Directors and Co-founders of Empower World
Jeanine: Good afternoon Marie. Great to be with you today, it’s my evening in Australia and welcome to all of our listeners.
Marie: Yeah good to be together again Jeanine. You are in Australia and I'm in Doha. We both had a frantic day running around being very resourceful, creative and getting lots of things done from my side and I'm guessing with you moving house, same sorts of things going on for you.
Jeanine: Absolutely. So, there's so much going on, after being in Qatar for gosh how many years? I've lost track now. 13 years maybe. So, moving into our new home that I've built with my husband. So very exciting.
Jeanine: Thank you and also looking to fit in work as well amongst it all. So thank you Marie. Today we thought that we would bring up something that we know has been a little bit of a challenge for some of our coaches that we're mentoring at the moment and potentially working with in supervision as well. And that’s bottom lining. The skill of bottom lining is such a key skill. But we notice that there have been some challenges. What have you been noticing Marie?
Marie: Yeah well when I'm listening into some recordings and I'm noticing that clients are talking about lots of details. He said… she said... When we did this on the twenty sixth of December nineteen ninety nine - blah blah blah - that type of thing. And as coaches - for some clients it's important for them to have some space to share some of the details so that they can process - but if we are just working with our clients on those kind of details, so superficial details that they have lived with and they already know all of their life - then potentially we're not going to support them to move forward or create new awareness about what's happening in their unconscious mind or their limiting beliefs or their belief system regarding the topic they want to talk about.
Jeanine: Yes absolutely. And what I've been hearing as well is that fear of being rude. Fear of interrupting the client when they're in their flow. A belief that perhaps letting the client speak about all these things is supporting them. And yes, we also recognise that as well. When a client has perhaps spoken about their challenge for the very first time; it potentially can be very healing to get what's going on in the head and outside of the head. And we're also hearing a lot of coaches staying in their client's story and not having the courage to bottom line or pause with that belief, that they're being rude towards their client.
Marie: Yeah, I think that's a really important point Jeanine as you're talking about that. So it's often that the coach is coming with an energy that maybe is a fearful energy or whatever they are feeling - that they may be - they are not experienced enough or capable enough to jump in and support the client to stop.
Marie: Does that make sense?
Jeanine: Yes absolutely it does make sense and it's been fantastic working with these coaches who have brought that to either supervision or mentoring to be able to create a different belief system about that pausing or bottom lining or stopping the coachee from getting into their story.
It's been a magnificent journey to support them to recognize actually when I take my client out of this story, out of the details, out of their head, that actually I'm serving them to create new awareness, because of course, when the clients are in their story, they're potentially not creating any new awareness. Particularly if they're talking very easily and fast about their journey or their challenge or their opportunity. So it's been magnificent to witness these coaches getting that ah ha. That actually if I let my client talk, I'm not serving them to get out of their old belief systems, their old habits of talking about this old story and creating a new one.
Marie: Yes. And of course our clients are going to be doing more of the talking. But as you say if we let our clients talk, what you mean is talk about the details. So we want our clients to reflect, to go inside, to understand themselves better and in that process there will be a talk about their senses, their experience internally. There will be talk, but there will be a lot more space happening, a lot more slowing down of the conversation, a lot more silences in the coaching than there would be if they were talking about the details.
Jeanine: Yes, absolutely. It is that slowing down, it is creating that spaciousness that allows the client – as well those are the signs that let us know as coaches that the client is actually creating new awareness, that they're hitting the boundaries of their old ways of thinking. And that gives us the clues - when they pause, when they say I don't know or there's a hmmmmmm or there's perhaps a change in physiology - that we appreciate that the client is creating new awareness or starting to create new awareness as they hit those boundaries. So that bottom lining, that pausing can take clients out of their old story in terms of the coach asking a question that lets them go deeper. So perhaps it's reflecting upon a keyword word or a change in physiology that then creates the client to stop and pause for a moment and go on a new experience.
Marie: Yes. And so if a coach is sensing that I might feel like I'm being rude here or interrupting then we both would suggest you go back to looking at your ways of working or creating a contract an agreement with your client to share that you'll be doing this to support them because once they know the process that you will be jumping in or asking them to slow down or stop the conversation. Then they understand the process; so, they're more likely to go along with it than if you haven't explained the process before you do it. So there is a little bit of teaching about this right at the beginning of the relationship or if you're already in a relationship and you're noticing that the client is just talking about the details - then its re-contracting and re-creating ways of working that make it empowering for the client.
Jeanine: Yes absolutely. Those ways of working are so important and critical to support the success, the foundation of a coaching programme or coaching conversation. And as you say Marie, doing that little bit of teaching, sharing something like, as your coach at times ‘I might bottom line you or pause you when I hear something that potentially is a place where we can go deeper beyond the story because the details aren't so important: it's actually what's underneath the story.’ Exploring that is what's going to create the transformation, that is what is going to support creating that new awareness so that you as a client can make a different choice: a powerful choice about their future experiences. What they commit to, what they will do differently, what they are learning etc. etc.
Marie: Yes and if a coach can address this, teach this at the beginning of a coaching partnership even in a sample session, or even when you're doing the discovery session, if you can address it there and then, and then put it into practice pretty quickly, then the client will feel comfortable when you - what we call – are taking charge in the conversation. So they'll notice your skills as a coach coming through that you're not just a passive person sitting listening to them, but you are actually taking charge and have the skills to support them to go deeper.
Jeanine: Yes. And taking charge is one of the key competencies of a coach. Taking charge of the conversation is again a really powerful and critical thing that we can do as coaches.
Marie: And that's different to leading. It is not leading. Taking charge is a skill that a coach uses to support the client to go deeper within, rather than talking about the details.
Jeanine: Yes. And it's taking charge in terms of hearing what is presented by the coachee, the client. It’s hearing, feeling, experiencing what is being presented by the coachee and exploring again what's underneath what was said, or what was noticed, or potentially what was felt.
Marie: Yes absolutely. So I think on that note it might be a good time to bottom line us both.
Jeanine: Yes, love it.
Marie: And we'll keep it short and sweet. Bottom line ourselves and we wish everyone a great day and practice the skill of bottom lining. Teach the skills in your exploration sessions and experiment with it and see what happens.
Jeanine: And remember when you do bottom line or pause your client you're absolutely serving them to create that transformational shift that they're looking for. So enjoy the process of potentially moving outside of the comfort zone and bottom lining.