Updated: Sep 21, 2020
EMBRACE = Accept Reality + Create Possibilities
In the beginning of any coaching session, leadership coaches can create our coaching presence by accepting our clients/ team members as they are; to meet and receive them where they are. We acknowledge and validate their truths, their feelings and their reality. We offer to see, hear and value our clients as they are. We need to be mindful not to brush these emotions aside and immediately challenge them with remarks like "What's wrong with you?" or "You can do better than that" or "I believe in you". Holding the space for our clients in these moments of vulnerability can help create connection, partnership and trust. Assuring comments like "I know this is not easy" or "You have been through a lot recently" help to acknowledge and honour the client's state of being and strengthen our comfort zone in moments of discomfort. Negative emotions like anger, frustration, jealousy and hatred can then be gradually released. It is from this space where we start to create new possibilities, by embracing the present.
When a coach stops resisting and accepts the client, we also help the client to stop resisting and accepts the situation. For what we resist, persist. Acceptance is about accepting something that has happened, is happening or is going to happen that is beyond our control. When we resist, we either ignore the situation (intentionally or unintentionally) or we oppose and point fingers at the things and people around us. “Time is too short”, “Budget is too little”, “my team members are slow”, “I’m just unlucky”, “Covid destroyed everything”… etc. When we resist, we become the victim. To a certain extent, sometimes we do enjoy being a victim as we abdicate all responsibilities to what is happening as we watch, wonder and whine. People keep talking about the past to validate themselves ignoring and not living the future that they desire right now. When I say “they”, it includes me as well.
As coaches, when we accept these conditions as status-quo, we start to explore what we can do with it together with our client, right here, right now. With this acceptance, the coach can then lift up the coaching conversation by directing towards the future: “what’s next”? When a safe and comfortable space is created between the coach and client through empathy and connection, we invite the client to start expanding their comfort zone as they feel safer to do something unsafe. We invite them to examine and explore possibilities more courageously and creatively: what is it that they truly want for themselves moving forward. We help them see value in themselves so that they can add value to the situation they are facing. They can choose to accept accountability and take up responsibility to work with what they have, at where they are; they start to embrace themselves with the situation. It is the limitations of the situation that created an opportunity for them to be creative, to expand their comfort zone, challenge their assumptions, try new things, let go of old baggages, and grow into their potential. They stopped looking at themselves as the victim, whilst they choose to become the reason.
And as leadership coaches, we become their thinking partner, along this journey as we arrive at a new destination together, a new zone of genius, an aha moment of truth and transformation, where the client would not have reached if left alone. Be the leader your team needs right now. Coach. And coach right.