the client is saying and distinguishes whether what he is saying, and what he is doing, is in alignment with the desired outcome. The degree to which the client is committed to that outcome is the degree to which he will be willing to hear the distinctions the coach is making and generate or choose new ways of being that align him with the stated outcome. His willingness to practice taking actions that result in having fulfilled the commitment will also become clearer over time.
Eastern spiritual traditions suggest that it is best to desire no desire in order to reach enlightenment and live without suffering. This desire for no desire is a desire, none the less.
It is our relationship to our desires that creates suffering. Millions of individuals suffer from having desires, having them fulfilled and from having them unfulfilled. The fulfillment of desires is not a bad thing. If it was, then the fulfillment for the desire for peace, the desire for enlightenment and the desire to end desires would also be seen as something other than good.
Noticing the relationship you have with your desires allows you to observe how you are being with them. Are you being demanding, greedy, impatient and untrusting? Or, are you being open, allowing, and unattached to the outcome? Again, it’s important to distinguish the desire from how you are being with the desire.
Any result we are going for can only be generated through our actions. And, as transformational coaches, we focus on what is generating those actions that are creating the results that we are currently getting. We say that it is generally the environment, within which the individual thinks and feels that generates the actions that are creating the present circumstances.
What is this environment and what creates it? The environment is the space we live in, but this one is inside our heads. The thoughts and feelings that go on forever, most of which we pay little conscious attention to, cause us to have a particular sense of the world. And, when we distinguish where those thoughts and feelings come from we find that there are specific beliefs and interpretations that we took on through family and cultural interactions that actually run the show. When we pay attention to these conversations we are having with others and with ourselves we can begin to see what our general environment is like and how it generates the actions that we undertake. These internal environments are like the various environments around the globe. These environments create their own unique weather patterns that we can count on. But as the environments change through pollution, population, solar and planetary shifts we can see there are different outcomes based on those shifts in the environment. Our internal environment creates the events that unfold throughout our day and our lives and if we shift this environment we will shift the patterns of interacting with the world and with ourselves. This is going to give us different results.
This internal environment includes internal dialog and conversations, which include our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. These conversations, which are constantly running, hold limiting beliefs and interpretations that stop us from having what we say we want. They are often so engrained, or hard wired, in us that we don’t even hear ourselves speaking. Coaches focus specifically on what their clients are saying, internally and externally. We do this because we are listening for all of those interpretations and meanings that interfere with the possibility of fulfilling the clients’ desires. It is only within these conversations that impossibility truly exists .
Often, thinking and feeling get in the way of following through with what we say we are committed to. How often have you heard "I promised myself I would walk every day, but I just don’t feel like it today" Or, "I’m thinking that it would be a better use of my time to work on my papers today instead of walking." In the first conversation, the individual is indicating that his feelings outweigh his commitment to walking. In the second conversation he is rationalizing and justifying why he shouldn’t walk today. Distinguishing those thoughts and feelings, which interfere with actualizing the commitment to the desired outcome, is a very important skill
The Environment or Context
As we have just discussed, every thought and emotion has an environment, or context, within which it occurs. A context is a container, a parameter of truth within which we think, feel, sense and take action. Our thinking, feeling and our actions are based solely on what we say is true. Within this context, there are outcomes that are possible and outcomes that are impossible. When a client requests coaching for a particular outcome, a coach carefully listens for the context within which the client is working. The coach then empowers that client to see what is possible and impossible based on their context. From here, the client can practice taking the steps required to shift ways of being and acting to support the intended outcome.
For instance; a new client, Jenna, has come in for coaching. Jenna wants a healthy, long term relationship. She is 33 years old and has been focused primarily on her career for quite awhile, but she is now ready to start a family. She states that she has had many relationships with men and they have all been disastrous. She doesn’t trust that she can find a man that will be kind, generous, affectionate and trustworthy. Her experience tells her he doesn’t exist. As a coach, where would you start?
First, we have the intended result: a long term healthy relationship. It is measurable and tangible and we will know when we have met our objective. Second, we have some information about the context of relationship within which Jenna operates: she has told us what is true for her about men and relationships. Though she hasn’t spoken directly about them, we know that there is something that has relationships be disastrous for her. We want to know how she is being that creates disaster in her relationships. We want to distinguish this from her essential self and empower her to shift how she is being in order for her relationships to shift.
We find out through inquiry that Jenna is being distrustful of men and is often being withdrawn and withholding (Being is generally implied in normal conversations. In coaching conversations, I often speak more overtly about being in order to shift the emphasis toward being, knowing actions follow accordingly). She is being invulnerable and is being skeptical because she believes there isn’t anyone out there who can meet her needs. Jenna is also being resentful and disappointed that no on has come along yet, and those who have, have proved unsatisfying.
You might think we are making very strong assumptions regarding the client creating her own reality through the way she is being, and that there may be circumstances beyond her control that have relationships be disastrous for Jenna. You may be right. However, coaching focuses on those circumstances that can be shifted by the client’s own intention, commitment and actions. Over time, as you practice coaching skills, you will witness how clients really do create their own reality through their interpretations and the actions taken. You will also notice how you create your own reality as well.
Take a few moments to answer the following questions. What’s impossible for this client, given her present circumstances? What would need to shift in order for her to have the relationship she truly wants? Can you hear the context or environment within which she is operating? What is true for her? What are her beliefs, judgments, assumptions and expectations? What actions are being taken based on what is true? What’s the likelihood of her having the relationship she wants given the present context?
The Generative Nature of Coaching
Coaching is about making the impossible possible. Clients have specific wishes they want to fulfill and can not seem to find a way to do it on their own. Generally it is because they are seeing the world as they have always seen it and are using tools they have always used (They are working within their given context). Reaching outside their given reality (their context) to find what is missing, and has been unavailable up to this present moment, allows them to generate new interpretations and new ways of being that then allow the impossible to become possible. Coaches inquire about a client’s past to reveal how he has been being that has life show up the way it does in the present. The client gets to see how they have been generating the same results for years, maybe decades, just by maintaining a particular belief that they took on at a very early age. In order to generate new ideas, interpretations, ways of being and doing, a client will need to choose to see things differently and then act differently in order to generate the desired results. This is a fundamental characteristic of coaching. It requires the coach to continually think outside the client’s box, or context in order to distinguish what is occurring for the client. When a coach gets caught in the client’s context he is unable to see the forest through the trees. He will see only what the client sees. The coach’s job is to remain neutral and objective so as to always be in a position to empower clients to generate fulfilling lives.
The model of coaching that requires this deep level of listening is called ontological coaching. Ontology is the science of the languaging of being. It strongly suggests that through our speaking, each of us creates the unique reality we live in. This speaking is the internal, as well as the external dialogs that are constantly running, verbally and nonverbally; so much so that, normally, we don’t even hear what we are saying to others or within our minds. Ontological coaches listen for how clients language their being. (The language of coaching will seem a bit odd at first, because of the unique focus on languaging. After awhile, it will seem normal and appropriate.)
An easy conversation to distinguish, for example, is one being had by an individual who believes he is a victim of the world, of his family, educational and religious upbringing; in general, he is a victim of his circumstances. His language will be filled with expressions that continually tell him, and you, why he can’t do or be what he wants. As normal people we just hear that poor Joe has had a rough life and hasn’t had opportunities to get ahead. As coaches, with foundations in the ontological model, we listen for where Joe stops himself from having and being what he wants, through telling himself, and everyone who will listen, what is true (he had a hard life), how he is being (victimized and controlled by his circumstances), what actions he takes (feeling sorry for himself, complaining, looking for someone to help him) and what is impossible (I can’t get ahead). Notice that I include feeling, thinking and sensing as actions. These are important to include in the listening of coaching.
Ontological coaching can be integrated into any coaching you do. In my experience, it is the most powerful model of coaching available and it can be used with individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, businesses and corporations.
Coaching Takes Place in the Present
Though we are looking to a desired outcome or result in the future, the coaching conversation takes place in the present about what is occurring in the present that will have the future turn out the way it is desired. It isn’t helpful for a coach to have the client talk about the past unless it is relevant to how he is being in the present. And, it is only powerful to speak about the future when it can enhance the client’s capabilities for creating that future. As coaches we speak and have the client speak about what is occurring in the present.
The Transpersonal Nature of Coaching
Coaching is an incredibly powerful tool to support the grounding of transformation into reality.
Transformational Coaches are aligned with the knowing that we are all so much more than bodies, egos, suffering and struggling. They know that each of us has incredibly powerful, untapped resources. These coaches want to bring their clients to their highest potential, beyond fears and resistance. And, they know how to tap into that richness and do so through inquiry. When deep inquiry is integrated with authentic curiosity and heart felt compassion, transformation occurs.
Individuals doing transformational coaching have a knowing of the transpersonal. They have a sense of their connectedness to all beings. They see the infinite beauty and well-being in everything and everyone, or at least they are practicing to see infinite beauty and well-being in everything and everyone. When you can see the beauty and perfection in everyone, you can distinguish those aspects of being human that do not support spiritual evolution. You can see the defense mechanisms and strategies that protect the fragile ego and displace the spirit-self. With practice in distinguishing these strategies from the essential being of their own humanity, coaches empower others too to do the same.
Your ability to notice and distinguish your own practices of coming either from your essential Self or from your survival mechanisms, gives you enormous power to choose. You will naturally pass this on to your clients, family and friends, and everyone else with whom you come in contact. You will see how effortless it can be.
Coaching asks people to push themselves beyond their comfort zone into unknown territory. It asks them to take actions, relative to their ability, that may seem undoable and maybe terrifying. Moving outside one’s context and living from a place beyond what the logical mind and ego says is possible is taking leaps of faith. And, you do so only because you say so.
Individuals are viewed as whole and complete in the field of coaching. The process of coaching empowers clients to unconceal, reveal or discover interpretations that have been limiting a wider range of actions, which would allow for desired result to occur. It focuses on being, which often seems ineffable and unknowable.
The coaching process trusts the client to be able to distinguish her own truth from beliefs and interpretations that have been passed to her. It also trusts that she can make clear, effective choices that will enable her to reach her desired outcome. The client feels safe and supported while she practices experiencing living in her whole being and essence.
Clients create their own reality through their beliefs, interpretations and the actions taken. This idea goes beyond standard ways of thinking about reality, yet this is a principle of coaching that is extremely valuable. Without it, clients would not practice being accountable for their lives, for their well-being or their happiness. A client like "Poor Joe" would only see himself at the mercy of his circumstances and most likely would avoid and resist looking at himself as the creation of his own reality. "Poor Joe" would not be a good candidate for coaching.
There are models of coaching which are very pragmatic, based solely on actions and results, leaving the essential being behind. The results of this form of coaching generally are not transformative and the results will fade over time. Creating a container that acknowledges the transpersonal wisdom of each client provides a more expansive and yet safer environment for him to discover and reveal his true nature and his true ability to create the life that is desired.
As coaches, we don’t tell clients what to do. We stand beside them, and to the best of our ability, we see how the world looks to them, through their eyes. It takes curiosity and fascination, because coaches relinquish their own assessments and judgments about what is right and true for their clients. They only hold the question: "how is this working for you in regard to you having what you say you want?" We listen for and witness how our clients shape their lives. It may look different than how we would live our clients’ lives, but we haven’t walked in their shoes. All we can do is trust that they have done the best possible job to live their lives, given the tools handed to them by their culture and their environment. As coaches, we trust that the individual made his decision based on what made the most sense at the time. Now, through coaching, these clients have an opportunity to reveal some of those decisions that may have worked in the past but are no longer useful. They have the opportunity to choose a new decision. They are prepared to step into a relationship with themselves that will empower them to think and act differently, ways that will generate fulfillment, fun, and effortless living.
Inquiry is an art form, which when mastered yields exquisite results for you and your clients. Through questioning, clients uncover aspects of their selves in such a way that they feel empowered and trust that they can create the life they say they want to have. They experience their strengths. Their weaknesses are reframed in a way that generates positive perspectives.
The intention of this form of inquiry, is to truly serve the clients in revealing, recognizing and acknowledging their essences, the survival mechanisms and strategies and the strength and courage inherent in their being, which allowed them to come this far unaided. Through coaching, they are supported and empowered to choose alternatives so as to generate results that serve them to live life effortlessly and fully.
My life has changed dramatically because of my client’s wisdom and courage to move ahead into unknown possibility. I want to meet them at every turn with integrity, openness and allowing. What I request of them I request of my self. It keeps me honest, truthful, and trustworthy. Not all coaches work this way, but it’s the best way I know to grow myself, feel good about myself and enjoy the ride as I go; not to mention that my clients benefit from my willingness to continue to expand and stretch my edges.
The Problem Solving Paradigm
There are personal development models that focus most directly on the problem. They listen and look for symptoms and then find solutions to those symptoms, and the problem goes away. The model of coaching you are presently reviewing is different, in that it looks at the problem as something that actually serves the client. Our normal problem solving paradigm doesn’t allow this perspective to be revealed. Shifting perspective, shifting the paradigm, will dissolve the illusion that the presenting problem is actually the problem. This allows the underlying conversations and conflicts to surface. By conflicts, I mean those interpretations and beliefs that support the "problem" being experienced as a problem.
Here is an example: A client of mine, Marilyn, has been burdened with financial responsibilities of her marriage because her husband has been "dragging his feet in finding a job" for the past three years. She is disappointed and hurt that he doesn’t try harder and she is exhausted from the stress and worry about the fact that there is never enough money. Marilyn sees her husband as the problem, and if he would only get off his seat and actively pursue a job, everything would be okay (the problem would go away). Well, to some degree this is true. But, from a coaching perspective we look for how the problem actually serves the client. Marilyn gets something from the present dynamics of the "problem". There is value for her in experiencing herself as the victim of her circumstances. There is further value in her being the enabler and the chief financial caretaker. She will tell you that it’s too hard to push for change in her husband while she is working to put food on the table. Somewhere there is a pay off for Marilyn to maintain this relationship with her husband as it is. And, though "this particular problem" has been around for three years, this particular dynamic has been evident in their marriage for thirty-five years.
As Marilyn’s coach, we can’t fix the problem because the problem, in the old paradigm, is her husband. We can identify how the "problem" serves Marilyn and whether the payoff is worth the burdens and exhaustion that manifest. Marilyn is still pretty attached to staying put in the problem solving paradigm. She isn’t willing to risk the marriage, the security and stability. This is her choice to make. As her coach, my job then becomes having her shift her self in a way that empowers her to handle the stress and burdens in a more effective way. As Marilyn becomes more committed to her own development she may be willing to shift her perspective and allow herself to see how she is sustaining the "problem" through the way that she is being.
Each of us carries stories around with us and desires to share them with who ever is interested in listening. Many of these stories define who we have been in the past. And, through their telling, they continue to define who we are in the present and who we will probably become in the future. These stories actually don’t serve us if we want to generate a new way of being and a new way of acting. These stories only remind of us of who we were and of the circumstances that occurred in the past. In order to generate new possibilities it is necessary to eliminate from our repertoire those stories that reinforce what was impossible for us at a previous time. Again, the focus of coaching is the outcome desired at this present moment. What needs to shift in order for actions to be taken so the results will be realized? Stories of the past failures and "awful" circumstances generally reinforce our interpretations of what is wrong with me, you or it.
Through coaching, individuals are distinguished from who they think they are in order to free themselves from limiting interpretations. A valuable tool for this purpose is to distinguish the story people tell about themselves from who they are presently. They are not their stories. If they are going to move into possibility they need to practice creating new dialogues and conversations with themselves and others that reflect intention, commitment and accountability for what they want to have occur in their lives.
Coaches often have to train their clients in a new way of thinking, speaking and listening, especially if those clients have been involved in therapy. Psychotherapy often encourages narrative and story telling as a way for clients to grasp their self-identity. This is very important and useful for individuals who have had challenging lives that may have decimated their sense of self and their egos. Coaching, on the other hand, works with individuals who want to get beyond the ego that has been, in order to create one that actually serves them in a fulfilling way. Dropping the stories that support the old patterning is a great practice for clients. It is sometimes challenging because of the loss of identity that may occur with relinquishing the story. Often, leaps of faith need to occur for the client through these transitions. But that is what coaching is all about: relinquishing the stories and conversations that no longer serve the unfolding life of the possibility that is wanting to occur. Coaching supports clients in redefining themselves in such a way that they actually are generating themselves and their lives in a wonderfully creative way. There is value in telling stories and there is value in relinquishing the stories. It all depends on the intended outcome.
Most of us have a pretty strong interpretation of power and being powerful. This interpretation often gets in the way of actually generating that which we say we want. In this section we will be using the following definition of power.
Power is the ability to manifest that which can be imagined
Transformational Coaching acknowledges the fact that individuals are always manifesting a life they imagine and therefore, are always powerful. They manifest through worry and focusing on that which could go wrong, as well as what is in the way of them having what they say they want. Have you known people who fall victim to one circumstance after another? They are generating a sense of power from being a victim, which serves them one way or another. I know a woman who constantly has awful experiences at restaurants. The hostess was grumpy, the server didn’t bring any water and the mashed potatoes were cold; one thing after another. This woman appears to be a victim of poor restaurants. But, her experience of being a victim to circumstances at restaurants happens quite frequently. As a couch, I would say that she is getting something from being a victim to her circumstances. She is getting some form, or some level of power from her stance. "What will go wrong this time" is probably a question that is part of an unconscious conversation that is playing in her head before and during her restaurant experience. This woman is powerful in that she is creating or manifesting that which she imagines. Again, coaches always acknowledge the client’s power whether it shows up as empowering or as disempowering; whether it supports the stated commitment or an underlying conflicting commitment.
Clients also generate or manifest the life they imagine through their beliefs and through their stories. By choosing to see things another way and then taking actions based on this new interpretation the client has the power to have things turn out differently. In other words, clients are always being powerful. Even when they choose to interpret themselves as victims, it’s still a powerful choice. As coaches, we want to distinguish the way a client is currently being powerful in her life. Does it serve her? If not, is she willing to see things in another way that would allow her to use her power in a more effective and exciting way? Everything we do is an act of power.
Clients experience extraordinary insights within a transformational coaching session. It’s crucial for them to ground these insights into practices that move them toward their desired outcomes. They are called practice areas instead of homework or assignments because both of these terms may carry baggage from the past that will create resistance. Through coaching, clients are learning to practice new ways of being, new ways of looking at their lives, new ways of doing things. It takes practice to develop new skills and that’s exactly what a client is doing outside the coaching session. They practice stretching and strengthening conscious awareness of how they are being in the world they create.
Transformational Coaching is not for everyone. It is for those individuals who are willing to recognize and acknowledge those ways of being in themselves that are no longer working, generating new interpretations and ways of being and doing that support the life they want to have. They are individuals who actually take on the practice of being different in order for their experiences to occur differently. They are strong enough to surrender deeply-held beliefs in order to live more in alignment with their highest truth.
As a coach, you will come in contact with individuals who are capable of this level of being present to themselves and their issues. You will come in contact with those who are not capable, or, are not capable under your coaching. Your level of experience will dictate the level to which you will be able to coach. You will know when your client is not moving forward and needs either therapeutic intervention or more expert coaching. You may want to have names and numbers of various psychotherapists and their specialties for referral purposes. Give your client two or three names of therapists and maybe some information about how they work. Your client can then choose who will be a good match.
You will also come across clients who are already working with a psychotherapist. They already know when an issue is psychotherapeutic and when it is a coaching issue. As you develop your practice it will be very clear when it is time to refer an issue to a therapist or to a more expert coach. This is an essential distinction for you in your practice of coaching.
It is strongly suggested that you provide yourself with ongoing coaching from an expert coach to continually grow yourself as a coach and grow yourself personally.
What Does it Take to be a Transformational Coach?
Coaching for me is fierce compassion in practice.
Fierceness is not aggressive or violent. It’s not an "in-your-face" way to confront people and get them to change. Fierceness is not telling people what to do and how to do it. The degree to which you are committed to the well-being of the people you serve will be the degree to which you are willing to be fiercely present, fiercely available and fiercely intentional in your word, deed and actions.
Compassion is not sympathy or empathy, but its close. You are exercising compassion when you remain in your own shoes while witnessing another’s human challenges. You know through your own experience that taking on the task of being human is a huge endeavor. Without judgment and without pity, you allow your heart to open and remain open in the presence of the other. Reverence, respect and awe flow through you toward the individual with whom you are sitting; this person who is experiencing some form of human drama. You allow him or her dignity to walk their own unique path of struggles, challenges and joys, while in your heart you hold a space of love and a bittersweet pride, for you know that we all walk this path together. You feel for them and at the same time you remain detached.
Detachment while witnessing and acknowledging the beauty and richness of all human dilemmas is key to practicing compassion. When you attach yourself to another’s circumstances or emotional experiencing, you begin to swim in their soup. This is valuable if you are practicing empathy. But in this practice of coaching you need to remain detached and neutral in order to speak and listen with discriminating aptitude and capability. Much like an athletic coach, who stays on the side lines, our job is to stay out of the client’s soup.
It’s a tricky place to play in, this fierce compassion. It’s a balance of being strong and being soft. As a friend of mine described it, it’s being an iron fist in a silk glove. Think of people who work in emergency situations. They remain clearly detached and focused on their intention of bringing support to people in need. And, at the same time they are so aware of the delicate balance between life and death and the fragileness of our humanity. They are so careful with a person who is physically broken, not wanting to contribute to the pain and suffering already being endured.
As coaches, as people, we are endeavoring to provide that same level of strength with the same level of gentleness. Because we all know that the broken human psyche, the deep wounds of being on this earth are just below the surface of what is showing up on the face of the person in front of us. Each of us wants to be seen. We want to be recognized as fellow travelers on this planet. We all have been through childhood and adolescence. Most of us have some experience with betrayal and abandonment on some level. We all have trust issues and intimacy issues. And, we need to move forward and heal ourselves or learn to live well with our handicaps. So, how we show up as teachers, healers, parents, managers, friends or lovers can create enormous healing through truly witnessing the other and witnessing yourself through another.
What Does it Take to be a Good Coach?
Here is a list of qualities that will support you in being a good coach:
• The ability to let go of your needs for being liked, good and lovable.
• Strong convictions that your client can realize their highest potential.
• The ability and willingness to hold that conviction in the face of your client’s resistance.
• Being an avatar, a cheerleader, a protagonist.
• You inspire your clients through your being. Like a coach on the sidelines, you empower your clients to go into the game exploring their life and how they show up in it.
• Willingness to explore with your clients, without an attachment to the outcome or to how you think it ought to be.
• Willing to be an instrument through which your client learns to play themselves and their own form of music.
• Being unattached to your own brilliance and looking for opportunities to look brilliant. We are in the business of empowering our clients to experience and ground themselves in their brilliance. You will be using yours to serve that end.
• Being accountable for what is occurring in the session.
• Willingness to grow yourself, remaining on your edge, so as to always be a model of what’s possible.
• Willingness to suspend judgments about what is right, wrong, good and bad.
There is little room for a coach’s ego in a session. The practice of surrendering your personal needs of ego satisfaction will always be with you. You are the mirror that reflects your client’s clarity. The clearer you are as a mirror the more effortless the client can find themselves and the more effortlessly they will generate a life worth living.