A Coaching Power Tool created by Jaya Bhateja
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.
Being present is something we would have heard millions of time in our life but what does it really mean? Does it only mean being present physically and mentally? Another way of being presence is “Emotionally”.
What does being “emotionally present” really mean? How does it show up practically between two people? Lets discuss this further.
Being “emotionally available” means that you are listening to what the other person is saying. Additionally it means that you’re allowing yourself to resonate with how he or she is feeling and that you’re putting your own stuff aside, just for the time being.
People use the word “empathy” to describe the emotional quality in “being emotionally present”. Empathy refers to the ability to sense and understand someone else’s feelings and emotions as if they were your own. Putting all of those elements together means being emotionally present is quite a complex state to be in and really need lot of practice.
One of the fastest ways-possibly the only way to engage the brain in changing any behavior or emotion is to stay in the present moment. Being present means being fully engaged in the moment with all your senses attuned to the here and now. You are neither dreaming of the future nor regretting the past. You are in the moment.
Role of Acceptance in Presence
Your presence comes from very fundamental aspect of Acceptance. It is imperative that if you haven’t accepted the other person completely you can’t be completely emotionally present to them.
True acceptance is when we are completely free from judgments, free from your past, free from your present and free from your future especially during the discussion.
Forming an emotional connection and truly accepting your client is extremely difficult; but it is very important. The client is not only the client; he is your ambassador, and the way you will make him feel will decide how much he would feel about the coaching process and talk to others about the same.
As a coach it is very important to have your heart with the client. If you are with them in their journey, they would be with you in your journey. Stay with your clients so that they can stay with you. Hope you don’t take this as a strategy because it is not, if you are not genuinely connected and interested in the coaching relationship, it is called the absence in this power tool.
The presence of emotional connects supports the coaching process by strengthening the trust between the coach and client and further makes it comfortable for the client to open up easily and explore his own thought process. It is very important that the client feels comfortable talking through the issues and feel open to talk about sensitive areas like underlying beliefs, mind blocks , ego, emotion , past experiences, some rigid habits etc.
It needs a huge amount of presence for the trust, acceptance, kindness, feeling of deep care and concern coming from within. You need to be genuinely caring towards your clients and to be involved in their goals.
I am sure we all agree that the whole reason why we have coaching as a demanded profession is because of the speed of lifestyle which is making people vulnerable.
Everybody today has the need to be heard and accepted. When we work towards our goals, we strive towards our acceptance to ourselves in that goal.
For example when you start the journey of self-awareness, generally you go through patterns like as follows:
You start with acknowledging good things residing in you which helps you release lot of judgments about yourself and help you discover some good things
about you You move deeper to find more goodness and potential within you which helps you create a self trust You recognize your potential, accept them to be able to move forward which helps in creating harmony between your body and mind to be aligned and happy.
The same patterns works with the client, if you have accepted your client and you are present for them whole heartily without judgment and with lot of care, you have made a place in their heart to move forward and to help them achieve what they are set for.
Coaches need to find every small opportunity to provide a gesture of acceptance to the client, which can bring a sense of acknowledgement to the client and engage them for the journey of their life. Needless to say, the more engaged the client is the more fruitful coaching process becomes!
Here are the individual building blocks:
Listening means just that: being quiet and focusing on what the other person has to say. Without interrupting too much, but maybe show that you are actively engaged by nodding or smiling. You need to listen and try to understand what is been said means to the speaker.
Asking open-ended questions allow the other person to explore the topic further. Really give your client space at this point. It is advisable not to rush things: talking and really understanding takes time. It is possible that the story of the speaker change as it unfolds. That’s normal. Saying things out loud to somebody else is a powerful process, which in itself means things move forward in some way.
Being a coach you are not required to fix things for your client. No practical action may be called for except to listen and try to understand. If you feel it hard to sit with the other person’s emotion, simply try and relax.
Listening is something you can do by yourself. In active listening you are listening and then showing the other person that you are listening. You are listening as well as communicating back that you are listening. This will mean that the other person gets a sense that you are really present with them. You can communicate that you are listening by non verbal cues such as smiling, nodding, and matching the other person’s gestures. You can also communicate that you are listening by supportive “uhm” and “ahm” noises, or by saying the odd word here and there such as “I see”. Asking questions is also great. If you can stick more to open ended questions, which will give the other person chance to open up the conversation rather than close it down.
Make space for the other
One could see making space for the other quite literally, as in dedicating time to focus on the other person. However, making space for someone is also about making space for somebody in your mind. This means giving the other person your attention and setting aside your own issues and worries for the moment. If you find this difficult, it might help to think about it in ego state terms. When you make space for another, you are willing to stay grounded in your Adult ego state: in other words, you’re willing to be present in a calm and grounded way without your own concerns impinging on your attention to what your partner is saying. If what is being said is about you in some way, don’t react to it straight away. You are there just now to support the other, and hence there is no space for judgment. Quite often the other person does not want solution, but simply wants you to listen non-defensively to what they have to say.
Being open means that you are willing to let yourself resonate with another person’s emotions. Once you make some space for another person’s emotions, and you are actively listening to what he or she may be expressing, you may feel emotionally moved by what he or she is saying and feeling. Being open allows you to feel with the other person and emotionally understand what is going on for them. Be prepared to let yourself be stirred by him or her! Allow them to impact you. This is an important aspect of being close to someone.
If you’re resonating with somebody else’s feeling, you often naturally go to the complementary emotional position. That is, if somebody feels sad, what is called for from you is compassion; if they feel anger, it is listening and taking them seriously; when they are anxious, it’s reassurance; and when they are happy or excited, you could mirror delight.
- How many times has it happened with you that after one or few session, you didn’t feel like talking to a client and continued the sessions just because only the client was interested?
- Were you present with your mind and heart in that conversation?
- How many clients just had one or just few sessions with you and ended the coaching sessions with you by giving some excuse of time and schedules and then never came back?
- Could you feel the feelings that the client was going through or where you preparing for next question to be asked to the client?
- Were you spontaneous in asking questions or where you taking time to feel what you heard?
In order to be able to fully present to your client it is important to devote your efforts to build connection in first few sessions. Start being with the client and start building the relationship with genuine care and genuine concern. It is a very deep level of acceptance, which makes the client feel acknowledged for what they are and that acceptance makes the relationship strong. The client needs to feel that they can say anything in the space that is provided by you. They need to feel themselves without any sign of judgments and condition.