Coaching in the Space Between
I like to say that coaching happens in the space between the client and the coach. During our time together, we put the rest of the world on ‘pause’ and devote our joint attention to the client and their creative life.
It’s not therapy, I’m always careful to point out. It’s attentive support – in the form of chat, questions, silences, brainstorming, and practical suggestions.
Tiny coaching sessions
Besides working with my clients, I’ve gotten extra coaching practice over the past year with a small group of creativity coaches. Our pod of four includes Steve Davit, Dianne Ochiltree, and Alia Thabit. We meet weekly on zoom to offer one another brief coaching sessions, with time afterward to share feedback.
Being a coach under observation taught me to understand that something useful will arise, even within a few short minutes. Observing other coaches demonstrated additional approaches that I can adopt in my practice. And examining our shared experience after a short coaching session resulted in more good ideas, and creative solutions.
Here are some highlights from our sessions:
- Trust that things will surface – float to the top – of that shared space between. Relaxing with that knowledge is the best.
- Anxiety about performing well only gets in the way of the desired communication.
- A coach doesn’t have to be right – it’s not about right or wrong. It’s about focused, easygoing attention on the client – they have a lifetime of inner resources to draw upon, along with what the coach brings to the shared space.
- It can help to imagine the participants joined by light or other energy.
- There’s no need to focus on gaining an immediate result for the client. Everything counts.
- The client is in charge. A coach needs to remember to respect the client, rather than railroading them into something that’s ‘good for them.’
- Some of the most valuable results from a coaching session can show up later – even much later – after some internal alchemy within the client’s own being.
Time as well as space between
That space between coach and client exists in the moment, and also continues after we’ve left the shared space and gone on to other activities. The space between our scheduled interactions continues to support us both in a residual field of intention and mutual purpose.
Many of us offer a kind of coaching to others, even if we call it something else. When you mentor a colleague, enjoy a deep conversation with a friend, or work with an inquisitive child, are you aware of the space between? Drop me a line to let me know how it shows up for you.
With my best wishes for a wonderful new year,
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PPS In late December, I was delighted to receive my diploma in creativity coaching – the culmination of months of coursework and webinars plus weekly practice sessions with my wonderful pod of fellow coaches. Via Eric Maisel’s certification course offered through Noble Manhattan UK, I’m now an IAPC&M-accredited creativity coach ;).