Coaching diversity through personal diversity
If mastery in coaching is what you yearn for, live into those behaviors with every breath. Be masterful as a coach right now: the future is irrelevant. If you are unwilling to be what you envision for yourself, right now, you are sending a message to your whole being that it’s not really what you want.
Mindset, attitude, mood, emotion and intuition are descriptive terms for the way you experience being human. These terms are common among all human beings, yet your experience in any moment is unique to you. This is true for you and your clients.
In order to coach diversity, you must continuously explore your internal, personal diversity. In order to be incisive, you must discover where you are exclusive and unable to fully embrace your wholeness. Without your wholeness, you are blind to see it in another. Separation from your authentic self feels less alive and feelings of doubt thrive while your inspiration for what you want fades from your attention.
My intention in this column is to disturb your habits of thinking about coaching diversity. Related to this is a desire to stimulate your curiosity about your motivation for being a coach practitioner and to reveal insights about who you are and what your authentic presence might be in coaching so you model safety for clients to be authentically present with you.
“Coaching diversity means you are perceiving and engaging the wholeness of each human being.”
Unconditional acceptance of another, your client, is only possible to the degree that you live in unconditional acceptance of yourself. This does not mean being perfect or without opportunities to be more consistent and congruent in your life. It does mean acceptance of the full range of your being and each day, exercising personal responsibility for choosing how you engage other people with mutual respect.
What I mean by intention is a declaration that describes the inspired experience you desire. It’s a felt experience: somatic, emotional and visceral. An experience that is inspiring, that you desire, and that you feel as if it is happening right now.
Goal setting is more important and always helps you to articulate a destination, but intention is much more empowering because it brings your attention into focus on what is the way of being what you want to experience along the path toward fulfilling the goal. Live into that intention and you achieve the goal.
Masterful coaching invites clients to discover intention and then focus attention by tapping into intrinsic wholeness. Coaching diversity means you are perceiving and engaging the wholeness of each human being and restoring their access to resourcefulness, capability and innate creativity in their lives.
What do you yearn for in your coaching practice? What creates the feeling of rapture in being a coach? Look into your mind’s eye for a moment. What are the relationships in your life that have meaning and what is it about those relationships that create that meaning? Consider this question in the context of your clients.
What is your wonder about life that you find quite enlivening and fuels the way you extend an invitation for clients to engage with you? Usually coaches describe an energy that is activating and you may notice that curiosity flows with ease.
“Unconditional acceptance of another, your client, is only possible to the degree that you live in unconditional acceptance of yourself.”
You know that when you ask questions about yearning with clients you are inviting that client to see a bigger vision beyond themselves. From the simplest of these questions (e.g. what is it that you want) to the more complex (what is the influence you are seeking to have on this community, on this organization, on this society, on your government or in your spiritual community), they open the door to intrinsic motivation to manifest an envisioned future.
This is often in sharp contrast to the information about a situation or circumstance. In fact, when you learn to recognize the dynamic of emotions, beliefs and values occurring in the partnership between you and the client – when is it at its most poignant, most spontaneous, most empowering, and yes, most effortless – that experience defines coaching that celebrates each other being authentic.
The only way to truly reveal insight is to allow yourself to soften your grip on the things you or your client find comfortable and familiar. Truthfully, your greatest contributions to clients is to be able to see them beyond what is presented as their current state of expertise and knowledge, and instead to see the wholeness, resourcefulness and capability not yet tapped. In other words, to use unconditional curiosity that reveals the client’s internal diversity and welcomes those perspectives into the exchange.
Coaching practices and the framework of the competencies provide the vehicle for your clients to step into a different quality of dialogue: one that is 100 percent on their behalf. That doesn’t exist in most people’s lives: having someone there listening and engaging and being curious without an agenda.
Clients also begin to recognize that there isn’t anyplace else where they give themselves permission to be 100 percent exposed, in service to something they’re yearning for. As professional coaches you are trained to bring an unconditional level of trust and intimacy. The emotional affect when the client is sitting with you as their coach is a deep knowing that no matter what, you’ll receive all of them because you are there, 100 percent on their behalf.
You see the client as so much more than a given presenting situation, no matter what they say, no matter how they deliver the message – the intensity, the pace, the tone, the emotionality – no matter what it is they express to you. You are welcoming to it and you partner with them to discover what’s in the implicit unsaid region of their lives, the place that is full of juice and vibrancy and the fuel to live into their desired destination.
Published in choice, the magazine of professional coach. Used with permission.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Janet M. HARVEY, MCC, CMC
ACS, coach, author, educator and speaker, invites people to be the cause of the life that most matters. An early adopter for creating a coach-centered workplace, Janet has worked with global organizations and teams of leaders within to establish a generative, resilient and high-performance culture through a coaching approach to leading and managing success. Janet brings her executive and entrepreneurial experience as CEO for inviteCHANGE, leaders in sustainable excellence through a signature generative coaching and learning process for people, processes and systems, Generative Wholeness.™