INCREASING THE COACH´S PRESENCE
What is the relationship between the calm of the deep ocean and the bubbling waves on the surface?
According to the basic principles of coaching, the state of awareness is an essential attribute of the Coach. In order to promote the expansion of the coachee´s consciousness, the coach needs to be aware of. Consciousness, defined as a core competence of the Coach, refers to his ability to integrate the customer ´s information and, through his effective communication skills, elicit new «insights» and learning as a result of the coachee´s self-exploration. The Coach acts as a guide and «reflector» of the client in the process of self-exploration and awareness-raising. Therefore, he needs to be aware of the client and the reality in which the client exists.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION AND THE NON DIRECTIVITY IN COACHING?
Non Directive Coaching can be simply defined as the coaching without transfer of knowledge or experience.
Where does the «directive temptation» of the Coach come from? Where does the advice or suggestion, (even without being verbalized, and expressed only at the level of thought) start?
It comes obviously from the mind of Coach that automatically connects the speech that is listening to his personal experience, or his own ideology, and quickly processes all this information and makes judgments, suggestions or simple comments. It is called the «unobserved mind».
In this state, the Non Directive Coach , in the best of cases, is able to observe that «directive voice» and ignore it, preventing the increase of the interference in the session, and maintaining his level of «presence».
In the worst case, two things can happen:
- The Coach starts a mental battle trying to avoid this interference, and therefore, his active listening disappears for a moment;
- The Coach´s attention is dragged by that cloud of thoughts and either he expresses them verbally or nonverbally (somehow unavoidable), or at least he is mentally «absent» from the session during this time.
Therefore, the level of awareness of the Coach and the Coachee come in large measure determined by the active listening´ ability of the Coach. Understanding that active listening goes beyond having the ability to hear the words of others. It is mainly to possess the ability to stop hearing our own words.
HOW DO WE DEVELOP THAT CAPACITY AS COACHES?
In my personal experience, I have found that meditation, practised regularly and honestly, can help drastically to develop this capacity.
Meditation* happens when we are in the present moment, and we settle in it. It is the state of inner silence (or thoughtless awareness), in which the space between two thoughts is enlarging gradually, until they disappear, and spontaneously, our consciousness expands and rises beyond the level of the mind, causing a state of deep peace and inner joy. At the same time, it is a state of great «alertness», in which our ability to perceive what is happening at different levels, increases exponentially. It is a state in which, being beyond the mind, there is no place for limiting beliefs. This state, by itself, has the ability to «infect» our coachee and thus cause more inspired «reflections», intuitions, or «insights»
For the one who has conquered the mind, it becomes his best friend; but for the one who has failed in this endeavor, his mind will remain the greatest enemy The Bhagavad Gita
We are then talking, using the terminology of Tim Gallwey, that in the Inner Game that every Coach plays, the practice of daily meditation, helps greatly to reduce the interference of our self 1 in our Self 2. And in terms of Non-Directive Coaching, contributes not only to identify and avoid the “directive/counselling temptation, but also to train our awareness and attention on observation, and therefore reduction / dissolution of the emergence of thoughts and patterns of directive court.
The practice of meditation, therefore, can be instrumental in developing the ability to «be one» with the coachee, to be fully present in the moment and in the conversation, without generating a mental activity within us. This mental activity can interfere with the possible emergence of «insights», moments of creative inspiration, solutions or realizations of the person with whom we have connected at a level beyond the usual mental noise.
Sir John Whitmore called it Transpersonal Coaching and stated that any coaching process that claims to be transformative, must take the coachee through the question «who am I?». That question, in my view, can only be truly powerful, if the Coach is in that state of inner silence, «doing without doing», of «Flow.” At that moment, there are not two beings communicating at a superficial level, but two “banks” of the one river of consciousness that are dialoguing.
Therefore, in my opinion and experience, the «non-self directivity,» happens before the dialogue with the coachee. The ability to silence or dissolve (before they appear), or in the worst case observe the judgements, opinions or suggestions of our mind, can be enhanced through the practice of meditation. This will facilitate the flow of consciousness Coach / Coachee, avoiding the interference of the thoughts of the Coach and thus, helping the coachee to clear his mental agitation as well (his own «directives interferences of self 1»), and feel more inspired to find the goals or solutions that his deeper self craves.
As a Coach, I understand meditation as the most important state that I can offer to my relationship with the coachee. When we reach this state of inner silence, we provide the possibility that this silence is achieved by our coachee. We become more aware of him, we connect completely, and yet we do not lose the necessary «distance».