In my opinion, coaching is really a higher way of communicating and relating. It is really something we all do quite naturally the more we are conscious and present in the moment. So this blog post is to summarize what some of those things are – so we can notice and be a natural coach more of the time. The more we are all communicating in this higher way, the better a world we will create...
One - Take really great care of yourself
This is essential. As a coach, it is essential that you show up for each session or meeting as your most resourceful, grounded self. This can only happen if you are taking really great care of yourself. This means having a good home, eating well, exercising or moving your body enough, and basically doing whatever nourishes you and makes you feel your best. In fact, if you do only this, that might be enough to allow you to do some great coaching, and you might find people often call you for advice! But really, taking great care of yourself is a foundation for great coaching.
Two – Be Curious
If you have been taking good care of yourself, then you will naturally show up to more of your meetings feeling relaxed, calm and quiet. And in a quiet mind, we naturally know that we don’t know. There is ‘space’ between our mind and our self, and we know that while we may have a head full of opinions – they are just opinions, and we certainly don’t know what’s best for someone else. So instead of being opinionated, we have curiosity, and we naturally begin to inquire, to ask questions. We are in a learning state, instead of an arrogant or egotistical state.
Three – Ask Questions
The magic of inquiring is that people can find inside themselves a truth that we were going to tell them! And they are much more likely to act from an insight or awareness that is their own, then one that has been imposed or given from outside of them. So we our natural caring and curiosity moves us to find out: What is the problem? What would they rather have? What would be their ideal desire? Why do they want that, anyway? And then we can ask about obstacles: What’s stopping them? How do they do that? And a really great question is: have you had that outcome before? How did you do it then? Coaching can actually be a very stream-lined, focused conversation, you both aim towards to the outcome, clear obstacles and elicit counter-examples to the problem – times when the solution has happened before or is happening already. It’s often easier to build confidence than to take apart anxiety. Coaching is really building solutions.
Four – Practice Whole Body Listening
As we listen to another, we can imagine sending our awareness down into our body and legs and feet. Doing this can ground us, quieting our mind and getting out of our head, and into our body, where our intuition can be heard. The human body-heart system is a very sensitive multi-leveled receiver of energy. The more of your own self you are feeling, the more of their self you will be able to feel – you feel them through feeling you. As we learn to listen from deeper inside ourselves, we may notice many layers of insight about the other. It’s as if you begin to be able to tune in to their deeper truth and even what their body or spirit is saying! This might sound woo-woo but it’s actually very natural. Meditation is really doing just this: it’s practicing whole-body listening, but just with our self. We can easily bring meditation to our meetings with others, just by remembering to frequently pause, and become aware of our own breathing and deeper inner body. Doing so will naturally help us bring greater presence, quiet, and depth to the conversation. This will help us both go deeper, to the place where deeper solutions are found.
Five – Don’t give Advice
In the coach trainings that I have been to, one of the first things they do is tell us to not give advice. Not giving advice becomes our new practice. Later, when you begin giving advice again, you will have more discretion and discernment as to when and how you give it, and you will find it lands with another person more powerfully. In fact, if we talk less in general, and speak only when we are sure what we have to say is high quality and helpful, we will find people begin to really pay attention to us, even hanging on our words. If we do give advice, it’s often best to keep it to one or two points, and keep it very simple and gentle. I even like to ask first if they would like my opinion – we will have more of their attention and respect if we first ask permission before giving an opinion. Be prepared to have them say no. Then, if it is welcome, I give it gently, remembering that I don’t know. Sometimes people create very challenging situations to teach themselves something that is hard to learn. If we take that situation away from them too soon, they may have to work hard to create it again! And the lesson will take them longer to learn. Humility is a great aid to brilliant coaching. You might be in the role of 'the coach', but you are both learning!
Six – Help them Go in the Direction They Want to
This is a pointer I was given once that I like to keep in mind. Helping people go in the direction they want to go in means helping them get in touch with their deeper desires, dreams and values. It’s really very simple: It’s hard to follow a path that our heart is really not into. So, by helping people go in the direction they want to go in…could be a really great service. But their mind, their beliefs, their fears or their ‘obligations’ might get in the way. And that’s why we have the coaching-way of communicating! The more we show us coach-friends to the people around us, the more we may naturally find problems undoing themselves in our presence, and people finding greater flow and joy in their lives. And if they want to go in a direction that is questionable or maybe clearly unhealthy, letting that happen might be the fastest way for them to learn to not want that anymore!
Seven – Share Your Inklings
Having learned to not give advice (and noticing how much better things go when we don’t give advice), we are then ready to…share our inklings. An inkling is like a little whisper of an intuition, a gut feeling maybe, that might later grow, in us or in them, into a full-blown inner knowing or insight. So in the coach world, they like to do this thing they call ‘blurting’. This means that at some point when an intuition or inkling is present, you just blurt it out! And you never know, it might be nothing, or it might really land with them as a powerful reminder of something they already know to be true. Speaking our insights, inklings and revelations can make for powerful coaching, and deeper relating. As we give less advice, take great care of ourselves, and listen more with our whole body, we will naturally find our intuition increase, as does the power of our conversations and ability to help people. In othe words: you start having more and better inklings, you say more in less words, people really appreciate it, and the results speak for themselves.
Now go forth, and remember that we have a choice about how we communicate and relate. There is a natural coach, which means a lover of people, inside of all of us.