Holding the Coaching Space


Many organizations are gravitating towards using long term coaching journeys to augment and enhance the effectiveness of learning and development workshops. Leaders are increasingly being encouraged to don the coaching hat for their subordinates, replacing or value adding to some of the earlier relationships of guiding and mentoring.

This article explores three subtle principles of masterful coaching. This is relevant to any coach who is doing both leadership and life coaching either formally and informally. We use the word ‘client’ here to indicate the person going through the coaching journey and the word ‘coach’ for the person holding the space for the journey.

Principle 1-Inspiring Vs Giving

In the role of a mentor or guide one needs to be the subject matter expert who knows more than the client.Here one advises and the better one’s suggestion or recommendation is, the more they are perceived as ‘expert’ in this role.

In the role of a coach, the focus is on bringing forth the inspiration and knowledge that is already present from within the client, rather than directing advices.

The key skill of the coach is to hold a sacred space which has the following qualities:

  • A non-judgmental space where the client can be themselves and discuss what they choose to work upon & move ahead.
  • A heightened awareness space where the coach acts as a mirror and brings  to light the current perceptions, beliefs, emotional patterns, intentions, motivation, passion and habits of the client. In this shared space of heightened awareness, the client can see more clearly to enable making conscious and informed choices that will take them forward.
  • A space of depth created by the capacity to ask powerful questions by the coach. This helps the client to penetrate into the source of their current level of evolution and what would take them to their next level.
  • A space of inspiration where the focus is on what is working and on the resources present to overcome any challenges. The normal method is to focus on the client’s limitations and shortcomings. This often constricts the client and lead to self-criticism and doubt. A positive focus on their own strengths helps the client to open up into a natural state of curiosity, learning, knowing and growing. Working from this space then makes the change and transformation much more positive and fulfilling.


Principle 2- Being Vs Doing

In coaching there are often two schools of approaches. The most predominant is the ‘doing’ coaching which focuses on actions and competencies. Here the coach is often looked upon to motivate, put external  pressure and even ‘drive’ the clients to set goals & targets and work towards accomplishing the same. While this is result centered and does work to a good extent, it is at the surface of a masterful coaching relationship.

The quality of our ‘doing’ is clearly based on the quality of our ‘being’. Our ‘being’ is our Presence, our inner space that governs all our outer competencies and actions. Regular training workshops do not offer much time and depth for the ‘being’ layer to be touched. This is one of the advantages of the coaching journey which gives 1:1 exclusive time where the depth of the ‘being’ layer can be accessed. The beauty and advantage of this method is that when the being layer is touched, even a tiny deepening and strengthening of the ‘being’ layer causes a quantum shift in clients efficiency at action and competency level. Also when the ‘being’ layer is touched both the coach and the client stand enriched by the connection.

For a coach to masterfully coach at the ‘being’ level they themselves need to be aware of this space within them; know how to purify and develop this space; and observe its impact on their behaviors and actions. They then can naturally coach clients to become aware of their own inner presence and work directly at this level of personal power and mastery. One of the models that help coaches at this level is the InPres ™ ‘Integral Inner Presence’ model of People First Consultants.

Principle 3-Aligned Vs Scattered

There are many models and frameworks that are used in coaching. To access the fullest potential and power of coaching we can choose a model that leads to an inner alignment and joyful outer manifestation of potential. Coaching can also help in uncovering the life purpose,core values and natural gifts and talents of the client. This for example emerges by using the Foundation process of the Fulfillment Coaching Model ™of Coach for Life. Here the coach masterfully enables clients to discover their true selves, live their life purpose, honor their core values and utilize their natural gifts and talents at life & work. Over an extended period of coaching journey, for a minimum of six months, clients experience the opportunity to be more aligned and authentic, thus bringing their full power and potential.

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