As a recognised mindful professional coach I always get questions on coaching presence as What is being present all about? What all does that include? How can I develop my presence as a coach? Is it all about being physically present or is there something more to it? Can a Coach presence/mindfulness also helps to create a Client’s Happy Mind & Peaceful Mind?
Coaching is a phenomenal process that can bring tremendous changes and shifts in people’s perspectives, all in a much shorter span, but at a pace that the client decides. So, what and how does the coach works specifically towards being more useful for the client rather than being abstractly vague? That’s exactly where the role of coach’s presence makes all the difference.
A coach is not just physically present with the coachee but is completely alert, active, sensitive, agile and intuitive. Had it all been about physically present, the client may not come to a coach. They can find many people around them who can be physically present for them. Yet a client comes to a coach not just for physical present but also his/her presence which is an experience that is unique, beyond ordinary, and truly transformational
Have you ever been to see your dear friend in a hospital? You may not do anything there, but your presence as a ‘being’ and also in a state of being alert, aware, calm, quiet and agile, is what presence is all about.
What Does Presence Include?
Being mindful is all about being in the present. When the coach resolves within himself not to get lost in past or future but remain just present in the moment, that’s when he embraces true presence. ‘Being mindful of being present.’ This comes with awareness. Awareness of your ‘being’. I truly believe that presence has actually nothing to DO but to BE. Being mindful of your being – Mindfulness’. Simple.
Emotional intelligence is all about managing emotions. Emotions, which in my opinion are nothing more than energy-in-motion. What and how we manage this energy in every experience of our life helps us to gain and regain our presence, in case the same is ever lost.
For me, true compassion comes only when we are ready to let our ‘ego’ selves go and reach out to the other person irrespective of how the other person thinks, does or behaves with you in that moment. You reach out to them with the sole aim of helping and being useful for them. Reaching out to the other person with the true sense of being present with them. This may or may not even means expression in words, but an expression in your ‘being’.
How do we develop Presence: Practices
Developing a coaching presence is one of the core skills that a professional coach develops over a period of time by learning and practicing both on their strengths and weak spots. The coach however has to first take a self-inventory assessment of areas wherein they need to work on, what stops them from being present? What is it that takes away their attention and how they work on getting their attention back? Putting the attention back on present moment, is the essence of coach’s presence. Let’s explore few interesting personal practices that I practice to put me back in the present moment, whenever I’m pulled away.
The moment you feel anxious, panicky, racing breath, lost in your story, struck with your thoughts for anything anytime during the course of a coaching session or otherwise, that essentially means that we are being pulled into an unconscious state, which is always based on something that is either past based or future based, both of which are beyond your control. To get back to present, get your attention to your breath. This is like an instant tool and an instant balm that works like an excellent self-help tool. Now how you practice?
At first, just observe your breath. Observe the way you are breathing with no extra efforts. Now take few deep breaths. These deep breaths are your conscious inhaling and exhaling. Use the technique of “Inhaling-Hold-Exhaling” will give you an instant relaxation and put you back in the present moment. This benefits both you and your coachee.
Grounding Centering Breathing:
Another powerful practice that can easily be practiced by a coach is by putting the attention on the earth that holds. The spine of your body that sustains you and the face with which you interface between life and death. Let’s put it into practice, right away.
While you are sitting on the chair, put your attention on your feet. Place them firmly on the ground. Feel the presence of mother earth holding you firmly. Now take your attention slowly moving from your feet to your spine. Check your spine is straight. Shoulders relaxed. Balanced state. Now slowly take your attention to your face and focus on your breath. Observe your breath. Feel the cool air entering your nostrils with each in-breath and the warm air flowing out of your nostrils with each out-breath. Feel the whole of your body. This technique gets you to present moment right away!
Aware of your Senses:
This is a simple yet a very powerful exercise which can be done anytime, anywhere. Simply use your five senses right away. Whenever, I feel distracted I get to see any five things that are of immediate access to me.
Now, hear any four noises or voices, in and around you. Initially, may be one or two might be of immediate access to you, but with little more attention we can easily get to hear more voices. Now try feeling any three things, something that touch your skin, the clothes that you wear, the air that touches your skin, something that you hold. Feel its feel. Now try smelling any two things, anything that comes to your mind. Finally, any one thing that you can taste. It may sound much, but when put into practice, it takes no extra time, yet puts you in present moment with ease and fun.
This is one of my favourites. This might need some private space, but works really well. All you have to do is tap with your fingers, your face. Starting from the top of your head, your temples, forehead, eye socket, take it towards your complete face. Now keep tapping on your chest. Simple tap your head, face, neck and chest. Very simple yet very powerful to get you to your present moment.
Although being present is not a term or a practice followed just in coaching but as a matter of fact this is what is sensed and practice by all of us, all the time. Our presence becomes significant when we are present. True presence is not by our external appearance but also by how deeply we are anchored from within. I hope this article inspires you to identify and create your own practices of being mindful, emotionally balanced and being present- ‘the power of subconscious mind’.
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