Imagine your first conversation with a new coachee… The ‘problem’ is said to be low Emotional Intelligence. According to your coachee, he or she’s been described as having a distinct lack of empathy for others and a tendency to be overly blunt in interactions with work colleagues. The coachee now doubts him or herself, is wary of interpersonal interaction for fear of being perceived as overbearing and rude, and wants help with this chronic ‘rudeness’ in order to improve his or her chances of moving into management.
Looks like an open and shut case? Let’s not be too hasty. Before we as coaches unthinkingly accept the story at face value, decide this ‘rudeness’ is ‘wrong’, and allow ourselves to fall into thinking of ways to assist the coachee with anger management or improve sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others, do we need to stand back and take a deep breath? Might there be a missing ingredient in the scenario described above?
What if ‘being rude’ in this case was not actually ‘being rude’ at all? What if, rather than being chronically rude, our coachee has been grappling with the difficulties of adjusting to the communication norms of a different culture?
This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote not long ago concerning how certain aspects of a mindfulness practice can become useful tools for coaches in dealing with distractions or emotional reactions that may arise during or after coaching sessions. These ‘tools’ have been useful to me, and I hope they’ll be useful to you too!
The guest post was first published in Coaching World in January 2018, published by the International Coach Federation (ICF). You can see the original publication here, and I’d like to point out that copyright is held by the ICF (meaning it should not be reproduced or reblogged without gaining permission from the ICF first).
Mindfulness as a Coaching Tool?
What’s a coaching tool to you? Something you pull out of your “toolbox” and “apply” to a client? Like MBTI? The GROW Model? Or, a perspective on coaching that provides a whole variety of questions and approaches?
Let’s face it, sometimes coaches don’t feel like coaching. Have you ever greeted the prospect of giving a coaching session without any enthusiasm at all, wishing it would just go away?
I’m not talking about burnout. Hopefully we’re all self-aware and self-compassionate enough to notice changes in our inner state which might indicate such problems ahead, taking action to protect ourselves from pushing ourselves too far. No, here I’m talking about those occasions when we might feel distracted – by the thousands of other things we have to do today, by not being in the mood, not quite in the right place mentally or emotionally, or having the feeling that the session might just be more taxing than we can take at that moment.
Coaches aren’t superhuman. We’ve all felt tired, disgruntled, preoccupied with our own concerns. Here I’m going to take a look at how we might think about and approach this state of affairs, and what we can do if and when we find ourselves facing it.