Research Paper By Sarah Levi
(Personal Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Awareness, Abundance, Support, and Truth — four concepts that are the basis for any relationship with our world and our self. In coaching, we use these concepts to enrich the lives of clients. They are the tools our clients will use to visualize their place in the world; and learn how to use them to improve their quality of life.
The sooner the coach introduces the client to these tools the sooner the client can apply and integrate them into their daily life. Explaining each tool; expoloring how the client can make use of them and how the client will benefit from developing these skills sets a powerful foundation for the coaching process.
But ultimately, how can our clients achieve an understanding of what they need, if they don’t have access to these empowering tools?
This paper explores and clarifies the focus on self-awareness while stressing the importance of using this skill-set to move toward abundance after establishing support systems that are based on truth and trust.
A strong self-directed coaching process will expedite individual goal attainment. This self-direction process begins with a client’s initial internal inquiry; prior to seeking the services of a professional coach and further exploring the journey to self-awareness and a better life.
Having a genuine interest in getting the most from their investment and their time with a coach, the clients can develop their personal skills centered on self-awareness, and apply that awareness toward enhanced abundance and established support systems. Self-awareness is the interpretation of one’s individual experience. There is a considerable return for time spent exploring this skill, or as John Whitmore states:
… performance, learning, change and satisfaction are improved by increasing the individual’s awareness. (Whitmore, p. 99)
Cultivating self-awareness in the initial coaching sessions will allow the client to be more effective at self-discovery by exploring their relationship to their goals; recognizing and circumventing potential obstacles; and implementing systems that will support them in achieving their goals. In other words, the client will begin to identify what they truly want and move toward devising ways to get there faster.
Of course the coach and the client must understand the significance of Awareness on every level to get the most out of a session — and, more importantly, the client’s life. Awareness is a multi-sensory perception; based in mindfulness, while incorporating the perception of all the senses enabling simultaneous interpretation of what is being received externally and what is occurring internally. Bringing mindfulness to one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors facilitates the cultivation of self-awareness. According to E. M. Topp,
It [awareness] is a momentary witnessing or stepping back from the world in reflection. (Topp, p. 72)
One of the primary goals of life coaching is to improve the client’s satisfaction within a specific personal or professional area of their life. Because,
People are more likely to align their behavior with their standards when made self-aware.(Wikipedia)
the coaching process is most effective when a client increases their self-awareness. Doing so will allow them to envision success in their life and effectively work toward that goal.
Some questions useful in focusing awareness:
- What is it that you truly desire – What do you want?
- What are your attitudes toward getting what you want?
- How do you make decisions? What is important to you?
- What gives you a sense of satisfaction?
- How do you measure productivity in your life?
- What kind of support systems do you have?
- What gets in your way?
- What has worked for you in the past?
- How can you be more effective?
Naturally more questions will arise during coaching sessions, but the main idea is to enable the client to become fully aware of their life, their celebrations, and what they need to concentrate on to obtain abundance … whether it be in a career, personal relationships, or any facet of life that they are not completely satisfied with. By answering these questions, the client can assess how they feel about themselves and their world. As Gettman states,
[…] assessments can lead to an increase in self-awareness. (Gettman, p. 32)
Some common structures that are used to support the development of mindfulness in awareness are meditation, walking, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, journaling, record keeping, and making notes. Another way is close observance of the use of language.
Dave Ellis (2007) discusses the importance of distinguishing between disempowering and empowering language. He refers to language of obligation as using words such as: should, need, have to, must, and can’t. These words imply that the individual has little choice in their decision making. Ellis encourages being aware of using terms of obligation and consciously making a shift toward terms of possibility and of preference such as: might, try, prefer, could, want, can, promise, and intend. By doing so, the individual encourages self-responsibility. In creating self-responsibility the client is becoming self-aware of their true desires and needs, and creative ways in which to obtain success them.
Prior to establishing approaches for improving one’s quality of life, the client must define their specific relationship to satisfaction. What is it that improves their overall sense of wellbeing? The word “overall” implies that their satisfaction includes various aspects of life. Through the identification of values and priorities, the client can then determine what aspects of life to focus on in order to move toward a place of greater satisfaction and abundance.
In essence, one of the primary purposes of life coaching is to improve the client’s overall sense of satisfaction, by developing one’s ability to perceive their life from a place of abundance versus a place of deprivation. By achieving direction, the client immediately propels toward reaching their goal. By guiding the client to their inner abundance, which according to Shane Lopez,
implies a sense of deeply calm, centered, loving, alert and prepared for life’s daily challenges after caring for yourself in a gentle, loving, compassionate and comprehensive way. (Lopez 2009)
we are encouraging the client to find an early sense of celebration. Celebration is a reminder for the client; it is a place where the client can recall and acknowledge their awareness of an accomplishment.
Of course, creating an environment where the client feels like they can trust themselves and their coach comes in time, but it is vital to establish an early support system where the client feels like they express themselves and their needs.
Support is an essential component in goal attainment. According to H. J. Gettman,
a person does better with support in managing and successfully handling the various challenges of development. (Gettman, p. 32)
Support can refer to receiving encouragement, releasing frustrations, exploring emotions, getting feedback, accountability, strategic, short term and long term planning.
Gettman identifies emotional support and tactical support as important to the progression of change. (Gettman, 2009) Both forms of support are valuable to progressing through the stages of change, and therefore are focal points for the client when considering what is the most effective way for them to achieve their goals and live their lives.
Emotional support is interpersonal and can be satisfied by enlisting the services of a coach, or other professional peers, and family members. It is recommended that the client explore their options when looking for the emotional support that they need. Of course, by developing their self-awareness the individual can identify who best supports them and decide if there are people in their lives that have the tendency to impede their growth.
Tactical support refers to the practical approach to goal attainment through devising and implementing systems and structures. These include goal setting, short and long term planning, projecting and defining rewards. Tools such as journaling, vision board, the use of sticky notes, and personal assessment can be employed as tactical support.
For this reason it is vital for the client to be aware and mindful when examining their existing support structures, in order to determine if the current emotional and tactical support systems match their needs in achieving their goals. Also it is helpful for a client to consider what other options they have around getting the most effective support available to them.
There are a plethora of tools available through life coaching. By developing an awareness around what supports them best and being sensitive to what is an appropriate form of expression, the client can facilitate their own change. This self-facilitation is self-generating, and fulfilling. For example, a highly visual and graphic person may respond well to creating a vision board. A well read and literal person may benefit from keeping a journal. Which raises an important question: Where does the client focus their time, energy and attention?
With a coach, the client has the undivided and full attention of another person. A valuable awareness comes from observing how much conversation, within the coaching sessions and in everyday life, the individual spends talking about the past, the present and the future. Furthermore, assessing how much time and the percentage of content that the client spends on talking about their goals, and backing that up by taking action to bring their goals into their daily life.
Through the development of awareness the individual can observe what facilitates their growth and level of satisfaction and what inhibits it and then apply self-directed measures (through the design and implementation of structures and systems,) to support them in goal achievement. Therefore the positive results from the coaching is further enhanced and expedited at a faster rate; the sessions will reveal truth and purpose to what the client is inherently seeking.
It is written in Co-Active Coaching: New Sills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life,
A safe and courageous space for change must be, by definition, a place where the truth can be told. It is a place where clients can tell the whole truth about what they have done, and not done, without worrying about what the coach will say. (Whitworth et al., p.19)
This passage urges the coach to take responsibility in setting safe parameters for the coaching process to unfold. In coaching, the client generates their own solutions and is responsible for their choices and actions. Embracing this can empower the client to make constructive change toward living a fulfilled life.
When clients go one step further and devote themselves to their truth, they honor their higher purpose in life rather than the fleeting moment. By telling the truth the client further honors what is working and what is not working in their life. Only from this honest place can they embark on a path toward powerful and true change.
It is important first to take responsibility for knowing our truths, knowing the truth about ourselves. Taking this first step empowers us and frees up energy. This is self-awareness. Being completely aware of the truths around us allows us to grow and develop. Having support people around us can assist us in knowing the truth about ourselves. However if we bring in a coach or a friend to support us in knowing the truth about our self then we need to be prepared to manage this.
Understanding the truth about who you are is empowering. The truth about who you are can be fearful but this initial fear is minimal in comparison to the fear that disempowerment brings. Disempowerment brings anger and blame. Knowing the truth about who you are should be a wonderful experience because knowing the truth is the beginning point of your development plan. Knowing your truths is knowing your strengths. Building on your strengths is development and growth. This is powerful. (icoachacademy)
Awareness, Abundance, Support, and Truth — The sooner the coach introduces and encourages the client to utilize these basic, yet powerful life strategies, the sooner the client will be able to implement them. The client can apply these techniques to a specific area of their life, but they are clearly transferable to every aspect and serve to leading a more fulfilled life by making them more skillful in the way that they live.
We want our clients to grab life by the reigns … and to enjoy the ride as well!
Ellis, D. (2006). Life Coaching: A Manual for Helping Professionals. Connecticut: Crown House Publishing.
Gettman, H. J., (2009). Executive Coaching as a Developmental Experience: A Framework and Measure of Coaching Dimensions. Michigan: ProQuest, LLC.
Lopez, S. J. (2009). The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Volume I. A – M. West Sussex, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Whitmore, J., (2009). Coaching for Performance: Growing Human Potential and Purpose. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Whitworth, L., Kimsey-House, K., Kimsey-House H., Sandhal, P. (2007). Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life. California: Davies-Black Publishing.
Topp, E. M. (2006). Presence-Based Coaching: The Practice of Presence in Relation to Goal-Directed Activity. California: ProQuest, LLC.
(n.d.). Truth vs. fraud. Retrieved from http://learn.icoachacademy.com/program/cpcp/learning-levels/ll3/308-truth-vs-fraud/
Self awareness. (2012, July 16). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-awareness