A Research Paper By Kim LiPira, Business Coach, UNITED STATES
POP – Presence Connection to Self Realization = Success
The experience of greater awareness, fulfillment, and joy. Presence-based coaching puts us in much more direct contact with our moment-by-moment experience. Increased sensitivity and awareness of our own experience are the keys to the intangible rewards we seek in our lives pg. 26 PBC
The act of Presence is the most powerful tool a coach can use with the client. It is the underlying foundation of awareness, mindfulness, mind/body connection. Coming from a place of presence vs not being present is a game-changer. Presence allows the coach to connect with the client, in a space that is held, where trust can be initiated. In this space, which is sacred, nothing else is heard except the voice of the client. The coach is laser-focused and, in this presence, can hear clearly what the client is saying. With the client being heard the coach can respond based on all the indicators presence-based coaching brings. Not only with the communication of words does this happen. The body talks, the intuition is alert, and the questions of exploration can be formulated.
When the coach comes from an established presence and can work with the client from there, the client will benefit from this sense of being and will start recognizing their presence as well.
This inner work prepares the client for the changes they wish to achieve to live their best life. This practice is not a niche coaching model but a model for everyone and every situation life brings. It is where we are designed to “Be”.
Presence Is Powerful
If we wish to work within the realm of presence it must start with us. Presence is powerful. When we as a coach establish a presence and hold it, the client will eventually be drawn into that space. We must be intentional about holding this presence. This is not the norm for a human being to do. We all have judgments, beliefs, and distractions we bring. These elements need to be left at the door before the coach gets ready to meet the client for a session. Setting this groundwork is of key importance. It takes practice and mindfulness. So says Doug Silsbee who my research and significant finding are used as resources to substantiate what I also believe to be true. “Our ability to facilitate lasting, sustainable development in others rests on the presence that we offer to the relationship. Coaching requires that we first do our inner work; in fact, developing presence is the most important work we can do as human beings. Then and only then can we coach in a way that comes close to delivering what coaching often promises. (Silsbee, 2008)
My journey through ICA has been profound. I have found it for myself through the Aha moment that came to me while in ICA practicing as a coach. This Aha moment was done in a complete moment of presence and feeling that there was something different that needed to be experienced. I believe this was a coming together of the Mind, Body, and Heart as will be looked at within this paper. Starting as a new coach I found myself, judgmental, distracted from bringing in my own beliefs and values. It made it almost impossible to coach from that space. When I put aside what it should look like and stopped judging myself first, removing the ego it started to get better. All I wanted to do was tune out all the mind chatter and focus on the client. When I set this intention, my coaching took a dramatic shift and the way I felt within the coaching space was much more relaxed and at ease. The major shift came when I started meditating before the coaching session. This allowed me to come to the client/ coach space with such focus on the moment and client that my listening became more fine-tuned into them; I was clear and connected. My peer coaches witnessed the change. This is the power of presence.
When I realized what an impact it had on the quality of the coaching outcome I wanted to meditate more. I dug deep into The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Doug Silsbee’s writings reflected here. I realized how important the mind-body connection is to my awareness of the present moment and that was I was getting more in balance with my Heart-Mind connection. My brain was all a chatter when I started. My AHA moment was my heart telling me about the true way into meaningful coaching. I came from a place of conscious intention and not from unconsciousness doing, outside the realm of presence.
As Doug Silsbee explains in Presence-Based Coaching there are three primary doorways to assist in developing your Presence-Based Coaching. Of course, these doors change your whole self, your life, not just your coaching effectiveness.
- Mind – Is the organ of awareness if we do not let it control us.
- Body- The body is a powerful doorway into present moment awareness and a rich resource of information about what is going on within ourselves and in our relationships.“The body is a direct portal to presence” (Coursera.org Foundations of Mindfulness)
- Heart- There is a distinct intelligence available through our hearts. While connected to the rest of our nervous system, the heart has its way of understanding and teaching. ( Silsbee, 2008, pg. 84-85)
For me, the heart entity also means being conscious. That deeper knowingness is not learned from a book or a life experience.
Being present fine-tunes the coach on the client. It allows the coach to better coach the client, not the story, trust and use their innate intuitive feelings, and be more keenly observant. All of these benefits set the stage for the client to be brought to the space of Presence. Ultimately, to be a presence-based client.
How Can We Assist in Setting the Stage for Them as a Presence-Based Client?
The most influential avenue is that we keep a presence and hold a space for the client. There are several effects of holding a space that influence the coaching session. Within the space, there is a feeling. These feelings are communicated as trust, belief, connection, truth and more depending on the relationship created.
From there the client gets in touch with what is important for them, how they feel, and what is coming up for them.
Doug Silsbee describes it as the Relational Field. We can never know how a client will interpret the atmosphere of presence you bring to a session. He gives this Relational Field five qualities.
- Spaciousness- Inherent in Presence.
- Compassion- Recognizing we all share difficulties, and we have a desire to relieve them
- Unconditional Positive Regard- Support and acceptance (.. nothing is coming from us that needs defending…)
- Resonance: The client senses that we see them, and we understand their concerns
- Neutrality: We are free from attachment to, or investment in a particular result. ( This does not mean we do not care about what happens to them.)(Silsbee, 2008, pg. 119)
Knowing there is a Relational Field and how impactful what we bring to it is, it’s easy to see how the sense of presence would be established here and how it is up to us as to how we are within it for it to be established.
Setting this space for the client to establish where they are in the field and how they feel and what effects they derive from it is part of the coach’s mindful presence-based coaching.
With this foundation, the coach can allow the client to explore in a safe space. They are more likely to connect with their feelings and express them here. None of this process means it is a given. These are best practices that enhance the likelihood of a mindful connection between client and coach so that the client feels they can get in touch with who they are, be in the moment and take the time to feel.
It’s hard to fully fathom the impact of being in the present moment. Nothing happens other than in the present moment. We create our stories of events and why we feel or perceive situations from the past and in future thinking. If a client can establish themselves in the Now this is where they will find their successful outcome to what is brought to the coaching session. “..any changes that you make, whether they have to do with your work, your relationships, or your surroundings, are ultimately only cosmetic unless they arise out of a change of consciousness. And as far as that is concerned it can only mean one thing: being more present.” ( The Power of Now, Tolle, pg. 91)
What we as coaches do to present ourselves by establishing our presence and so with that an invitation for the client to enter is the only way we can have this experience with our client. We can not go into a session and say, let’s be present today, let’s make sure you think about your feelings and give yourself time to go deeper into a question.
Starting with a simple practice of allowing more space for the client to “Be “in, to think, to feel, is a great first step. Observe how they react and respond to this space. “The resulting sense of spaciousness and possibility provides room for both people’s intuition to reveal things that a more constricted, the linear process might not.” (Silsbee, 2008 pg. 125 )
This research paper was brought about by my own profound experience in the NOW. To have had that realization and be led to the writings that could prove to be the Power that the Presence has and how it is a practice for the coach to discover and embrace in their own life was an amazing journey. To be able to learn better how to invite the client into that space and share with them the impact it can have to get in touch with themselves and their present moment is huge.
I am grateful for the resources, ideas. agreements and study within this paper that is based primarily on two bodies of work. Doug Silsbee’s Presence-Based Coaching and Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
In stillness I find my true self. Deepak Chopra