I’ve named this competency, “Para-competency” like you have para-language in case of language skills!!!
I’ll start by sharing what a senior executive had to say when I asked him, “Who has been your greatest coach”?
His answer was, “My Grandmother”.
Curious, I asked him, “How?”
He said, “Her presence itself was very elating”. She remained “so much present” in our conversations that I felt complete, whole and perfect. I was flawless. I could speak my mind without an iota of doubt that she’ll misunderstand me. She felt safe to me always, without judgements.
He continued, “When I was away from home for my higher education, whenever I spoke to my folks at home, I ended the phone call with a conversation with my Grandmother. I wanted to end it on a high note.
With a sadness in his voice he added, “She’s no more but the experience of our conversations lives with me and in times of stress when I remember her I feel perfect and complete, capable and confident of dealing with any situation with inner strength.”
That’s the impact of “Presence” in a Coaching conversation.
How many us have experienced “Presence” in any of our conversations at work or home? Not many I assume.
Let’s understand What “being Present” means in Coaching context?
It means being Present:
- in the moment fully – not thinking about past or present- your own or the client’s
- with mindfulness
- as if you and the client are the only two persons alive – nothing else matters
- listening with intent, complete heart and soul
- with no distraction what so ever
- without taking even a mini second of mind away from the situation
- without any actions at all, be it writing, typing, sipping a glass of water or even shifting your posture.
By “being present” is the only correct way of engaging in a coaching conversation.
You would have seen many managers at workplace, doing everything else alongside having meaningful conversations about performance, feedback and other issues. What impact does it have on people?
- disconnected- manager would have not even noticed
- not cared for – since they are not paid attention
- low level of engagement – disconnect increases dis-engagement
- not understood- no such opportunity in the conversation
- misjudged – in the absence of understanding
- discontent – with manager, situation and the issues.
Today we are faced with a high level of ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. We are continuously distracted by mobiles ringing, email alerts, SMS alerts, marketing activities and so on. Our brains are usually in an overdrive to decide what to pick and choose/lose. Under such circumstances, it is a challenge to “Be present” in any given situation.
But if we want to give a Coaching presence experience, we need to switch off all distractions- external and internal.
We need to be Present selflessly, in the moment, mindfully.