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How the right atmosphere works for a client-centric coaching
My journey of being a Life Leadership Coach has brought me in touch with individuals from all across the world. It has also opened up doors for me to experience newer situations and watch different experiences unfold. This blog is about my observations with an aim to facilitate successful coaching sessions.
I’ve noticed a common thread in many situations. I’m sure professional coaches may have all experienced this.
What happens when a client visits a coach?
As the client steps into the room, he/she is introduced to the coach. This space (your consultation room or the online session) is where the relationship with the client begins. A client may tread softly on the ground. He/she may move across certain areas with fear as the concerns begin tumbling out. The client here has a purpose to begin your sessions. Others may feel their purpose is unclear. Now, what do you witness as a coach? A certain amount of chaos is expected.
What is this chaos?
You may see a client is in his/her space of chaos. They are struggling to take control of their lives. They experience this fear which either pushes them towards their goal in a positive way or holds them back. A client experiences chaos, helplessness, pressure, anxiety, and more while sharing their present problems with the coach.
I’ll take you towards the 1950s at this point. Let’s bring the Client-Centered Counseling by Carl Rogers into the picture. Why is this relevant?
Rogers highlights the importance of putting the spotlight on the client.
A successful coach knows how to lead the direction of the conversation by nudging the client to express themselves first. The coach creates a thriving atmosphere that is free from judgment. When a coach allows the client to lead the conversation, the coach here knows he/she is not influencing the content of the discussion. The coach also shows unconditional support by displaying a genuineness towards the client.
A client can express their feelings better when the coach shows this genuine regard and displays empathy towards the client.
A coach who can build intimacy (not to be confused with friendship or intimate love) gives space for vulnerability to be displayed for both parties. The coach builds the environment for the client to arrive at his/her solutions. Carl Rogers’ theory also mentions that a coach must not ask questions and arrive at conclusions. This is neither about providing reassurance nor mentioning or placing blame on a person.
What happens when a coach creates a supportive atmosphere?
A coach and his/her client are on the co-creating journey. A client travels from a space of chaos to one with better control. A client has a realization that he/she can achieve goals they have independently arrived at by releasing fear. This fear that is attached is now fading away. A client moves towards having better control that gives clarity to the situation.
E.g.: Fear is when a client may blame the self.
Control is when they analyze the situation and understand their alternatives and what can be done apart from blaming.
What does freedom mean for the client?
The client reaches a space with the coach which leads to the “a-ha moment”! A client by now has gone deeper within themselves to seek clarity and has dropped the need to be in control. The client has displayed vulnerability with the coach in this intimate space created by the coach. With vulnerability happening both ways, a client moves towards “being their true self” with a person they trust. There is higher trust in self and congruence in their thoughts, feelings, actions, and the environment they are in. Fear is now left far behind. Clients are aware, “Oh! I can do this! I never thought about it in this manner!”. A coach here has partnered with the client to go towards growth using a client-centric model. The client feels a state of oneness with the moment, and this intimacy happens only when clarity exists with oneself leading to a moment of nirvana or pure bliss.
- Create a safe space for discussion, be authentic
- Avoid suggesting, asking, blaming
- Allow vulnerability (Yes, you can be vulnerable too!)
- Display empathy
- Be non-judgmental
Have you experienced this in your coaching session? What are the other things you may have observed? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.