Even the great scientists have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude
A true meeting of depth between coach and client can occur when both are in a state of presence with each other. Mearns & Cooper (2005; pg., 43-44) tell us that
a meeting of relational depth cannot be defined solely in terms of one individual. Nor is it something that a therapist, in isolation, can construct, for a meeting at relational depth requires two people, and a therapist can do no more than offer her client the possibility of such an encounter. Hence, we can distinguish between ‘presence’ as a coming together of congruence, empathy and acceptance at high levels in the therapist; and ‘relational depth’, which requires both the presence of the therapist and some form of presence or responsiveness from the client.
Presence is something the therapist can offer to her clients – indeed may need to offer – as a means of establishing a more in-depth relationship.
The “Optimal” State for the Coach.
Competency Number 4 of The International Coach Federation outlines the “Coaching Presence”
Coaching Presence – Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.
- Is present and flexible during the coaching process, dancing in the moment.
- Accesses own intuition and trusts one’s inner knowing – “goes with the gut”.
- Is open to not knowing and takes risks.
- Sees many ways to work with the client, and chooses in the moment what is most effective.
- Uses humor effectively to create lightness and energy.
- Confidently shifts perspectives and experiments with new possibilities for own action.
- Demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions, and can self-manage and not be overpowered or enmeshed by client’s emotions. (ICF; 2006)
Hence, the optimal state for the coach is one of Presence. Being present is essential to accessing intuition, dancing in the moment, and trusting that whatever comes up in the moment is appropriate.
If both coach & client are in the optimal space, fertile seeds have now been sown in the coaching relationship, to enhance the progress of the client and work toward truly sustainable results.
The author of this paper has noted that clients who are in a state of relative presence move forward more quickly than those who are inattentive and distracted. This coach was aware that her own presence helped clients to be still, but thought that an even better result might be achieved by using a short meditation at the beginning of each session to enhance client presence and increase co-active participation.
When asked how they felt following the exercise, and how it had impacted the session clients came up with the following comments:
It felt wonderful
It made me feel very peaceful and much more focused
It relaxes me and slows my mind down
The coach then prepared and presented a survey to gauge client response to relaxation techniques. Some of the client responses are as follows:
I understand what is being discussed better, I am less stressed, and I am present. I listen better, and I am open to new ideas. I gain so much from such a short time, so much more than if I did not do this exercise. I know from experience that otherwise I would describe interactions that have occurred and not be present as I tell them, therefore actually taking a very long way around to get to a positive result. I think it speeds up the process.
When she led the breathing exercises it helped slow me down and less in panic mode over the real life circumstances that had affected me during the week. Thinking was more clear!
I found myself much calmer and more focused. More centered and I noticed I was more connected to myself.
I become clear and can understand my inner talk.
I was able to look at my challenges, problems in a different way and felt that they didn’t mean the end of the world to me.
These comments seem to suggest that bringing the client into calmness and presence can be of great benefit, aiding them to think more clearly, and enhance the coaching connection.