Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Presence in Coaching

Here is an article from our friend, Paulo Neto, Executive, Team and Agile Coach at Building-Bridges, on why presence is an important piece of coaching.

Presence in Coaching


What is so important about being present in coaching?   When there is quality of presence in the coach, space is opened for clients to connect. 

Even without saying anything, clients ‘know’ they can be present and in this process, there is certainly a relationship between the fullness of the coach’s presence and the clients’. The level of presence of the coach directly impacts the presence of the client. By creating a relationship of presence, that space, that conversation, can bring what the client wants and/or needs. These moments can become inspiring, clients are connected with their wisdom. Full peer presence allows connection, empathy, reducing or even removing resistances. The conversation can then happen in a fluid way, accessing the best in each of them.

Being 100% present when there is understanding without interpretation is only possible when the connection is not at the level of the mind, rather it is at the level of the spirit and the doorway is our body.

The presences

There is more than one presence in the coaching relationship.  The presence of the coach along with the presence of the client open the space for the connection to empathy. The relationship at this level is as powerful as it is tenuous and fragile. When the coach takes other presences with him, such as an agenda or ideas and concepts, or is simply agitated and restless, it is likely that these ‘presences’ will be perceived by his client.  This results in the coach losing the opportunity to be in synch.

A good coaching conversation works best if the presences of both the coach and the client are clear and well-defined. The connection between them, between coach and client, is what can make coaching meaningful. 

When there is no Presence

By not being present, by not creating the connection between the two presences, the coach will occupy the space between the two with the ‘other presences’ and the client will do the same. The conversation will only go halfway and the connection may not happen. There is a risk that the conversation will occur at a technical level, where coaching of situations and not of the person will take place. This conversation will potentially be less inspiring because the contact between one’s wisdom and intuition will be poorer and less fluid; the coach will probably speak much more than he needs to.

The Space 

It is in the inner space of a house that life happens. However, it is not the space that is built, it is the walls that allow the space to exist, that let life happen in it. In coaching it is also necessary to create the space for the coaching conversation to happen, for the ‘dance’ to happen. It is the two presences that create space. 

When coach and client are present, the connection that is created is direct, the space between the two is free for the dance to happen. It is in this dance that client and coach are free and express themselves allowing their best to happen.

The ‘dance’ happens when each part exists leaving the space free.

When there is no space

When the conversation takes place without walls and is full of “presences”, there is no room for dance or it will be a dance full of limitations and obstacles. The space needs to be unoccupied for the client to feel free and secure. It is this freedom and safety that will allow the client to access you, your wisdom. There will be many ideas and less ‘coach’.

Powerful questions

How do you know what question to ask at each moment, how do you know which is the appropriate question? How do you ask powerful questions? These questions come to mind, and by thinking about them it is highly likely that no answers will be found. But if instead no questions are asked and the coach is simply present, connected with their self, intuition will guide, and the questions will appear. 

There are no powerful questions, there are only questions that touch on something significant to the client. This happens when the moment is created, when both presences exist, when both are in the same dance. The exact same question can be immensely powerful or just get in the way depending on the context and the moment it is asked. For the ‘powerful question’ to happen, the presence of the coach and the client, the two presences, need to be in synch. 

By the coach being truly present, connected with their self and their wisdom, it is not necessary to be attentive to be particularly good and ask intelligent questions. They appear because intuition guides them.

To be present

It all starts with preparation, what the coach takes to the conversation. If emotions and thoughts are in control in the moment before the conversation, it begins with a cluttered head and this state of mind does not allow the best conditions to be present, to be connected with self. The coach needs to BE, to have a free mind so that there is space, so that they are able to receive, to accommodate the client and establish the relationship. The coach maintains this free mind and spirit to be ready for the partnership and for the dance.

Presence means creating a space where the client feels free and confident to establish an intimate relationship with himself by accessing his wisdom in a natural and inspiring way.

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How does it apply to you in your life?
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