As coaches, we are in a privileged position of working with clients who confidentially share their hopes and dreams with us, as well as their fears and frustrations.
We help our client to find their path from where they are now to where they want to be, and help them engage their internal and external resources to move them along their path.
While not always explicit, I’m always working on my client’s Presence, including what they’re communicating consciously or unconsciously through their attitude, language, approach, and behavior.
Explore Presence – the inner and the outer
The definition for the ICF Core Competency of Coaching Presence is, “Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.”
For us to be fully conscious, we need to explore for ourselves what that means. This can require some deeper reflection, and evolves over time. For me, being conscious includes becoming aware of what helps me to be fully conscious and what causes me to go (fully) ‘unconscious’ in my Way of Being.
Presence is a concept that is also impacted by my physical environment. If my office is full of clutter and I’m not okay with that, then it’s affecting my Presence and taking away energy from me being more ‘presently available’ for the people I care about in my life, including my clients. Exploring what Presence is and what distinguishes “Coaching” Presence is something we address in all of our group and individual mentoring engagements.
Self-Care and Presence
Many coach training schools teach the concept of Self-Care. As part of self-care, I believe in the power of clearing out (or decluttering) in order to make way for the new, or to just create more space. I’ve done it so many times in my life and good things always happen. Maybe at first I can’t see the good, but in time I always do!
Creating space for the new is a concept I’ve used for 25 years, even when I don’t know what ‘the new’ is that I’m seeking. Fifteen years ago I cleared out everything except 6 suitcases when I moved to the United States. I kept some stuff in storage in Sydney for about 6 years then dispersed home items at that time. Doing that last bit of decluttering was initially scary as I was making a declaration I wasn’t coming back to live in Australia. Or if I did, I’d be starting anew with everything physical.
The relationship between space and coaching is that having space in my life and ease in my Presence is energetically communicating something different to my coaching client than if I’m feeling stressed or cluttered. And even more so as a mentor coach for those preparing for MCC skill level who are using me as a role model for MCC skill behavior and Way of Being.
For me, being present to and conscious of the spaciousness in my physical space (or lack thereof) keeps me ‘light’ and flexible. I’m not attached to keeping a lot of ‘stuff’ just to make me feel comfortable. My standard is I have to love what is in my environment. It’s not how expensive an item is, it’s the experience of pleasure and happiness that an item brings me. And having spaciousness brings me a lot of joy.
Spaciousness is one of the Ten Characteristics of MCC Skill Level
A month ago I wrote about my Great Summer Cleanout which you can read here. This is an unintended follow up article because sometimes you never know what may happen when you commit to something!
My Summer Self-Care Journey
In May, I fully committed to cleaning out my physical environment over the Summer, and started at the end of June. I have now completed that except for some bigger projects including painting and repairs to parts of the house but essentially I’m done! I cleaned it, replaced it, donated it, or shredded it and ‘it’ was a huge amount of work! But I feel so great looking at all the things I love that are still here, and the few items that are new that bring me happiness.
A Decision Made in a Heartbeat allowed Unexpected Transformation to Occur!
I’ve been working on my physical health over the past year, improving my gut health, and employed the services of a Functional Medicine Practitioner (shout out to Cindy Dupuie!). I’ve made some huge progress in the ‘happiness’ of my gut. However, I had reached a plateau. There were food choices that caused pain. So I made a decision to cut out ALL sugar products (including fruit) and flour products for the month of August and see what happened. I figured I could do it for a month! And I have!!!
Well what an unexpected transformation!
I’ve heard Tony Robbins say in interviews that a decision to change happens ‘in a heartbeat.’ Well I have to agree with him. Once I made the decision to stop sugar, I just did! Yes, I had to manage my internal and physical cravings, but they went away after about a week.
Emotional Angst and Pain Occurs before a Congruent Decision is Made
I remember my father being a smoker early in his adult life and when I was young (and he was around 30 years old) he one day announced that he had decided he was going to quit smoking, and did! He never took up smoking again. I know others who have given up smoking ‘in a heartbeat’ as well.
I realize there is an addiction component present with smoking, yet sugar is an addiction too. I felt it for the first week and then no cravings. My husband can eat his flourless chocolate cake in front of me and I don’t crave or want any! Flour products have an addictive effect in some of us and I’m one of them.
So unexpectedly I’ve dropped 9 pounds in the past month! I’m not overweight but certainly won’t miss those 9 pounds. I feel lighter in my body. While weight loss wasn’t my goal, it’s a pleasant side effect!
What I was reminded of yet again is that when I make a decision that is completely a YES decision, then things can start to change. We put ourselves through a lot of emotional angst and pain by not making a congruent decision. My decision to quit sugar and flour products was so deeply congruent, that it stuck. I had so much physical pain because I wasn’t willing to give up that last bit of sugar. Will I ever eat those products again, yes. But I’m aware of the consequences to my body which can only tolerate so much and I will make a new congruent decision.
Transformation in Progress…
The other unexpected thing that has occurred is still in progress. I developed a deep dry cough in mid-July and it hasn’t gone away. I’ve been working with my team of health professionals including my Chiropractic Kinesiologist (shout out to Dr Glen Alis), my MD who is also Functional Medicine trained (Dr Victoria Cupic) and to my husband Michael Stratford who has used his Emotional Agility Response System (E.A.R.S) getting to emotions and ‘unfinished business’ that may be stuck in my body. I’ve had tests and there is no definitive answer as to what is causing the cough, although it’s lessened in the recent week.
One theory is that my body (lung) is clearing out something as well, and it is taking it’s own time. I’ve been transparent with many of my mentor coaching and executive coaching clients about my cough, and they have been empathetic. I didn’t want to pretend everything was okay when I was on calls with them, as that would convey in my Presence some dishonesty….of that I was conscious!
I don’t know if my story will inspire you in some way. I invite you to consider what ‘congruent decision’ you may be ready to commit to, whether in your physical environment, with your health and well being or in some other sphere of your life.
Consider what changes you have been wanting to make, but haven’t committed to making. Everyone comes to committing to change in their own timeframe, so listen to what your inner voice is saying and act on it, as consciously as you can.
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