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As coaches, we are always creating awareness in our clients. While all the ICF Core Competencies are important, creating awareness is perhaps the most central competency to coaching.
Our clients hire us because they want something to change, about themselves, their lives, their careers, their leadership, and/or their relationships. If they could change it themselves, they would. And often our clients can’t change what they are wanting to change because they can’t see what’s getting in their way.
Oftentimes, what’s in their way —the obstacle lying between where, how, and who they are and where, how, and who they want to be — is some aspect of themselves.
Our clients typically can’t see what’s getting in the way of their change. The obstacle to their growth is so ingrained, so conflated with the frame and lens through which they see others, themselves and the world, that they can’t see it. It’s in their blindspot.
After thousands of coaching sessions working with hundreds of clients, I’ve learned to spot a few common blindspots that create obstacles to a client’s growth. It was only after seeing these blindspots over and over through the lens of attachment theory and relational intelligence, that I began to see some obvious patterns emerge.
Here are three of the most common client blindspots:
We all have blindspots. Even us coaches. It’s part of how we humans have learned to survive – narrowing down what we focus on, labeling our experience to reduce energy drain, projecting our past onto the present to increase predictability. It’s normal.
Part of our role as coaches is to be doing our own work constantly – identifying our own blindspots, understanding our habituated patterns, expanding what’s above the line and shrinking what’s below the line of our conscious awareness. We do this work in coach training. We do this so that our blindspots, our patterns, our conditioning don’t get in the way of our coaching.
And yet, they do. We can’t rid ourselves of all of our blindspots. Because we’re human. All we can do is to keep looking for them.
After having worked with and trained coaches for many years, we’ve identified three common coaching blindspots – coaching choices made by coaches that reflect the patterning of the coach and negatively impact the coaching. (more…)
“The idea that you would stop a meeting and have [the team] observe themselves … is pretty shocking at first. It drives a sense of curiosity through self-observation that has the client want to experiment with what’s possible. What could we do? Then realize that they actually have their own solutions.”
What is team coaching and how does it compare with other areas of team development? Alison Whitmire of Learning in Action delves into the heart of the team coaching framework with her guest, Alexander Caillet, CEO of Corentus and faculty member of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.
Caillet is “a true pioneer in this field of team coaching. He’s worked with more than 120 teams in over 30 countries for over the last 22 years,” observing and finding ways to create a framework to continue refining and improving the process.
Coaches and consultants work with teams in a variety of modalities. Caillet differentiates four of them by the professional’s involvement and the context of the interactions.
For years, I dallied with meditation, starting and stopping many times, struggling to build a habit. At one point, I even tried my first attempt with a Meditation Teacher Training to kick-start my practice. But, for a variety of reasons, that was a bust too.
It wasn’t until I set a goal to develop a consistent meditation practice, with more determination than before, and with a little help from a device called Muse. Muse is a brain-sensing headband, designed to provide biofeedback to the meditator about their brain activity. When the brain is calm, the meditator is rewarded with the chirp of a bird, letting the meditator know, whatever they are doing (or not doing) is working and the brain is getting calmer. When the brain is active, background sounds selected in advance get louder and louder, letting the meditator know that they are headed off track. (I like the beach background and the rainforest backgrounds best).
The feedback provided by Muse made me curious about what was occurring within me during meditation and how that was affecting my brain. I started journaling after each meditative session, indulging my curiosity, hypothesizing about what aspects of my internal experience were arising to impact my brain activity. That’s when I began to discern distinct parts of me.
Over time, I noticed that five unique aspects of myself were showing up consistently on my meditation journey and they each had a different impact on my brain activity. I began to refer to them as the Five Sojourners.
It’s a question that’s remained largely outside of my conscious awareness, lurking in the shadows of my shame, for years. What’s the question?
Am I enough?
Am I enough for my clients? Do I know enough? Am I smart enough? Do I have enough experience? Am I a good enough coach? Do I know what my client needs from me? Can I be that? Deliver that? Bring that?
These questions get triggered when I feel like I’m failing my client. When they are struggling and our sessions don’t seem to help. When I don’t know the questions to ask, the words to say, the feelings to express to help them feel better, move forward, see a new perspective, find their way.
Am I enough?