Why are the best Coaches self-aware and notice when their issues are triggered?

The reason Coaches need to be self-aware will be obvious to many of you but have you really thought about it?

As a Coach, it is worth remembering that you are human and it is okay to still have issues to deal with. I often find that students on my training courses with the least experience are often to ones who cannot come up with an issue for practice exercises on the training.

Sometimes this is due to a lack of self-awareness but at other times inexperienced Coaches sometimes seem to think having issues is a sign of weakness. They unrealistically expect themselves to be “sorted” or enlightened. As the Coach becomes more self-aware and more experienced in their craft this changes. When an experienced Coach signs up for CPD training they will joyfully share their list of issues they would like to be coached about.

There is however, a far deeper reason for Coaches to develop self-awareness and this has more to do with your effectiveness as a Coach. By remaining self-aware you can more easily notice when your “stuff” is being triggered by a client or the client’s story.

Why is this important?

It is the triggering of our own patterns, issues and behavioural responses that blur the Coaching process. It makes it harder to recognise when the client is projecting a Transference pattern and even harder to recognise your own Counter-transference.

There is a risk that you may begin being drawn into the client’s story, perhaps rescuing them or on the other extreme becoming irritated or even angry with them. This contaminates the Coaching relationship and damages trust.

One of the most effective ways to develop self-awareness is through the Supervision process. Sometimes discussing a case with your Supervisor will bring a Counter-transference issue into your awareness that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Your Supervisor will help you explore how to move forward with your client and also help you identify what steps you need to make in your own development.

Even more powerful can be the experience of Group Supervision. In groups the Coaches I supervise often experience ah ha moments observing case studies of colleagues and thus deepen the learning further.

If as a Coach you have not been monitoring your self-awareness maybe it is time to start. Others of you may have developed great strategies to alert you to possible issues to take note of. Please do share your strategies or ask questions in the comments.

For more information about Supervision and Supervision Groups click the link.

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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