“Personal mastery is the ongoing commitment to unfolding and authentically expressing who we are.” ~Kevin Cashman
“Awareness is like light. When it shines it brings clarity and distinctness to whatever is being observed” Adler International Learning, drug Inc., Foundations of Professional Coaching, page 19
As clients gain greater awareness of themselves and their world, expand their choices for effective action, and develop their self trust so that they move forward on their intention, they start to take more effective actions that lead them towards their goals p 12
In this September series of blog posts, we are going to look at Coaching around the Focus for Awareness: Who, What, Where, What Works
- Awareness of WHO you are (strengths, values, purpose)
- Awareness of WHAT you want (setting meaningful goals)
- Awareness of WHERE you are (current reality relative to goal)
- Awareness of WHAT WORKS and what doesn’t work (supports and interference)
Today’s post focuses specifically on Coaching Awareness of WHO you are: Strengths, Values, Purpose
Coaching Awareness of WHO you are: Strengths, Values, Purpose
Awareness often automatically leads to or inspires changes. For instance, as clients become more aware of their personal values, they may start initiating changes and making shifts simply because of what they have noticed. This is powerful stuff, as these seemingly small changes can have a profound impact on the client’s life, and as a catalyst for change.
Strengths and Gifts
One powerful impact a coach can have with a client is to constantly keep an eye open for how and where the clients’ gifts and strengths show up in their life and work, and hold the mirror for them so that they can see it too. Strengths and gifts are often a piece that clients are very unclear on, or may take for granted. A clear and genuine appreciation of personal strengths and gifts can be very empowering for clients. Acknowledging and championing the client are two powerful tools when it comes to raising awareness about strengths and gifts. They are even more powerful when the coach holds the intention that, through a consistent strengths focus in coaching, the client will, over time, become more resourceful in noticing, acknowledging and leveraging their own strengths.
“Helping clients discover and clarify their values is a way to create a map that will guide them through the decision paths of their lives. When you clarify values with the client you learn more about what makes the client tick: what’s important and what’s not. Clients discover what is truly essential to them in their lives. It helps them take a stand and make choices based on what is fulfilling to them.” ~ Co-Active Coaching, Laura Whitworth, et al.
Values clarification is about helping clients discover who they really are. With greater clarity on values, clients can plan and live their lives in a way that is deeply fulfilling to them. When a client has a deeply emotional reaction to something- positive or negative- it is generally indicative of a value being affirmed or challenged. Values are abstract concepts, not concrete things. Money, for instance, is not a value. If someone says they value money, it is your job as coach to dig deeper and find the more profound value that money represents for the client: security, independence, success, etc.
Values clarification is not a onetime event. Over time, as you work with the client, listen for possible values that show up in their joys and frustrations, choices and actions. Hold the mirror up for them so they can decide if what you have glimpsed is really a value. Ask the client, “Of all the options available to you, which is the one best aligned with your values?” We can avoid much regret and procrastination- and free up positive energy- by basing our decisions on our core values.
A note on coaching values: Values are deeply important and deeply personal. The coach is primarily a facilitator in the client’s awareness. Hence, all activities in coaching are motivated by how they will contribute to the client’s awareness, not the coach’s awareness of the client. It is extremely important that the coach not get caught up in the client’s story, or project their awareness or values onto the client. The coach must remain an observer and mirror, and hold the client as whole, creative and capable of change.
“Given the opportunity, people gravitate to what gives them meaning, to what engages them to the fullest commitments, talent, energy, and skills.” ~ Daniel Goleman
Personal purpose is our compelling reason to be. It gives meaning to our lives and work. The clearer we are on purpose, the more intentionally we can live our lives. Purpose is not a destination, but a process, and the way in which our purpose finds expression in our life may change over time. Coaching around purpose can be difficult as it does not readily lend itself to a set of defined tools, or quickly yield a clearly defined answer. As such, it is helpful to see your role as a companion for the client on their ongoing discovery journey of how they can best use their essence to create value in the world.
When working around determining personal purpose, some helpful questions to have the client reflect on are:
- What emotional connection do I feel with the purpose I’ve described?
- What is my level of real desire to fulfill it and act on it?
- What pleasure and/or fulfillment do I experience when I act on it?
- What purpose does my constellation of strengths and interests naturally draw me towards?
Reflective Questions: What coaching situation can you think of in which values played an important role? Think of an instance where a client was “stuck” – how might asking them to observe the situation in the context of their values have been beneficial?
What is the impact when you honor a value in a specific task or situation? What is the impact when you disregard or dishonor a value? How might you help clients constructively approach a situation that challenges or does not align with their values?
Stay tuned for next week’s in depth look at Awareness of WHAT you want (setting meaningful goals) from our Coaching around the Focus for Awareness: Who, What, Where, What Works series.
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