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Learning to Explore My Self

Throughout my SCPC Level 2 journey over the past month, I have discovered the profound value of presence, the necessity for client autonomy, the indispensability of self-awareness, and the importance of maintaining a forward focus. These insights have shaped my approach, my relationships with my clients, and my own self-awareness.

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The Power of Flow and Presence

One of the most important insights I will take from the past month is the importance of flow and presence. There is so much that can be missed when you are not fully present with the client. So much coaching is about presence – about being able to fully engage and pick up on the subtleties of what is coming up for the client. It is also about letting go of my expectations of where a conversation may or may not be going. That is not in my hands.

One analogy shared by Ritu during one of our sessions changed my approach to coaching. She explained how coaching is like holding sand in my hand. It requires a delicate balance. If I clasp too tightly, I lose grains through my fingers; if I keep too loosely, the sand simply falls out. This analogy has guided me in maintaining a balanced approach with clients, allowing me to stay present while holding all that I have learned and all of the tools that are available to me in the back of my mind. I am not constrained by the need to have a rigid structure in place when I’m in a coaching conversation; I allow the frameworks and tools to guide me without dictating what happens. When I achieve this kind of presence during sessions, my coaching conversations attain a greater depth, breakthroughs occur more organically, and the overall connection feels more authentic and helpful.

Moving Away from the Need to Fix

When I first started this journey, I was deeply motivated and influenced by a need to ‘fix’ things for clients. This came from a place of empathy and good intentions, yet it really risked disempowering my clients rather than enabling them to navigate their challenges independently.

During level 2, I was reading a book called The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller, and something I read there really helped me understand the importance of moving away from the need to fix. While this quote is more related to therapists, I believe it still echoes true in the case of coaching: “It is therefore extremely important that the therapist not allow his own needs to impel him to formulate connections that the patient himself is discovering with the help of his own feelings. Otherwise, he is in danger of behaving like a friend who brings a good meal to a prisoner in his cell at the precise moment when that prisoner has the chance to escape – perhaps to spend his first night hungry and without shelter but in freedom nevertheless” (59) This quote pushes me to focus on client empowerment and autonomy rather than fixing and creating solutions for the client. I am learning to create a space for clients to find their solutions, recognizing that they are the experts in their lives. When clients expect me to give them a solution instead of proposing one, I can reframe the situation by asking, “What would you tell yourself you should do?” This question can lead the client to a moment of introspection and eventually to crafting their own solutions. Ultimately, I am not here to fix or impose but to facilitate and empower.

Deepening Self-Awareness

Self-awareness emerged as a key theme in my journey. I became aware of my own internal judge, who had a habit of constantly critiquing how I behaved during a session, to the point where I became too focused on the performance of coaching rather than actually being a coach. Through confronting my internal judge, examining my motivations, and facing my biases, I have developed a clearer understanding of my strengths and areas for improvement. This self-exploration has not only helped me become a better coach but has also been a catalyst for personal growth in so many different aspects of my life. Throughout this journey, I have learned that the very tools I employ in coaching—reflection, powerful questioning, and being non-judgemental —are just as valuable when applied to my internal world.

Coaching as a Forward-Moving Process

One crucial theme that emerged during the past month was the forward-moving nature of coaching. Coaching is not about dwelling on the past or spending extensive time dissecting problems. Instead, it is about refocusing the lens toward possibilities, opportunities, and actions. I learned that there are a lot of tools that I can use to shift the focus from the past to the future. For example, I can facilitate clients’ exploration of a future where they have overcome their current challenges. This forward-thinking approach instills a sense of hope and optimism in clients, enables them to be unstuck, and, most importantly, serves them and not my own curiosity about their past or their general pain points.

Powerful Questions and Silences

Throughout this journey, I witnessed the power of both the questions that we ask as coaches and the silences that we employ in a coaching conversation. I learned that ‘what if’ questions are beautiful questions to ask as a coach, especially since they open up new perspectives and possibilities for clients. Powerful questions allow clients to delve deeper into their thoughts about themselves and their situation, thereby catalyzing significant shifts in their viewpoints. However, one key thing that needs to be there alongside powerful questions is powerful silences. Employing silence in a coaching conversation gives clients the space to process, to think, to be empowered to make their own connections and insights, and to generally delve deeper into their awareness.

Concluding Thoughts

Every step in my coaching journey has deepened my understanding of myself, increased my awareness of my biases and motivations, and evolved my approach to working with clients. Reflecting on my journey so far, I see a profound transformation from where I started. The growth I have experienced personally and professionally is immeasurable, and the lessons I have learned are invaluable. It has been a journey filled with continuous learning, adaptation, and reflection, one that I am certain will keep evolving with each client, each session, each skill builder, each mentoring, and each revelation.

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