The Invisible Source that Guided the Founding Fathers of Coaching
How did the founding fathers of psychotherapy, and therefore coaching, know what to do with their clients? There were no books for them to read, no models, theories, tools or techniques for them to follow. How did they know how to help people?
Their actions, behaviors and words could be observed, so these were mapped, explored, developed and clarified to come up with modern day coaching tools, but the part that could not be mapped, was the source from which all these arose. Maybe they were aware of it, or maybe they weren’t. I don’t know. What I do know is that this source exists, and I’d lay odds on the fact this is what guided them.
This source is available to every coach or therapist who works with people today. (Well, every human being, truth be told).
When I work with people, my intention is to draw on that source most of the time. (Because I’m an imperfect human being, I know that 100% is too much to expect.) I trust that when I operate from that place, I am more likely to be of service, compared to when I’m operating from knowledge or learned processes. Sure, the source may suggest some of the things that I’ve learned along the way, but often, it surprises me, with what it comes up with. I see that my job is to point people in the direction of the source that lies within them, because I know that’s where the answers they are looking for, will come from.
So what is this source and how do I access it?
I don’t know the name of the source. I have a feeling it goes by many names. I sometimes refer to it as Inner Wisdom. In my book, Coaching Presence, I called it the Invisible Coach. It’s something that has guided me throughout my life, even when I wasn’t aware of its existence. It’s something that takes the whole system into account and acts for the benefit of all. It’s something that seems to come with a bucketful of kindness and compassion.
When I sit down, rest in presence, let the workings of my mind settle down, I have an inkling of this source that resides within me.
When the chips were down, my back to the wall, in life and death situations, this source told me, loud and clear, what to do in the moment. It guided me through my darkest times.
In quiet moments, when I was least expecting it, this voice urged me to take a step into the unknown, to do a complete pivot away from everything I thought I knew and move in a different direction.
Seated in front of many clients, I have heard the voice of inspiration (from the Latin ‘to breathe into’, in theology – divine guidance) offer words or actions, that have shifted or moved something profound within the person I was working with.
When I look back at my life, with the benefit of hindsight, I see how this inner source, guided me, even when I was blind to where I was heading.
This inner guidance system works in every coach, in all coaching situations, and not least, in our coaching clients. If you haven’t given it much attention so far, then you may not be aware of it, but it is there none the less.
In those moments, when something magical seems to happen in front of your eyes, the source has come up with the goods. It operates in all the ordinary moments, when nothing much seems to be happening, but something is whirring in the deep recesses of our client’s mind. Much like an iceberg, most of what is happening when we’re coaching happens beneath the surface, close to the source. Every so often, we’re blessed with a glimpse of it, when our client has a Eureka moment, or an emotional response to an intervention, but most of the time, we don’t see the deep effect the source is having on our clients.
Regardless of whether you’re aware of it or not, anyone who sits down, with kindness and compassion, in service to another person, can’t help but come from that source. This in turn invites the other person to tap into their source. The source does the heavy lifting. As a coach who is familiar with, and trusts the source within me and the client, it makes my work lighter and easier.
This is what our founding fathers did. They sat down with their clients with, what became known as ‘unconditional positive regard’ and acted from their intuition, this source deep within them.
I might call it Invisible Coach, inner wisdom, intuition, true self, our spiritual essence, who we really are, or simply, coming from the heart. What would you call it?
If you liked this blog, you might like this one. Trust the Process not the Tools or Techniques
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