“What makes a fire burn is space between the logs.” – Judy Sorum Brown
So many of my clients have been racing to get to our coaching call. And the first thing I’ll suggest is that we take a couple of minutes to just breathe. “When you’re ready, we’ll begin.” It would be a very different session if they were to stay in that “race mode.”
Coaching is much about forward progress and movement and finding the next step – the next action. Certainly, that’s what I was taught as a newer coach, and what I practiced.
What I know now is that coaching is also about staying in this moment. When we’re fully embracing and present in the moment, that’s when the really good stuff happens. And that’s what sets the groundwork for the future. It’s not that we choose one approach over the other; we need both and they are compatible.
Staying in the moment requires a shift for the coach. It’s about asking, “What do you need to do right here, right now?” For my clients, sometimes that’s to sit still and breathe – maybe for the first time that day.
I’ve been reflecting on this concept since a recent coaching demonstration I did in a training event. One of the new coaches who was listening to the demo was surprised at how much time I’d spent helping the client be in the moment, asking, “Right here, right now, what are you feeling? What’s the very next step?”
How did that serve the client, he wondered? It was an intuitive decision, I explained, but one that’s been happening in more and more sessions these days. I knew as a coach that this person already had the plan and knew what to do; we didn’t need to build that bridge.
At that moment the client was looking for reassurance, for confidence, and actually needed to step back, not forward. When she did, she realized she’d been doing way more than she had realized. We can all get caught up in what we still have to do and forget to reflect on all we have done.
In today’s fast-paced world there is a constant drive to keep developing and moving forward. For many of the leaders I coach, their organization could easily be in danger of extinction. Even when they turn the corner and have some success, they feel they can’t let up on the gas. This becomes the new normal.
In giving our clients this moment of mindfulness, we help them to find their own power and their own inner strength. Maybe the real value of coaching is that just for 30 or 40 minutes we stop racing, we stop doing, we just stop.