A Coaching Model By Yoky Yu, Life Coach, SPAIN
The NAKED Coach Structure Just Like Chinese Ink Paintings
The structure of a coaching session, to me, is like the bone (风骨) in a Chinese Ink painting. You can’t trace it, but it’s there, as an integrated part of the whole piece, invisibly visible. It happens with the spirit of improvisation, if then and only then, we can surrender to our courage and vulnerability as coaches. Therefore, I don’t believe that my coaching model should be a unidirectional flow. Instead, I intuitively feel that the moment there is an implicit “process”, we lose spontaneity. By accepting chaos, we receive clarity; by giving up control, we get closer to the outcome.
Having said that, just like Chinese ink paintings, there are basic strokes and techniques that we need to master first before we can fully flow with effortless action. We need to align with our clients in terms of goals, direction, and intention.
What could be a non-linear coaching model aiding us to “get there”, transcending from visible bones to the invisible bones? What could aid us to exist “in-between”?I thought of the word, Naked. Having grown up in China, as a relatively young female person, I was conditioned to “cover-up”. Cover-up my body; cover-up my personality; cover-up my vulnerability. The lure of covering up is like a pseudo-authoritative attempt to safeguard our ego while preventing the cultivation of any genuine spirit of a session.
The NAKED Coach
These five words work simultaneously in a session, with no specific order.
- Focus on the “here and now”, mainly. Every single breath, every single beat, brings the duo to a new “now”. We must be aware of the goal of the client, but not be obsessed with it. The client could be discovering another layer of truth right after we established an initial “agreement.” We shall have the contract as a background, a general direction, but attend to the micro-climate, the unspoken, in the breaths that we share with the client.
- We shall be on the same page with the client, at any given moment. When we find ourselves lost at sea, seek re-alignment immediately. Ask for help even! We need to be frank, for our clients to see that we are not pretending to be smarter, or have more wisdom than them. Also, if we only focus on the goal, we are not addressing the client as a person. Energetically, musically, and phenomenally, how much can you be conscious of your field? How much can you register and process the energy field of your client?
- We can’t be the only source of light and heat for our clients: nobody can, but themselves. We are not cheerleaders, therapists, or prostitutes…as in, we are not here to make our clients feel good. They might feel good as a by-product of our presence and skills, but ultimately, we can’t manipulate or guarantee their feelings. All we can do is to provide a little sparkle, in the form of an honest acknowledgment, a compassionate observation, or an appreciative inquiry. When our clients are stuck with an old pattern, for example, we could contribute in a non-invasive manner. The end goal is for them to see their light and motivation.
- To enquire is to dance in contact improv. Too much or too soon, we ruin the fun for the client; too little or too late, we lose those fleeting opportunities. To master the art of inquiry is to know when not to do it. New coaches, out of insecurity of any silence, might crush the client with back-to-back questions. Sometimes we hide our mini-agenda in the form of a question, but indeed, we are robbing the client of the innocence of a good coaching session. Enquire, with curiosity, alignment, responding to the “here and now”, with a sense of child-like wonder, might just be the way.
- A good coaching relationship, and an effective coaching presence, usually can shift the client into a commitment to some kind of action. Coaching is not just talking. We can be observant of the body language of the client; a certain kind of visualization exercise can help the client travel far without moving away from the seat. In blended coaching, for example, with psychodrama. A short empty chair exercise could gift the client an entirely new perspective. The word “do” also plays a big part in getting closure in a session. What’s a concrete action that’s within the client’s power? It could be addictive to be coached but yield no change if the client is playing the helpless role. Challenging our clients to choose their adventure, could foster empowerment organically.
NAKED Coach the Yin and the Yang
Titles, certifications, and years of corporate experience…are not real for an effective coach. Naked is real. We still live in a patriarchal society where logic, certainty, control, and power dominate our business transactions. Coaching is fluid, however, not just a business transaction. It’s an interplay of the yin and the yang. It exists in the dichotomy of focus, and detachment; clarity, and ambiguity; goal-centered, and people-centered approaches.
As NAKED coaches, we thrive to “be” and “do” in the multi-dimensions that our clients operate in. We acknowledge our inner material in the “here and now”, and we manifest a sense of inner alignment with ourselves, as well as our mission as coaches. There is no perfect session or a perfect coach. If we can try to be NAKED at any given moment, then we don’t have too much to worry about.