A few years ago, I started professional coaching education training because I wanted to become a better coach and serve my clients in the best way possible. It was just the first step of a journey that will probably never end and that revealed to be quite transformative for me as a human being! It required a lot of inner work I had to do on myself before I could help others. It is about becoming a different human, more in contact with who you are, with your body, your emotions and what you value in life. I can tell for sure that this has been the best gift of being on this path! I already loved my job, but when I discovered it was enlightening for myself in the first place, I could not really wish for more!
I know this might resonate quite a lot for other coaches and might catch the attention of people who are not on this journey yet. I was very curious myself when I heard it the first time. How is this even possible?
Being a Coach is about developing a variety of skills that allow us to be fully present in the here and now with our clients and help them feel heard and get new insights about their own challenges. We know we have to listen actively, be empathetic and responsive, curious about what is happening to the person, fully present, and non-judgemental. But how can we develop these skills if we have not experienced true change for ourselves in the first place? We simply can’t and I will share an example that explains why.
Being in dialogue
When we listen, we are mostly focused on ourselves and our mind chatter stops us from being fully present and in tune with what the other person is saying or not saying. Their words recall our memories, trigger thoughts and evoke feelings we might have experienced in a similar situation. We listen to ourselves.
In his book “Dialogue”, William Isaac explains that in order to have an effective dialogue we need to be able to develop an “inner silence”, to quiet our mind and give ourselves permission to be curious about what the other person is experiencing. This is particularly difficult if we have knowledge on the topic, had a similar experience or have a strong opinion on the matter. We are tempted to jump in, offer advice or solutions…
The individual transformation in regards to being in dialogue is the ability to switch off your ego in a conversation and just be there for them with the intention to help them gain a new perspective.
It is being curious about:
- their meaning of a word: “what does success mean to you?”
- the connection of what they are saying to what they are feeling: “how would you feel it if you gain that confidence?”
- the impact of what they are saying on themselves: “that is a strong statement… what is emerging for you as you hear your words?”
- the energy that is coming across as you listen to them: “you have such a different tone of voice now, what is happening to you?”.
This is very powerful in a coaching conversation but it also changes who you are in any dialogue at home, at work, with your friends, with people you have just met. Actively listening to another person builds connection and trust.
In the next few posts of this series we will explore other aspects of the personal transformation of this journey. Click here to read the second one!