Everyone was at the edge of their seats as the silence lingered on after I asked my question.
In a moment, I’m going to share the transformational story about the above quote…
But first, let’s discuss a somewhat counterintuitive principle (at least for many new coaches and maybe for some more experienced coaches too), and how making this as a foundation of your work has the ability to put you in the top echelons of coaches as you support clients to make life changing transformations.
The principle shared by the International Coach Federation (ICF) says… ‘People are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.’
This means people – your clients or potential future clients – already have the resources within them to make the transformations they want and seek.
Before I learnt about coaching, I thought it was about guiding and advising. I believed I had to be an expert in someone else’s world to be able to assist them. And then I studied coaching and learnt this powerful principle: people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.
And although I was aware of this principle as a new coach, my old tendencies of guiding came into play when I felt I needed to support my clients who were really struggling to find their way forward, especially when I felt I identified a potential solution.
So as a newly trained coach, at times when my clients were struggling, I would fill the gaps by asking leading questions or let my clients ‘off the hook’ if they didn’t know the answer, versus trusting my clients to dig deep and letting there be plenty of silence – which can be uncomfortable – in support of my client finding their own way forward.
Perhaps that approach landed well sometimes, but I began to realise that my most profound sessions occurred when I was listening deeply, asking questions based on what I was hearing – the verbal and non-verbal communication – and allowing my clients to go on a journey of deep internal discovery. The silence, which is often uncomfortable, was the opportunity for my clients to dig deep and discover their own powerful truth.
The more I leaned into this belief, the more it became certain that people really do already have everything they need to change. And all I am to do in these profound moments is to hold a safe place for the processing of greater awareness and new empowering perspectives and experiences to unfold.
And when a client discovers new empowering awareness for themselves: magic happens. A paradigm shift occurs supporting the brain and nervous system to rewire itself. A new way of experiencing the world integrates itself into their being. And a life-changing new awareness and powerful embodiment and transformation happens in a second.
The power of this principle really came alive for me when I was training an incredibly powerful group of indigenous women to become professional coaches. They were passionate women, not afraid to speak up and share what was most important to them.
A coaching opportunity presented itself when one of the women was incredibly brave and shared a vulnerable topic and question for herself. I remember holding the space in what seemed an emotionally charged experience where this particular woman found herself questioning her beliefs.
I recall vividly allowing silence after asking an open question after she shared her overwhelming struggle. I didn’t come in with another question, or a leading question or words to push down the pain. I trusted this woman, and what she brought into the training for her learning.
It felt like everyone was on the edge of their seats as the silence lingered on after asking my question. And all of a sudden, the client’s energy and physiology changed into something very powerful. It was like she found her ‘mana’ (strength and self-worth). She transformed from not knowing the answer for herself to digging deep inside to find an empowering way forward which aligned with her truth about her wise self.
When we unpacked the experience, the woman shared it was evolutionary for her. She said, ‘It was like we were in our bubble, just the two of us. I could feel the energy from you, Jeanine. I felt you believing in me. And you ‘held me in a safe place’ and that allowed me to go into scary places and find my answer about who I truly am and what I believe. Beliefs that I know are good for me and my whanau (family).’
Based on this emotional experience, I too felt profoundly transformed as a coach. It gave me the courage to hold the space for my clients and experience them as naturally creative, resourceful and whole to find the answer: their truth within.
If we see our client as broken or needing mending, that energy is potentially transferred to the client. By being mindful about how we show up for our clients and the principles we adhere to and who we are ‘being’ as a coach to support our client, we can ensure we create the space for our clients to identify and create powerful changes.
If you are a new or even a more experienced coach, we invite you to let go of wanting anything for your client and trust they’ll find their own way. A client may not come up with their answer straight away.
And if you champion and acknowledge your client to let them know they are incredibly capable and creative – that they will find their way when they’re ready – it sends a powerful message to your client that they will find their way forward. It might take an hour or a day or a few weeks or perhaps even longer – whenever they are ready and whatever time it takes to find their answer – and that’s ok because they are in charge of their own life.
We’d love to know your experiences with holding the space for clients. Supporting them in the belief that people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.
And if you’d like to go deeper on this, along with other strategies for high level coaches, you’ll be interested in our upcoming Diamond Advanced Coaching Skills Training. Click here to find out more.
The Power Of Belief And Trust In Our Clients
The International Coaching Federation says coaching is based on the principle our clients are naturally creative resourceful and whole. When we work with our clients on this basis, we don’t see them as ‘broken’, and therefore, we don’t rescue or do the work for our clients. This empowers and frees them to do their own work in their own time.
Listen to Jeanine and Marie in Empower World’s Coaching and Leadership Podcast Episode 166 here.
Episode-166 can be found here:
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