The ICF core coaching competency of Creating Awareness is often misunderstood. Awareness in a coaching session is an “output” of engaging with other competencies, which you’ll know if you’ve seen The Target Approach.
When you are being fully present with your client (engaging your Coaching Presence), you are listening to the client and hearing what is being said at many levels; the who, the how, the what and the why.
Your listening and curiosity about what the client is saying at any or all of those levels informs the types of questions you ask, and what communications you speak to the client in the form of reflections, messages, and observations.
Now here’s the key. When you hear the client pause after a question or reflection/message/observation, or say something like, “That’s an interesting question” or “That’s an interesting idea/thought” – pay attention. This is potentially the beginning of a new awareness occurring for the client.
The mistake many coaches make at this point is not being fully present enough to hear that the client is potentially on the verge of a new awareness. This is why Coaching Presence is the most important competency of them all.
When a client is quiet, you be silent too. Allow the client to process whatever awareness they are getting. Do not ask another question that takes them out of the moment. You may ask a question along the lines of, “What are you getting right now?” as long as this question is present to where the client is and doesn’t step into their silent space, and you are not trying to artificially or prematurely ‘manufacture’ awareness in the client.
How do you recognize an emerging awareness in a client? What do you do within yourself in order to stay fully present to what is emerging for the client?