ICF defines embodiment of a coaching mindset as developing and maintaining a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.
In the last issue we covered the foundation of embodying a coaching mindset items regarding cultural awareness. In today’s article we will cover:
5. Uses awareness of self and one’s intuition to benefit clients
6. Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one’s emotions
Self-management is core to the core coaching mindset. Coaches must have the ability to be aware of what is happening in themselves internally in response to both what the client is experiencing and to their past experiences and personal filters. What the coach is experiencing and sensing from the conversation can be helpful to the client. However, it is important that the coach is able to separate what is for the benefit of the coach and what is for the benefit of the client. What is for the benefit of the coach has no place in the coaching conversation as it turns the focus to the coach’s needs. But when the coach can utilize their experience of the interaction with the client to benefit the client’s movement forward it can be helpful in the coaching experience.
An example of how a coach might bring their own emotional experience into the conversation can be found in this experience. While I was coaching a client, he expressed concern that his co-workers accused him of talking down to them. As he told me the story of their interaction including what he said to them I imagined myself in the position of his coworker in the interaction. The empathetic position allowed me to feel what I believe the coworker felt. When he finished speaking, I asked for permission to make an observation. The observation I gave was that while listening to him describe the interaction with the co-workers and putting myself in their position I felt myself become defensive in response to the tone of voice and words he was using. I then asked him how hearing this perspective of the situation impacted him. The client was able to step back mentally and consider the interaction from the co-worker’s perspective and realized that though his intention was to be helpful to his co-workers the message they were receiving was one of criticism. We were able to continue the conversation and look at ways he might shift his interactions with his co-workers so they could receive him as helpful rather than critical.
Self-management was critical in this instance because it would have been easy for me to take on the offense of the co-workers and see my client in a bad light which would not have been helpful for him. Instead, the ability to regulate my own emotions and responses in order to remain in a neutral stance created the ability for us to explore the situation without blaming or judgment. This created a safe place for the client to explore options and obtain new awareness about the situation.