My Values

Values are an important compass for navigating and living life. Whilst I honour and live by a wide set of values in my life, I would consider the following five to be my main ones.

My Coaching Philosophy

I believe you are the world’s foremost expert on yourself.  You don’t need me to tell you what to do or how to do it.  

Coaching is a deceptively simple but potentially powerful and transformative process.  A partnership underpinned by an environment that creates safety and trust; empowers clients to be open and honest with themselves; creates self-awareness through deep connections and reflections; and ultimately, generation of forward momentum. But not everyone is ready, or indeed willing, to be coached.  Clients must be prepared 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; respecting and not judging the client; remembering that this is the client’s agenda; and having absolute positive regard for the client.  Without trust, the coaching relationship will simply not work.

Honesty is essential 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 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. 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. I need to trust and respect myself, the process, and the client to empower that curiosity.

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 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 solution, it will be more creative, resourceful, relevant and impactful than anything I could have imagined.  As a coach, my primary purpose is to partner with clients to help them unlock their greatness.

I firmly believe in the three core principles that Carl Rogers outlined back in the 1950s 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 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 aspects from Gestalt where I offer questions, reflections and observations based on the here-and-now when working with 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 increasingly 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 clients to change 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 behaviours and subsequent actions from a source of their own being.

Lastly, I bring a systemic lens to all of my coaching work. We don’t exist in isolation. As we travel through life, we are joining and leaving systems. For example, whether they be organisations, societal groups, education providers, or circles of friends, joining and leaving is a natural part of being human. Sometimes, difficulties arise from how we join, leave or belong in our systems. As a coach, I attend to not only the client’s internal systems but also the external systems. This brings a broader, yet deeper, lens to the work that I do with all of my clients.

Want to know more about Stephen and his journey to becoming a professional coach?