Ask any master coach what they bring to coaching that's most important and they'll probably say, Coaching Presence.
But what is it and why is it so important?
Maintaining Coaching Presence is an ICF Core Competency #4. They define it in a way that's seems easy enough: "Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident", yet few coaches do this consistently and many, not at all.
At the masterful level, the ICF expects the coach to fully connect with the whole of the client, empowering the client to teach the coach. The coach is guided by their natural curiosity, is free of any need to perform or provide value, and comes from a place of not knowing.
What? The client teaches the coach while the coach doesn't need to know anything or provide any value? Isn't that backward? Who would pay for that?
Ah, the paradox of great coaching...
Coaching presence is a challenge because our egos think they know what to do, what to say, and what to advise; but egos make terrible coaches.
The neuropsychologist, Dan Siegel, describes presence, not necessarily coaching presence, but presence itself, as fully in the now, undistracted by the past or future, or by one's own personal needs, calm, positive, an open awareness, hasn't decided how things should be, is supportive of others, curious about the next moment, and in the flow.
This is a state of consciousness that few experience in their day to day. Most are unable to conjure it on demand.
Why does it matter? The state of consciousness that is presence, is contagious. When we come from this state, others often slip into it, too. And this is the state that invites insight, expanded awareness, creativity, confidence, and agency; all qualities that help clients grow, find resourceful solutions and act upon them. And that is the goal of coaching.
This remarkable state of mind virtually eliminates the need to advise, solve, or teach our clients anything. You probably won't believe that until you've experienced it, though.
How do you get there?
A daily practice of meditation or mindfulness can prepare your brain for presence, so can experiencing the flow of nature without thinking or evaluating, because practices such as these have been shown to integrate the brain via neuroplasticity. Some forms of yoga and tai chi can help you develop it, too. But even just taking a deep breath can get you started.
In positive psychology coaching, mindful positivity and flow include coaching mindset but acknowledge that it is dynamic and co-created with the client.
In addition, getting all your needs met, via excellent self care, can help you maintain presence more often. And if you combine these with effective coach training, observing master coaching demonstrations in class, hours of practicing your own coaching, plus written feedback on it, you'll get pretty good at presence, over time. Our Neuroscience Tools and Practices Module is designed to help.
You will spontaneously ask the right questions at just the right times.
Learn more about the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program: