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Presence and Trust: Key Foundations to Coaching Success

Apr 19, 2018

As a coach, do you worry about staying focused and present with your client?
Are you in your head, under pressure to come up with the next perfect question?
Do you feel drained at the end of your session?

One of the most important things we can do as coaches, and as human beings, is to be present with ourself and with others. Being fully present in the moment allows us to connect with others and pay attention to our own and other people’s unique perspective of the world.

As a coach, being present enables us to ask powerful questions and use language which lets our client know we are truly listening to them. Our duty is to create a relationship built on trust, so our client can go on a journey to search inside themselves to create new awareness and make empowering choices going forward.

Sam Patterson, Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, explains there are three key facets to trust from a coaching perspective. They are:

  1. Trust in your own skill as a coach. As a coach, you should trust yourself to follow your intuition as to what to ask and explore: ‘dance in the moment’ rather than being focused on following a script or a process.
  2. Trust in the coaching partnership. This is about trusting the process will unfold the way it should, and the partnership between you and your client will get to where it needs to be. When you work with your client as true partners, you can get really curious with your client and support them to begin to see new opportunities.
  3. Trust in the client. This is perhaps the most important facet. When you trust your client is creative, resourceful and whole and that they have everything they need within them, you - as a coach - can let go of the urge to ‘fix’ your clients by offering them a solution. Instead you can support them to find their own way forward.

Developing Presence as Coaches

There are a number of things you can do as a coach to develop and strengthen your presence. 

  • Let go of the feeling as a coach you must add value, or say something insightful. This could potentially shift your attention away from the client and to yourself and/or your performance. It could also mean you don’t completely trust the client to be creative, resourceful and whole. By focusing on what you notice in the moment: the insights and inspiration will come from the clients themselves when they are supported by your presence.
  • Find your own way to become more present and grounded with your clients. Some coaches do this before they meet their clients; some do it as soon as the client walks in. By being curious about how the person shows up and who they are when they show up we can support you to develop a real desire to learn more about the person you are coaching.
  • Use a hobby or an activity to help you with developing concentration, focus and presence. Sam Patterson, for example, credits his love of surfing with his ability to be present. When he is out on the ocean he is focused on the ocean, the rhythm of the waves, the tides and more to the point where he finds that he is not thinking of anything else. This creates a stillness and clarity of thought he finds useful in his coaching practice.
  • Recognise as coaches, you do not have to perfect. They may be times when your attention drifts. At this point it is perfectly OK to do what you need to bring the conversation back to the moment, including saying to your client; “I’ve drifted for a moment, can we come back to where we are?
  • Record your coaching sessions. Thinking about recording a coaching session might cause performance anxiety at the beginning, and as you learn to release this anxiety, you begin to move more easily and effortlessly through the coaching session. In addition, listening to the recording later supports you to evaluate your skills and notice when you may have not been completely present. With this new awareness you can take action to practice new ways of being present for subsequent sessions.
  • Learn the coaching structure. The more you know and understand the structure and key elements of a coaching conversation, the more confident you can be about allowing yourself to play around the edges of it, and to dancing in the moment with your client.

In conclusion, it’s OK to not know to how to coach instinctively at the outset. When you trust yourself, your clients, the coaching partnership and put in the practice, you can sharpen your ability to develop your presence as a coach.

Listen to more insights from Sam and Jeanine on the Empower World Coaching and Leadership Podcast, Episode 102 here.

Episode-102 can also be found here: 
Direct Link
: http://bit.ly/2uGjMJp
Stitcher: http://bit.ly/podcast-episode-102
‎iTunes: http://bit.ly/EW-Podcast-iTune

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