Gaye Kuelsen, PCC • May 9, 2023 • 3 Minute Read
PCC Markers 5- Maintains Presence
Competency 5: Maintains Presence
This competency, Maintains Presence, requires us as coaches, to be in a place of being, as opposed to doing. For many of us busy, high achievers, the ability to stop doing and just BE, can be a real challenge. These PCC Markers give us some direction on how we can truly be with our clients, be present with them so they feel validated and understood.
5.1: Coach acts in response to the whole person of the client (the who).
When we invite our clients to share their topic for the coaching session, their first statement usually relates to what is sitting on the surface for them, as this is the safest space for them. Delving deeper into our thoughts and situations can be challenging. So, it makes sense that the client in the first instance chooses the safest option. Asking questions, and being curious to find out more about your client, will reveal to you who they are. This is partnering with your client to venture into unknown territory so they go into a space of being, and discover more about themselves. Having a focus on asking the client about their thoughts, feelings and beliefs in relation to a situation, is an effective way to respond to the whole person of your client (who they are).
5.2: Coach acts in response to what the client wants to accomplish throughout this session (the what).
At the end of the session, we support our clients to apply their knowledge gained from the coaching conversation. This is putting their insights into action. I consider it most effective if most of the middle part of the coaching conversation stays in being with the client. To explore who they are and who they want/need to be. Then, there is also the practicality of applying this knowledge that needs to be addressed. Actions speak louder than words. So then, supporting our clients into action, into the doing to accomplish their outcome, is how you as a coach, can respond to your client (what action is needed).
5.3: Coach partners with the client by supporting the client to choose what happens in this session.
The easiest way to partner with your client so they choose what happens in the session, is to as often as possible, ask or seek their permission! If your client opens with three topics to discuss, then ask which one needs to be addressed before the others. Your client then has the choice to determine where to start. During the conversation, if the client goes off on a tangent, then check if this has more importance to them in this moment, and ask to where they want to conversation to proceed. As you transition to the final part of the session, invite your client summarise what they have learnt so far, and ask what they are inspired to do now. Again, the choice of action is totally in the hands of your client.
I often think that we walk the same path with our clients, and I just follow half a pace behind, so they have the ultimate decision of when to stop, when to proceed and when to take a turn.
5.4: Coach demonstrates curiosity to learn more about the client.
Curiosity suspends judgement. I really resonate with this concept. In our world where we are wanting to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion, it is more important than ever that judgment and assumption is avoided. Being a coach has supported and nurtured my acceptance of those around me and highlighted the impact that respect and validation have on my relationships.
When a client is trying out a new behaviour or habit, setting up an experiment, is a way to introduce curiosity. The experiment has a set of parameters, and frequency, but the outcome is unknown. This unknown is supported by curiosity, and helps the client avoid jumping to assumptions or judgments. Not needing to achieve a set outcome, and just follow the experiment, relieves the pressure of performance. This provides the opportunity for my client to identify and create sustainable change.
5.5: Coach allows for silence, pause or reflection.
Life is so busy for us, that we jump from one task to another, from one event to the next. It seems that there is a constant demand on our time. Our clients have the same experience. Though in a coaching session, you can hold this space for them. You can give them the gift of silence, so that they can take the time needed to think. You can ask their permission if they are willing to take a pause. In this pause your client has the opportunity to be intentional with their next step, instead of rushing in without consideration. As their coach, you can ask them questions for them to reflect upon. This combination of silence, pause and reflection enables our clients to tap into their own wisdom, to identify what they believe and to decide what they want to do.
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