What is inner presence coaching and how can we facilitate effortless transformations in a client’s life?
Jerry Donoghue, the founder of Inner Presence Coaching Institute, had this question in mind when he developed his inner presence coaching materials: How can inner presence permeate our daily lives?
Studying various eastern enlightenment traditions has always been a lifelong passion of Donoghue and he has been coaching people in compassion, empathy, presence, and open awareness.
So, he looked to psychology and personal growth modalities to see if they could assist in the question.
Having a practical streak in him, he wanted to make sure what he was studying had value in everyday life.
So, he incorporated two important values in his inner presence coaching: depth in contributing to others and efficiency. The deeper we support someone to connect to the unconscious aspects of themselves, the larger the impact on their life.
And what is deemed efficient is defined by how deep we support others in a safe environment.
His inner presence coaching materials had been designed from the ground up with these two important values.
Nine Principles of Effortless Transformation
With these values, he developed a concept known as the Nine Principles of Effortless Transformation. Below are the principles:
1. Be aware of the ways you can inadvertently add to clients’ conditioning and mindsets.
2. Work with clients to have insights that come from an emotional experiential level, instead of insights that come from the intellectual level.
3. Placing a priority on meaningful experiential work with clients will yield transformative insights that are not possible with talk or story about engagements.
4. Paying attention to the context will bring clarity and focus to the session and allow emotionally rich material to emerge.
5. Holding non-pathological regard by dropping all the labels will free clients from being trapped in a reality that something is wrong with them or something is missing.
6. Allow your support in a session to be gentle, non-invasive, and client-directed.
7. Support clients with non-prescriptive contributions. Prevent yourself from imposing your values on them or holding on to your ideas about what they should be or not be doing.
8. Working in the present with a client can reduce their identification with parts of them that are emerging with the past or future stories.
9. Verifying that effortless transformations have happened or are fully integrated will prevent false positives or contrived transformations that are not lasting.
To get to the root of the matter, Donoghue divides his client’s experience into parts and names them for the sake of clarity and depth. For example: A part of me feels this way, a part of me thinks this, or a part of me was wanting this or that.
This is so the client could see clearly how different parts of themselves respond to other parts.
This naming technique happens for the duration of an inquiry or a session and is not a label for the client to form an identity around.
What Inner Presence Coaching Is All About
Very often, people speak in general terms, or high-level abstractions about their challenges, or speak in judgments about themselves or others.
As an inner presence coach, you hone down their broad strokes into specific examples. For example:
Client: No matter how much I meditate or talk to friends about it, there is this challenge that comes up about wanting to be heard.
Coach: Do you have a couple of recent examples of people not hearing you that evoked emotions?
With inner presence coaching, we want the client to be present to what is currently emerging in his or her experience and not be totally identified with the part that reacts to a problem.
The principle of paying attention to the context will bring clarity and focus to the session and allow emotionally rich material to emerge.
As an inner presence coach, you neutrally reflect back these feelings and thoughts from a disposition of acceptance without augmenting or diminishing what your client is feeling and thinking nor agreeing or disagreeing with them.
The aim is to allow ample space for the client to connect further and you reflect back on whatever was spoken without adding any interpretations.
One of the principles of inner presence coaching is we don’t interpret the content of the client’s experience for them. We allow them to interpret their experience and deepen their connection to whatever is emerging while holding a high degree of presence for the session itself.
The client’s system knows what is best for themselves and we defer to the innate intelligence and wisdom of the client.
As an inner presence coach, you prompt the client to hear a part thoroughly, the feelings, the needs and the thoughts of that part. Then the client reflects all this back until that part gets a sense of being heard.
When this happens, it becomes a new awareness to the client and the first step to effortless transformation. A limbic system change happens when a belief or construct is opened up via emotional connection.
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