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What Kind Of Coach Do YOU Want To Be?

Recently I was working with some professionals helping them build their skills to become certified coaches. A theme emerged about leadership coaching that I wanted to share with you. I’m going to share a couple of quotations about the insights they gained during our conversation, and then I’ll discuss them. Perhaps you have had similar experiences like this too.
 
“I realized we bring a lot of our stuff, our own baggage, to our coaching engagement. It makes me think about how we need to be more aware of it and uncouple ourselves from our own baggage before going into a coaching session with a client. I need to care for myself by clearing out my old baggage in order to be more effective as a coach.”
 
“I wanted to add a more formal piece of my career around coaching, but that was just the balcony view. I found that I’m most comfortable working in the transformative type of coaching. This requires me to open myself up and allow myself to be transformed as well.”
 
At Leadership Strategies International we have encapsulated what we do over the years into a single phrase: “Honor the past, Challenge the present, Create the future.” When we sit with these words, they expand to encompass an answer to some of the challenges and insights posed in the above quotations.
 
In order to guide others through their transformation toward becoming a professional coach-- to help them listen deeply to their teams, foster authentic communication, and achieve remarkable outcomes -- we have to not just model those behaviors but embody them. To help others find pinch points and confront self-imposed barriers we have to challenge and overcome our own perceived limitations.
 
As a coach who helps others learn to coach, it is humbling to watch this process unfold.  I’m reminded to continue to challenge and overcome my own barriers. Vision is important and necessary, and change comes through deliberate action. One of the first deliberate actions to take is identifying some of our own resistance to transformation.

When we identify that resistance we have a choice to make: do I allow myself to continue with this resistance and the resultant limiting behaviors? Or do I honor those behaviors that protected, and hindered, me in the past, then challenge and let go of those old limiting beliefs and actions, and seek new beliefs and vision that enables me to step into a transformed future?

Often I work with coaches who find themselves unsettled when working with a client: maybe they feel anger, incompetence, or over-identification with the client's problems. Those are GOOD things to recognize because, with the right support , they lead to the coach's growth which in turn better equips the coach to help their clients also grow and transform.

I’m reminded of my some of my treasured mentors such as Charlie Seashore who advocated that the most powerful instrument we have in helping our clients’ navigate change is ourselves. Our ability to use ourselves as an instrument--to sense and probe and read our client--relies in large part on the cleanliness of our instrument.  Our instrument needs to be clean because when we get stuck with our own "stuff" and think it is our client’s “stuff” we do them a disservice, and even harm when our instrument is dulled. How do you sharpen yourself? Further professional development? Journaling? A spiritual advisor? A mentor coach?

Whatever tools YOU use to sharpen yourself, the gain is the expanded leader you become when you continue to transform and fine-tune your instrument. A coach who continues to honor their past, challenge their present, and create their future becomes  more present with clients, able to pursue lines of inquiry free from their own messy agenda, and focus wholly on the client and coach/client relationship. What kind of coach do you want to continue to become?

SYNCC© Up with me to take the next step toward sharpening yourself as an instrument.

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