More Time to Think by Nancy Kline is was a book that really drew my interest into coaching deeper than I would have believed possible. Nancy outlined the importance of being present, removing distractions and really really focusing attention on the person you are with at that time.
I recall being in a taxi leaving Henley Business School traveling to Heathrow Airport, listening to Nancy on Audible. There was a section about really listening to your children, giving your unfaltering, undivided attention to them. I smiled with huge guilt, I did think about lots of things while my children chatted to me, especially in the car or while ‘multi-tasking’.
I had convinced myself I could do more than one thing at a time, surely, I could cook and have a conversation with my child, until I practised what Nancy said. The conversations improved, our relationships improved, our understanding of each other improved and focus on getting the other tasks done without multiple interruptions improved too.
Being present was the key.
In coaching I am solely focused on my client, listening to the choice of words, noticing tempo and flow of my clients language, noticing body language and facial expressions. In person this attention takes energy and focus, but the power for the client to explore new areas for the first time is hugely powerful. This could not happen without being fully present.
In times of change and social distancing due to COVID 19, how can coaching work remotely? I coached a client over the telephone for 12 months. We never met and we never checked Linked In profiles, as there was no need. My client knew her coaching needs and this is what we focused on. The environment we each created for our coaching calls was always important for both of us. We both minimised distractions, be fully present on the coaching and to really really listen.
It is so powerful through good listening and being wholly present how an open connection can empower great progress and action from my client.
This client and I could walk past each other in the street and not know one another. I am okay with this, as I know how coaching impacted her life. This fills me with satisfaction.
As many of us find this Monday being quite different with schools closed and business’ still to operate, what are you going to do to be wholly present today?