At the Global Coaching Institute, we firmly believe the coach is an instrument of change.
By that we mean your very being, the way you show up, the way you know yourself, the way you hold yourself, the way you engage others is central to supporting the growth of others.
For this reason, we are committed to offering depth-training for coaches. We understand that coaches are called to act as an instrument of change, both when working with their dream clients and when deeply challenged by the content or dynamic under investigation.
This makes becoming a coach a powerful path of personal and professional growth.
After all, how can a coach support the growth and development of others, unless they have a first-hand appreciation of what it means to grow themselves. We learn so much about the journey of growth – the highs and the lows – by embarking on a committed growth pathway ourselves.
In our experience, there are key indicators that a coach has worked on themselves enough to step into being an agent of change.
Coaches who are committed to self-awareness understand their own values and beliefs. Being more conscious of our own values and beliefs helps coaches ensure we don’t impose them on others. When we are unconscious of our values, we let them leak into the coaching conversation. Those unconscious values become leading questions or clear patterns of avoidance which skew the coaching session away from the client’s needs.
Entering An Equal Partnership
Coaching emphasizes the partnership between coach and client as an equal relationship. Having previously practiced as an educator, therapist and consultant, I find this to be one of the distinguishing features of coaching. It demands that the coach is fully present in relationship without the cloak of expertise. Instead we enter a relationship in which roles and approaches must be negotiated from first principles.
Coaches who are self-aware and recognize their own needs and relationship tendencies enter the coaching relationship more consciously. Aware of their vulnerabilities and tendencies, they are able to reflect on what they bring and the unconscious dynamics which can play out within helping relationships. For instance, a need to be validated may result in the coach wanting their client to respond positively to their coaching interventions. This gets in the way of partnering equally with our clients.
Following The Client
The cornerstone of a process-oriented approach to coaching is the ability to drop our own agenda and follow some-one else’s growth process. In order to follow the client and be fully present to what is happening for them, we need to put ourselves and our own agenda to the side. However, we can only do this when we feel solid, seen and whole within ourselves. Otherwise we unconsciously co-opt the coaching relationship for our own needs and validation.
In order to forget ourselves for a moment and bring our whole selves to focusing on the client and their growth, we need a well-developed internal core.
Entering the world of our client’s needs can be challenging, especially if their growth lies in a direction that we ourselves are personally uncomfortable with. Take for example the coaching client who wants to make a firmer stand when challenged. If you as a coach are primarily committed to collaboration and being a peace maker, or if you have a history of trauma and abuse in which power has been misused in your own life, you may subtly avoid this dimension of the client’s development. You might encourage them instead to adopt the same default behaviors you have cultivated in yourself.
In our coach training programs, we support coaches to become agile – to be comfortable with peace making and to be equally comfortable with taking a firm stand, despite opposition from others. Acquiring this level of agility requires coaches to work on their own growing edges. Or, in Jungian and process oriented terms, to embrace aspects of their own potential which they have marginalized and disowned.
When a coach accepts the invitation to use their own awareness and presence as an instrument of change, they begin to work in profound ways to support growth and awareness in their clients.