Possible barriers impacting client responses.
Although the majority of clients respond well to relaxation exercises the coach had one client who didn’t respond well. This client reported feeling silly and said that it made her more edgy.
Firstly the coach notes that she was very inexperienced at that point, in fact this was her first ever client. She did not discuss with, or ask permission from, the client before introducing the technique.
It may also have been that this technique was simply not suited to this particular client.
The Survey also elicited this response:
First few times we went through breathing exercises which I was already familiar with. Another time she went through a guided meditation including a lot of references to God. The first time was helpful because meditating with another helps me focus more. The second time the exercise was aggravating because I have practiced meditation for years and it seemed too biased and basic. I do believe in God but didn’t want that to be pushed on me as I felt it was.
This brings awareness that not all clients respond well to one technique and that it is important to introduce new techniques carefully. In respecting each client as a unique individual, the coach should not make references to a particular religion, or doctrine, which may make the client feel uncomfortable. It is important that the coach be familiar with the clients’ values and beliefs before introducing a specific format for meditation.
Always ask the client for permission to introduce a meditation or other exercise to help them become more relaxed/present. When asking, explain what you will be doing and why, being careful to use language which will resonate with the client.
Strategies to Enhance Coaching Presence for Optimal Results.
- It could be helpful to have a conversation with the client around ways to prepare themselves before a session. For example: suggest sitting quietly with a hot drink for 15 minutes prior to the session, meditating or writing in their journal. If clients have already discovered successful methods, encourage the use of these. This would help to promote self-responsibility for the client. Helping clients to discover ways to bring themselves into the present will also be useful in their day-to-day lives.
- Send the client a preparation form. This form could include questions around what progress they have made this week, successes and realizations, where they got stuck and what they would like to focus on today. Reflecting and writing about progress since the last session and thinking about what they want to bring to today’s session can be very helpful in bringing awareness around what is going on for them right now. Ask them to email it to you before the session so that you are prepared to move in the direction they wish to take.
- Yoga: Spending a little time doing yoga before coming to the session would be helpful for those who practice yoga.
- Meditation: The client may wish to do a meditation of their choice prior to the session or may prefer to be led through a meditation by the coach at the beginning of the session.
- Breathing exercises: Again the client may wish to do this before the session or may enjoy the coach leading them through it at the beginning of the session.
- Walking: Taking a walk and focusing on the breath and the feelings in your body can be very useful in becoming present.
- Getting into nature: Being very observant of everything you can see, hear and feel. Becoming very aware of your senses.
- Intention setting: Focusing on what it is you really want to achieve from the session.
- Visualisation or Guided Imagery: Have the client close their eyes and picture themselves in their favourite setting, maybe with their favourite companion, taking time to really feel the sensations of being there.
These are all suggestions that coaches may select from, choosing those which both they and their client will feel most comfortable with for the most effective results.
What benefits might be expected through the use of meditation/relaxation exercises?
Clients may come to sessions in a very agitated state if they are experiencing a major drama in their lives. While it may not be immediately possible to bring them into a state of absolute presence, any relaxation that can be experienced will be of benefit in enabling them to see things and express themselves more clearly. Becoming relaxed will also bring about a feeling of relief.
Many clients will also come from a place of busy-ness, feeling tension & stress. Helping them to let go of this feeling of busy-ness will enable them to focus much more clearly on their thoughts, bringing clarity more easily.
When the client is in a state of relaxed presence they are able to draw from their inner knowing, gaining awareness of their real goals and purpose in life, and finding ways to move forward, more easily than if they are distracted. A greater rapport between coach and client is also likely to occur. When these aspects are in place there is the possibility for real, sustainable change to take place quite rapidly. Clients can then reap great value from the coaching process.
When people act from the heart of who they are, they are coming from a place of passion, are energized to create action, and continue to evolve. They have truly fulfilling lives. Coaches help ordinary people to live extraordinary lives when there is a true coming together in a space of presence in which the client is able to access that which they already are.
People who are able to access their inner knowing are in alignment with the universe, empowered to create a reality of their choosing.
It appears that very little research has been written around this topic as it was difficult to find credible information and so my conclusions are drawn in the main from my own experience and the responses from my survey.
My conclusion is that assisting clients to become present in sessions can be very valuable, to coaching clients “on a journey of becoming that which we already are” (Jacobson L.), providing this is done in a sensitive and respectful way.
Hicks Jerry & Esther. (2009) The Vortex. Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All
Cooperative Relationships. (Hay House) (pp 8)
International Coach Federation. Website (2006) http://www.coachfederation.org/
Jacobson L. Journey Into The Now: Clear Guidance On The Path Of Spiritual Awakening. (pp xi) retrieved March 2, 2012 from blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/leonard-jacobson
Mearns D. & Cooper M. (2005) Working at Relational Depth in Counselling & Psychology. (Sage Publications) (pp 43-44)
Tolle E. (2004 ) The Power Of Now. (Hodder) (pp 49)