Being Present is one of my Quick Coaching Tools. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of coaching tips, tools and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your coaching practice and professionalism. You could call it coaching in a hurry!
What & Why
Being present is to dance in the moment, to be present to be aware of what is happening right now and to respond to that stimulus rather than to a master plan. This is about being open to whatever the Coachee throws at you in the Reality stage of the GROW Coaching process. It means working with the information flowing towards you without judgment and without attempting to match the Coachee’s experience to your own frame of reference, past experiences or view of the world. Not easy huh? Maybe not, by as with so many aspects of Coaching this state of mind evolves with practice and reflection. Being present is similar to Mindfulness, often described as ‘Paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgement’. Coaching and Mindfulness have a number of features in common: non-judging; patience; open mindedness; trust; acceptance; letting go.
As for ‘how’ to be present, a good place to start is my Deep Listening technique FOFI. This is simple model to keep in mind. By using FOFI as a listening agenda with your Coachee you will maintain your focus and not wander off in your mind:
- Identify the Factors behind what the Coachee is saying;
- Listen for clues to their Opinions, how they were formed and how strongly they are held;
- Understand how they Feel about the situation (to the point you could give them accurate feedback afterwards, for example, by saying “I think this situation is frustrating for you”);
- Formulate your own added value Insights such as what is not being said or how someone else might react so you can use them later in the coaching session – for example, to Challenge Perceptions.
Further Reading: (opens external links)
- ‘Four Tips for Being Fully Present with People: A Coaching Perspective‘ (Blanchard LeaderChat)
- ‘The Gift of Coaching Presence‘ (International Coach Federation)