Developing Your Coaching Presence & Why It Matters

If you are a life coach, you probably have heard the term coaching presence many times before. It is International Coach Federation’s (ICF) Core Competency #4 and some define it as “being fully present with your client” while others see it as “a way of being with clients that facilitates growth and change through connection”.

Developing Your Coaching Presence & Why It Matters

How does the ICF describe the competency of coaching presence? According to the ICF, coaching presence is “the ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, and confident”.

In short, to establish a successful coaching presence, a professional coach must exhibit the following traits:

· Present and flexible
· Mindful, empathetic, warm, calm, zestful, fun and courageous
· Accesses and trusts their intuition
· Is open to not knowing and taking risks
· Sees many ways to work with the client
· Has a great sense of humor and uses humor effectively to create lightness and energy
· Confidently shifts perspectives and experiments with new possibilities
· Demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions

Coaching presence is one of the most important and powerful skills a coach could ever have – it could make or break a client-coach relationship. In a digital era where human connection has taken a backseat, people are craving more than ever for real-life connections. Therefore it is worthwhile for coaches to master the skill of coaching presence to provide that human touch to clients in a genuine, non-judgmental and safe way.

How Can You Develop Coaching Presence?

As a coach, you are most likely taught skills such as mindful listening, open inquiry, and perceptive reflections. These are relational doing skills that coaches can learn and master as practices.

Coaching presence is developed through practice of using relational qualities called being skills.

Sadhan Bhattacharya, a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance elucidates on coaching presence in an article:

“With coaching presence, a coach transcends from “doing” coaching to “being” coaching. It allows the client to connect with a deeper self (being) from the superficial one (doing).”

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What Exactly are Being Skills?

Being skills are simply skills coaches use to build growth-promoting relationships and also represent a coach’s way of being when they are at their most authentic. These skills include:

· Affirmation
· Authenticity
· Calm
· Courage
· Empathy
· Mindfulness
· Playfulness
· Wisdom
· Zest

Why Does the Disposition of the Coach Matter Greatly When It Comes to Client Outcomes?

Clients grow not only because of what coaches do for them, but also (and perhaps even more so) because of who coaches are in relationship to them.

By forging a relationship with clients, coaches can discover character strengths, or rather the aptitudes or capacities that their clients most value and use most ably. Likewise, as a coach, it is also important to discover and use your own strengths.

The more coaches play to and come from their own and their clients’ strengths, the more powerful and effective their coaching will be.

Masterful coaching requires mindfulness or simply the nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment.

As a coach, it is important to not only pay full attention to your clients, but also to suspend judgment and be empathetic and compassionate.

By being empathetic, you are being respectful and understanding of another person’s experience including their feelings, needs and desires. Empathy seeks solely to understand and value, with respect and compassion, another person’s experience. It is also described as a way to understand and connect with someone’s experience in a positive and life-enriching way.

Connecting with and understanding what’s alive in and coming up for another human being in the present moment is the core relational dynamic that leads to movement and growth in coaching.

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Jeannie Cotter
Editor/Writer
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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