A good coach should listen from a space of total objectivity, without any personal agenda. This is a fundamental skill that is impossible to achieve simply through your basic training as a coach.
Yes, we can grasp intellectually what is all about this type of listening and how to emulate it, but to be true in that space of total objectivity, without any personal agenda, the mere knowledge is not enough.
To operate from that space, the coach has to integrate this knowledge in their way of being by engaging in a particular training, one that never ends, the nonjudgmental self-observation. It may sound a bit pretentious but it is not, it is a fundamental capacity for a good coach and is totally doable.
So, what exactly makes a really good coach?
A presence imbibed with self-awareness. The presence is more than paying attention to the client and being physically present. It is the capacity to observe yourself on the fly, moment by moment.
The capacity to distinguish from gross to subtle movements of our mind, to understand their source, their agenda and our relationship with them and how we engage them. Do we allow them to manifest? Do we let them be a part of our identity structure? Do they interfere with our presence? Or are they just passing thoughts, feelings and we are choosing either to engage them or let them come and go?
I think now it’s more obvious why this type of constant self inquiring cannot be done by pure mental effort.
So, as a first summarization, a really good coach is one that integrates all the coaching knowledge with a continuous genuine practice of self-awareness and cultivation of the inner observer.
But how to do that?
The skill of being totally present for ourselves and others it’s one of the most precious virtues that everyone should aim for. It enhances tremendously our relationship with others and, very importantly, with ourselves. But for professionals involved in these types of services, this capacity is, I would say, essential.
So the first thing to do is to introduce meditation in our daily routines. Meditation is something we need to prioritize like brushing our teeth.
But what type of meditation? Any type that helps us to develop this “muscle” of self-observing.
There are many types of meditative practices and we should choose the one that we resonate with the most and it is easiest for us to integrate. Introducing a new routine is easy but to assimilate it is another story.
In my “back to fit” program, the first step is to train “the pleasure muscle”. We should do similarly when we start to meditate. At first, it is important that meditation gives us a pleasant experience. If we are doing properly, and don’t let ourselves get caught too much by the pleasure part, we can evolve organically in our meditative practices.
When the meditation routine is established, in time we start to develop this faculty of self-awareness. By constant work, doing it with the right mindset, this faculty becomes more refined and we become more capable of listening to ourselves and others. This is a very vast domain. There is no end to the practice of self-awareness, but at some point, we become mature enough in the practice to create, without too much effort, that space that makes a coach a really good one, the space of total objectivity, without any personal agenda.
I shall constantly touch upon this subject on my blog and vlog