I have found that all transformative learning for me has come about from AHA moments. Whether it was an observation during an MBTI certification that cleared up if I was a J or a P or something in an ongoing Coach training workshop, these moments have created a new awareness in me.
As a coach, it is so rewarding when the client experiences an AHA moment. You silently rejoice at their look of wonder as they sit and process this new realisation. Their exclamation of awareness makes you turn triumphant cartwheels in your head. It makes for a turning point in their coaching journey. As a coach, you live for these pivotal moments.
A coach cannot create these AHA moments but I believe that it is our responsibility to set the conditions for the client to experience it.
What I am sharing is an AHA moment that I experienced in this context.
In an early morning conversation before a recent workshop session started, the co-facilitator kept probing about something that I said. A series of questions about what experience I was referring to or taking with me to the coaching conversation. No answer I gave seemed to satisfy him. He kept repeating his question. It reminded me of the non-stop questions my kid used to ask as a two year old. “Why, Why, Why, Why?”.
Later in the day, I got it. Coaching Presence. An ICF Core Competency. A very powerful concept. It is when you are in the here and now with the client. Without the baggage of your experience or mental calculations or personality.
Personality, or the lack of it, is key. In spirituality, a snake is revered because of its ability to shed its skin. All spiritual processes are about dissolving the personality that we wear as a second skin. To be fluid as the situation demands. For me, it was an epiphany to realise that coaching demands the same fluidity. That it is a spiritual process in itself. The awareness stunned me.
It is the Ego that demands acknowledgement of one’s own experience and expertise, has the need to advise and show mastery. True Mastery would be to shed the ego and sit with the client. Without any preconceived notions. All that exists is this client, and this moment.
As I mulled over it, I thought that to be present with the client without baggage would bring about a lightness. In my Peer Coaching, I experienced that beautiful lightness. I no longer felt anxious about a coaching conversation because I didn’t have to fix anything. I just had to be. I revived my daily meditations. It has been so supportive in ensuring that I move from DOING coaching to BEING present. From Doing to Being.
In this state of Being, no one would need to exhort us to engage in rapport building or listen actively. When we are with the client completely, they just know. And it makes all the difference to the coaching conversation.