My Coaching Philosophy
I believe you are world’s most foremost expert on yourself. You don’t need me to tell you what to do, or how to do it. As a coach, I work with talented and highly skilled subject matter experts to discover and unlock their leadership potential so they can become truly inspirational thought-leaders that others will want to follow. Amongst other things, I help them to develop confidence, self-awareness and self-belief which will complement their deep technical skills.
Coaching is a deceptively simple but potentially powerful and transformative process. A partnership underpinned by an environment that creates safety and trust; empowering a client to be open and honest with themselves; the creation of self-awareness through deep connections and reflections; and ultimately the generation of forward momentum. But not everyone is ready, or indeed willing, to be coached. A client needs to be ready to see their reflection and be open to new self-awareness. For those that are, powerful outcomes will be possible.
I believe the coaching partnership is built on trust, honesty and curiosity.
Absolute trust in the coach and a safe environment is fundamental so that a client can be open, honest and vulnerable. I believe trust has many parts to it: keeping confidentiality as per our agreement; by respecting and not judging the client; remembering that this is the client’s agenda; and having an absolute positive regard for the client. Without trust, the coaching relationship will simply not work.
Honesty is important not only for my clients but also for myself. For the client: I need to honestly reflect back what I’m seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling without judgement or attachment. For myself, it’s about knowing my limitations as a coach and engaging with supervision; being able to recognise where my own issues may be distorting my ability to work with a client; and knowing when to say ‘no’ to a potential client because I have doubts about whether we could work together; or being honest with myself on whether I’m holding back challenging a client.
I believe curiosity comes from dancing in the moment with a client. Letting questions come in this moment rather than having them planned in advance. The client is leading the dance; it’s their agenda. There’s a natural curiosity and thrill from genuinely not knowing where we’ll end up. But to empower that curiosity, I need to trust myself, the process, and the client.
Ultimately, the client has the real power for transformation and growth within them. If I can help a client connect what’s going on in their head, with what’s going on in their heart and gut, then anything is possible.
"Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream. Really do come true." - Yip Harbug
As a result of these beliefs, the main driver of my coaching philosophy is that the client is the world’s most foremost expert on themselves. They don’t need me to tell them what to do or how to solve their problems. When they come up with their own solution, it will be more creative, resourceful, relevant and impactful than anything I could have imagined. As a coach, my main purpose is to partner with the client to help them unlock their own greatness.
I firmly believe in the three core principals that Carl Rogers outlined back in the 1950’s and his humanistic approach; these drive how I turn up to partner with a client in each session: I am congruent as a coach, I am myself, there, ready and willing to partner with my client whom I truly hold in unconditional positive regard and for whom I feel strong empathy and connectedness. The space that I hold is non-judgemental and safe, underpinned by confidentially (with limitations) and my commitment to the ICF code of ethics. My philosophy also includes, having gained the client’s permission, aspects from Gestalt where I offer questions, reflections and observations based on the here-and-now when working the client. Connected with this, I believe in the spontaneity of being to dance in the moment with the client; aside from the initial contracting session, I don’t have pre-prepared questions or frameworks in mind; rather, I’m being in the moment with the client, meeting them where they’re at, and being driven by them.
I also find that my philosophy is becoming increasing influenced by aspects of ontological study. There is no deeper or lasting change if initiated at how a person is ‘being’ in the world; coaching to the who of the client. Whilst coaching focused on changing behaviours can be impactful, partnering with a client to make changes to how they’re being in the world will be even more profound. In this regard, I believe that working across the three domains of language, emotion and the body can significantly lead us to ‘being’ in a way that will ultimately create the desired behavioural changes; helping the client to become an observer of how they are driving their own behaviours and subsequent actions from a source of their own being. Whilst I’m increasingly influenced and interested in this area, I also recognise that my knowledge and understanding still needs to be further developed; I need to gain greater experience and insight so that I may truly embrace this part of my philosophy at the level of my own being. But this is also a major part of my own journey and brings in the final part of my coaching philosophy: that as a coach, there is always more for me to learn; that I can always strive to be better than I am today; that I am, and always will be, growing as a coach.