I was getting feedback today on my coaching a client. My advisor said to me, “Jeff, give yourself more space.” At first I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. As we dug into this, I learned that she was pushing me to dig deeper into one of the foundations of Co-Active coaching: namely that everyone is Naturally Creative, Resourceful, and Whole (NCRW). By doing things like feeling I need to explain myself, entering into silence to say something (maybe out of my discomfort or sensing their discomfort), remaining seated while I coach- I’m not fully trusting my client to be NCRW. I constrain them, limiting where they could take our conversation and our relationship. I unintentionally do the same to myself as well, working too hard to do something rather than the more effective approach of just being there as the client’s coach.
As I was gaining understanding I begin to think about horses in a corral, fenced in. I then recalled a video I had seen on a news program earlier in the day showing horses running free in the snow (here’s a link to that video). You can see how the natural tendency is for these powerful animals to run free. The corral is artificial, created to limit or, even worse, negate that natural, beautiful desire. And as this was becoming clear to me I realized that, not only was my client being corralled by my coaching, I was corralling myself too.
So I’m focusing on knocking down the fences I’ve created for my clients and myself, letting ourselves run free, trusting that they and I are NCRW and we’ll truly enjoy this limitless space we now have to occupy. As a musical person, I’m listening to the song “Chestnut Mare” by the Byrds to embed this feeling of a horse running free into my coaching. It’s a little bit scary AND I’m ready for this challenge.