11 August 2017

What is the heart of coaching?


Last month Jane gave a keynote speech to the Arts Marketing Association’s annual conference. As part of this she described how it felt, as a musician who had become deaf, to play the piano again after a 30 year gap. She wanted to convey her feeling that she had rediscovered an important part of herself. Here is what she said:

 ‘Playing music again after 30 years was like re-opening an abandoned room in my soul.’

Several people remembered that sentence after the talk and told Jane how powerful it had felt to them.

Why? To Result CIC, discovering and re-discovering what is important for you – what really motivates you – is at the heart of the coaching work we do.

People often ask us how coaching works and what they can expect from it. The personal and highly individual nature of the work makes answering that difficult. But in August, a month for time out, we decided it was a good time for reflection. So we took a look at some of the comments from people with whom we have worked and came up with the following thoughts on what coaching offers.

 1.   Space

I needed to take a step back and have a chance to think’.

This is a good description of what coaching offers. Life for most people seems to be getting busier and faster-paced. When the balance between feeling ok and feeling too pressured tips the wrong way, small problems can feel disproportionately big and can lead, ironically, to making even worse use of our time.

Most of our clients are positively surprised by what a difference it can make to have an hour to themselves with someone really listening to them and supporting them. One of the most common things clients say is ‘I didn’t realise that was what I was thinking!  It is almost as if the ‘busy-ness’ of our lives drowns out our own inner voice and thoughts. Coaching provides a place where you can ‘hear’ that voice again.

 2.   Challenge

‘It was useful in coaching to have my thinking challenged, especially negative thinking.’

The word ‘challenge’ has become something of a euphemism in some circles for ‘trouble’ or ‘difficulties’. But coaches use the verb ‘challenge’ constructively. Our job is, at the key moments in a coaching conversation, to ask the questions which we feel the client needs to ask themselves to increase their understanding of themselves. This will often be when we hear a client being persistently self-critical, undermining themselves or saying ‘It’s awful but I cannot do anything about it’. The right question can stop someone in their tracks and help them see broader possibilities. The changes this can bring are immeasurable.

 3.   Perspective

‘I was feeling overwhelmed. The [course and coaching] helped me to put things in perspective.’

How often do you feel someone really listens to you – actively and in a focused way? It may be less often than you realise, or would want. There are so many distractions these days including of the digital variety that we may be losing our ability to concentrate and be patient. At the same time there is an increasing interest in mindfulness and being in the moment. In a coaching session you will be listened to fully and have your own thoughts, and the way you express them, reflected back to you. This can throw issues into relief and clarify them. The perspective you gain as a result can bring sudden ‘light bulb’ moments of realisation. And when you see your situation in this new light, the best direction for you can quickly seem more obvious.

 4.   More choice

 ‘I have become more assertive and more aware of the difference between what I can control and what I cannot.’

Gaining perspective on your situation – your unique take on what is happening – can open up issues. The next step, with your coach’s help, is seeing the full range of choices you have. This often surprises people. When we are pressured and stressed we tend to look inwards; coaching can help ‘unlock’ your thoughts and ‘re-open rooms in your soul’, revealing more

 James Prochaska:

‘The only real change is when you become who you truly are’.

Flower completely open revealing its beautiful inner

NDA 2015 Power 100 iLM

We are Result CIC, a community interest company. We work with people who feel marginalised or excluded to become more confident about their abilities and to fulfill their potential. We also work with Directors, Managers and CEOs who need support to bring about positive change in terms of diversity and inclusion in their organisations. We each have personal experience of the issues affecting the people we work to support, including disability, immigration, mental health and sexuality. We have also worked in senior positions in industry and government.

Our vision is a society where every individual can achieve their potential, feel fulfilled and make a valuable contribution. 

Learn more about our work





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