How many small meaningful moments occur with your clients when your breath catches, tears well up, laughter escapes spontaneously and reverence for inner beauty is discovered and reclaimed? Notice how aware you are of these moments and the degree to which you purposefully choose your coaching response. These are moments of reciprocal inspiration. When you notice what is happening internally in the moments just before will be highly informative about your way of perceiving. What is the pattern that occurs across clients just before a client moves beyond known and familiar insight into the surprise associated with the somatic response of the breath, tears or laughter? Answering this question provides practical data for practicing methods that expand the variety of your dimensions of perceiving.
Reciprocal inspiration was born as a description of what emerges in the field of exchange in any given session and over time. The great irony for me with everything that came before coaching is that for reciprocity to be present, I must surrender any choices in a session with a client that isn’t fully chosen on behalf of the client rather than myself. Witnessing breakthrough thinking and innate creativity organically and naturally express from clients, I realized a new state of being occurs through my work and that is Generative Wholeness™.
Those familiar with the dance of Tango will appreciate this as a metaphor. We definitely require two, fully engaged and contributing partners to dance the coaching tango. In fact the meaningful moments evoke an exchange of energy that can neither be predicted nor controlled. When we witness dancers who take our breath away, it is the electric, blissful experience in the exchange between the dancers that touches us. The same is true in a coaching exchange.
Reciprocal inspiration is created in a union between coach and client when neither is controlling, directing or analyzing choices. Both coach and client surrender to experiencing a holistic, multi-dimensional impact. For example, if a client speaks to an emotion we invite exploration for where that emotion is sensed in the body and perhaps what images or memories are stimulated. Building further, we invite the client to consider what capacity he or she currently possesses that was developed over time since that memory. Everything emerges as relevant, useful and vital for liberating potential and our job as coaches is to trust our client’s choice, focusing attention on the breadth and depth of clarity and alignment a client will allow.
Psychologist, Dr. Carl Jung helped us all understand that we are socialized in order to be effective, productive adults in our families and communities and then, to be ready to individuate by returning home to ourselves internally, claiming and living through our authentic self. While not everyone has this experience, the opportunity is present. The coach-client relationship process is the very best resource I have experienced for this journey toward individuation to be broadly available. The journey is one that liberates potential and affords the possibility for each person to contribute from full potency!
Ultimately I recognize a change in my experience of the coach-client relationship, as I perceive reciprocal inspiration occurring. I engage through a deeper trust in client wholeness, capacity and resourcefulness. Clients don’t need my expertise, my competence, my smarts or my adaptability. Clients crave my sovereignty. Clients expect for me, without necessarily knowing why, to create an environment that invites all of who they are to engage, explore and ultimately claim sovereignty in their own life. I invite you to reflect on the words, whole, capable and resourceful, noticing the assumptions, biases and beliefs that influence how you choose to coach. Notice the reciprocity that occurs as you expand your self-trust and client trust.
Until the next installment, happy coaching!
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About the Author:
Janet M. Harvey, ICF Master Certified Coach, Certified Mentor Coach, Accredited Coaching Supervisor, ICF Global Past President and ICF Foundation Board President, has 30 years of experience as both a corporate and entrepreneurial business executive. An early adopter for creating a coach-centered workplace, Janet has worked with global organizations and teams of leaders within to establish a generative, resilient and high performance culture through a coaching approach to leading and managing success. Janet Harvey brings her executive and entrepreneurial experience as CEO for inviteCHANGE, leaders in sustainable excellence through a signature transformative coaching and learning process for people, processes and systems. Clients and audiences around the globe speak of Janet as bold, curious, provocative, challenging, yet respectful and compassionate in her leadership roles.
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