Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, wherever you are.
I hope you are all well and finding ways to thrive in this challenging world.
Recently, I was conducting a mentor coaching session with a coach where we were discussing a recording of one of his sessions. It was a pretty good session that he had had with his client and we had discussed what he had done really well. When I then asked what he thought he could improve on, he surprisingly replied that he was concerned about his tone.
It was rather surprising for a couple of reasons. Firstly, none of us enjoy hearing our voices in recordings – they just don’t sound like us. In this case, however, it was more than that. Secondly, many coaches find it difficult to view their own recordings objectively and so this level of self-awareness was commendable. Thirdly, I had wanted to raise this very thing with him and had strategised how I might do this sensitively.
He indicated that he felt his tone was abrasive. I thought it sounded a little officious, perhaps clinical, and this was exacerbated because he has a powerful voice. The result was that it sounded more like an interview than a coaching conversation. In the end, therefore, his tone affected his coaching presence.
In preparing for that session, I contemplated some other examples that get in the way of our presence. For example, inexperienced coaches often focus on their next question or the next step in their process. Other coaches sometimes focus on a model that they can give to their client as a solution to the issue they are discussing.
So, tone isn’t the only thing that affects presence and today I would like to share how we dealt with this in the hope that you will identify ways that you might improve your presence, whether or not this is an issue for you.
The first point I would like to make is that we cannot be present with our client when we are thinking so hard. We need to be fully present with our client, listening (as I have said before) in their heads, not ours. We need to be curious about what they are saying, what their current perspective is. We need to have the curious innocence of a child.
However, curiosity is more than an intellectual exercise. At that level, our coaching presence will be compromised. We need to care about our client, in fact, we need to care deeply about them and their situation, but with objectivity!
Genuine caring leads to genuine curiosity which, in turn, leads to wider perspectives, deeper insights, and greater possibilities. Curiosity is king insofar as these outcomes are concerned, but genuine caring is the kingmaker!
Like my client, I hope you will explore employing greater care and curiosity in your coaching this month whether having coaching presence is difficult for you or not. I also hope you will share your experiences with me on this link – firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!
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