Defining Coaching (The Complete Guide 2019)

Defining Coaching

Defining Coaching Presence

This Guide defines coaching as “the art of creating an environment, through conversation and a way of being, that facilitates the process by which a person can move toward desired goals in a fulfilling manner.”

 

Gallwey goes on to note that this “requires one essential ingredient that cannot be taught: caring not only for external results but for the person being coached”

 

This definition highlights that coaching supports client growth and change not only by what coaches do (have conversations with clients) but also by who coaches are (a way of being with people). It is concerned not only with results but also with the person seeking to achieve those results.

 

The two always go hand in hand. Coaching presence, therefore, is a way of being with clients (mindful, empathetic, warm, calm, zestful, fun, and courageous) that facilitates growth and change through the connection.

 

Failure to have a full coaching presence with clients undermines the impact of coaching sessions. If a client partnership is not successful, it may have less to do with techniques than with the nature of a coach’s presence.

 

The International Coach Federation also recognizes coaching presence as a core coaching competency, the “ability to be fully conscious and create a spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.” To this end, the ICF indicates that a professional coach:

 

  • Is present and flexible during the coaching process, dancing at the moment
  • Accesses one’s intuition and trusts one’s inner knowing—“goes with the gut”
  • Is open to not knowing and takes risks
  • Sees many ways to work with the client and chooses at the moment what is most effective
  • Uses humor effectively to create lightness and energy
  • Confidently shifts perspectives and experiments with new possibilities for own action
  • Demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions and can self-manage and not be overpowered by or enmeshed in clients’ emotions

 

That’s why it’s so important for coaches to develop their own empowering frameworks or philosophical principles in their work with clients. Thomas Leonard (2002), a founder of the modern life coaching movement, is famous for suggesting the following notions:

 

It’s all solvable or it’s not.

  • The risk is always reducible.
  • There’s usually a better way.
  • Success is a byproduct.
  • Emotions are our teachers.
  • Inklings are higher intelligence.
  • The answer is somewhere.
  • Self-confidence can be arranged.
  • Problems are immediate opportunities.
  • People are doing their very best, even when they seem not to be.

 

Frameworks on which coaches lean empower clients in movement, growth, and connection. They undergird what is described as the “quality of presence” that leads to “growth-fostering” or “growth-enhancing” relationships. Clients learn and grow not only because of what coaches do but also because of who coaches are being.

 

Being Skills

Being Skills

Coaching presence is developed through the practice of using relational qualities called “being skills.” They are the skills coaches use to build growth-promoting relationships and also represent a coach’s way of being when at his or her most authentic.

 

Surrounding the core of coaching presence is mindfulness, which determines how the coach shows up for coaching and how the other skills are engaged. Around the perimeter, the being skills are arranged in ways that show the connections as well as the distinctions between them. calm, confident energy that is radiated outward to clients.

 

“Don’t just do something, stand there!” is a Buddhist saying that expresses this understanding. By modeling the being skills and the coach’s trust in the client’s ability to succeed, the coach shifts from coaching competence to coaching mastery.

 

The energy of mastery infuses clients with the self-efficacy clients need to move forward successfully with their vision and goals.

 

These being skills include such critical qualities as mindfulness, empathy, warmth, affirmation, calm, zest, playfulness, courage, and authenticity. We describe these qualities of being as “skills” because they are qualities that can be chosen, valued, and strengthened in the course of a coach’s professional development.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Masterful coaching requires mindfulness or a nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment. “When one is mindful, one is actively engaged in the present and sensitive to both context and perspective. The mindful condition is both the result of and the continuing cause of, actively noticing new things”

 

Being fully aware and awake in this way is a prerequisite for everything a coach does. If the coach is not mindful, he or she will not be skillful enough to assist clients in engaging in a deep coach-client relationship that will enable them to reach their vision and goals.

 

It is the task of the coach to pay full attention while suspending judgment and using empathy, inquiry, and reflections. In this way, mindfulness requires two components: self-regulation in order to pay attention at the moment and a posture of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.

 

A good starting point for developing mindfulness is to begin tuning into the signals sent by our bodies, which work ceaselessly to get our attention. Negative emotions and physical sensations indicate that some of our needs are not being met, whereas positive emotions and physical sensations are signs that they are.

 

Body intelligence is about having the awareness, knowledge of, and engagement in health habits that generate physical energy and thriving. To develop both emotional and body intelligence and increase mindfulness, one can move one’s conscious attention into a “brains” that Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson calls the “open awareness” brain state

 

The brain in this state is not thinking, analyzing, or planning; instead, attention moves deep and back into the sensory, or “experiencing,” brain regions. Within a coaching conversation, this state of experiencing leads to meaningful and connected engagement with the client.

 

Empathy

Empathy

In the coaching context, empathy is defined as a respectful understanding of another person’s experience, including his or her feelings, needs, and desires. It is the core relational dynamic that leads to movement and growth in coaching.

 

An empathetic coach understands and connects with the clients without sharing the experiences, getting hooked, or being hijacked by emotions emerging from within or from the client.

 

Like mindfulness, empathy allows the coach to suspend all judgment, analysis, suggestions, stories, or motivation to fix things in favor of connecting with and understanding what’s alive in and coming up for another human being in the present moment. Someone who is empathetic is:

 

  • Curious without being demanding
  • Interested without being intrusive
  • Compassionate without being condescending
  • Persistent without being impatient

 

Empathy seeks solely to understand and value another person’s experience with respect and compassion. It is the intention to “get with” where another is coming from and nothing else. When a client realizes that his or her feelings and needs matter and that he or she is being heard and taken seriously by the coach, a zone of new possibilities is created.

 

It takes work to nurture and maintain this intention. In the interest of being helpful, coaches are especially prone to advise, educate, console, reassure, explain, correct, and solve problems. Although

 

Coaching Case

In which scenario do you think Lynda received empathy?

 

Scenario 1

Lynda Well: “I am so angry! My boss told me that I have to work a 10-hour shift this week, which means that I can’t do my evening walk, and there is no way that I’ll be able to eat healthily.”

Expert Steve: “Well surely there is a way that you can stick to your goals. Don’t give up now; you’ve worked so hard and had such success! You can’t have the all-or-nothing attitude. What about walking in the morning instead?”

 

Scenario 2

Lynda Well: “I am so angry! My boss told me that I have to work a 10-hour shift this week, which means that I can’t do my evening walk and there is no way that I’ll be able to eat healthily.”

 

Coach Steve: “You are angry and disappointed because you’ve been so proud of yourself for being consistent with your exercise and eating plans. You are frustrated because you are having a difficult time thinking of strategies maintaining this when your schedule changes.

 

What else are you feeling?” such behaviors may at times be appropriate and useful in coaching conversations, they interfere with and do not align with a posture of empathy.

 

Lastly, empathy is good for the coach and the client. Intentionally cultivating nonjudgmental attention leads to connection, which leads to self-regulation and ultimately to greater order and health.

 

Warmth

There is a reciprocal relationship between warmth and empathy. Without warmth, all attempts at empathy will fail. That’s because empathy requires a sincere, heartfelt desire to connect with another human being.

 

Obligatory expressions of empathy will be revealed as inauthentic. Likewise, without empathy, all attempts at warmth will fail. That’s because warmth requires an awareness of what others are feeling and needing in the present moment.

 

Warmth comes from what psychologists call “positive regard.” It has the power to open up clients, just as sunshine has the power to open flowers. Too little or too much warmth, however, can distress clients, just as too little or too much sunshine can damage flowers.

 

Warmth has to be tailored appropriately for every situation. The key is to radiate just the right amount of warmth in just the right way, so our clients warm up and the coaching process becomes energized.

 

Warmth generates full engagement. It is a contagious quality of being that enlivens conversations, relationships, and circumstances.

When the coach and client warm up to each other, their energies elevate, ideas are generated, light bulbs go off, and new possibilities get created. When a coach expresses genuine warmth toward a client, it meets the deeply rooted need for connection in the service of self-determination.

 

Affirmation

Affirmation

When a coach gives the gift of affirmation, he or she conveys acceptance and appreciation of a client’s thoughts, feelings, and choices. This is not the same as affiliation, which implies alignment and agreement with the client’s thoughts, feelings, and choices.

 

Masterful coaches extend unfailing affirmation to both themselves and others because they come from a framework that recognizes perfection in every situation. As a biologist would say, “every cell is doing the best it can with the resources it has at hand.”

 

How can each and every situation be perfect, even when it obviously isn’t? Each can be perfect by virtue of the fact that every moment is the only moment that can be happening at any moment.

 

There’s no way to arrive at any future moment other than through the present moment. Nor is there any way for the present moment to be any different than it is, given all the past moments.

 

Affirmation and acceptance have to do with combining mindfulness and empathy. If we see every situation as perfectly designed for our own movement and growth, then we can embrace every situation for where it comes from and where it leads us. Living fully in the present moment makes perfection easy to affirm.

 

That is the posture masterful coaches generally take in life, particularly with their clients. They neither disparage themselves nor others. Instead, they continuously come from the transactional framework of “I’m OK, you’re OK”.

 

The notion that things are not OK is dissipated by recognizing that all unhealthy thoughts, words, and actions are expressions of unmet needs. By hearing the needs that underlie thoughts, words, and actions, masterful coaches can remain unfailingly affirmative in relationship to both themselves and others.

 

Calm

Calm

The word “calm” comes from Greek and Latin roots that refer to “burning heat” or the “heat of the day.” To find a resting place in those contexts is the energy of calm, demonstrated and exercised by masterful coaches. It’s an energy that comes from connecting with and trusting the unfolding of life, whether on the most personal or universal of levels.

 

“My certainty is greater than your doubt,” says Dave Buck of CoachVille. This idea represents not only an approach masterful coaches take with clients but also their way of being in the world. Calm energy in the fire is the strength that comes from knowing that it’s never too late to make a difference.

 

That’s what makes it possible for first responders to handle emergencies effectively. Instead of dissolving in the midst of chaos and distress, they maintain perspective and poise at the moment.

 

Coaches with calm energy are able to step back and observe emotional frenzy in themselves and in their clients and create some degrees of freedom from automatic triggers.

 

This enables them to avoid automatic responses such as fear and anxiety; instead, they notice the emotion, they are present, and they make a choice about the response.

 

Masterful coaches do the same in their lives and work. They set aside those inner voices, the negative ones that interfere with feeling at peace with oneself, the world, and work.

 

At the start of every day, before every coaching session, and in many other moments in life, they claim the calm energy to make a difference and perhaps even to generate a break-through.

 

They believe in and are confident of who they are and what they do. Through being present and open to the unfolding of things to come, they add meaning, purpose, and value. It isn’t necessarily easy but it can be done.

 

Zest

Zest

This energy is different from the energy of calm. It is by nature optimistic and hopeful. It anticipates the best and as a result, often generates the best.

 

This is similar to the energy from childhood when a child is anticipating a special activity or occasion (such as going to the zoo or getting on an airplane), excited with energy and full of zest.

 

In their blog, The Art of Possibility, Roz, and Ben Zander write about the importance of “shining eyes” in determining people’s level of engagement. Zest looks and feels like eyes shining and smiles sparkling.

 

In spite of life’s obvious challenges, masterful coaches radiate zest in ways that generate conversations for change. It’s almost impossible for coaches who are filled with a zest not to infuse that energy into coaching sessions.

 

It may not be possible to radiate zestful energy every minute of every day, but masterful coaches do so more often than not. That is what makes a coaching practice successful! People want to get close to and build on the attractive energy of zest. It is self-reinforcing and upward spiraling. Zest supports resilience and self-efficacy in the service of coaching outcomes.

 

One simple strategy for elevating zest without a total life makeover is to cultivate gratitude. Noticing, remembering, and celebrating good things that happen are powerful antidotes to the patina of bad things that tends to build up over time.

 

Understanding this, masterful coaches stoke their own attitude of gratitude through daily positive practices that build happiness, balance, and self-esteem.

 

Just as there is a reciprocal relationship between giving and receiving empathy, there is also one between giving and receiving zest. The more things coaches do to fill up their own lives with zest, the more zest they will have to share with others. This is one area in which self-care clearly and directly translates into coaching effectiveness.

 

It is not possible to masterfully coach in a state of feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, stressed, burnt out, or in despair. Without doing the things that make life worth living, including adequate time for rest and recovery, it is hard, if not impossible, to share zestful energy with others.

 

Playfulness

Just as empathy, warmth, and affirmation go together, so do playfulness and zest. They may be distinct energies, but they nevertheless support one another. Indeed, it’s impossible to sustain zest without playfulness. Playfulness ignites our energy for engagement with life.

 

Just as playfulness underlies zest, humor and curiosity underlie playfulness. Without the ability to laugh, especially in the face of life’s ironies, incongruities, and adversities, one would seldom find the energy to play.

 

Young children laugh hundreds of times per day; older adults average about 17 times per day. Masterful coaches and other healthy adults know how to laugh and have fun.

 

Perhaps that’s why laughter clubs, which started in India, have turned into a global movement. These groups, which typically meet in the morning, run through a series of laughter patterns that eventually give way to an epidemic of spontaneous giggles, chuckles, and guffaws. Participants report feeling refreshed, relaxed, revitalized, and rejuvenated by the experience.

 

Coaching is a serious business, but that doesn’t make it the business of seriousness. Unless we carry ourselves and show up with a certain lightness of being, clients will dread coaching and fail to move forward as they otherwise might.

 

Courage and Authenticity

Courage and Authenticity

Perhaps the most challenging way of being for many coaches involves courage and authenticity. The word “courage” may conjure up images of judgment, conflict, and pushiness.

 

But being courageous is not about being mean, cruel, or threatening. It’s about naming what is present to wake up the client’s awareness, create a connection, and generate movement.

 

Masterful coaches who understand the difference between being nice and being authentic are able to boldly express their observations, feelings, needs, and requests in the service of client outcomes. They have a genuine way of stepping up to the plate and making conversations real.

 

In concert with all the other coaching strengths, masterful coaches have a fearless, conversational prowess that shakes things loose and stirs things up without offending, violating, blaming, shaming or demeaning people.

 

Approaching clients with courage and authenticity may be difficult and intimidating at first, but by shining a light on what “wants to be said,” coaches can move clients forward in dynamic and powerful ways. That’s because the truth is contagious and resonant.

 

As long as we stay with accurate observations free from evaluations and honestly reflect back what we are experiencing and seeing, we enable our clients to honestly gain new awareness and understanding of who they are and what they are facing. As a result, clients can muster the courage to more fully meet their needs.

 

Having courage in coaching means sharing what is being noticed, felt, needed, and wanted. It often takes time to make this deeper level of connection, but it’s worth it. Respectful and genuine interactions with our clients can provoke the change they seek.

 

Masterful coaches use their voices well, both in face-to-face and telephone coaching. Sometimes they use their voices to build excitement with stimulating energy. At other times, they use their voices to calm things down with soothing energy. Either way, coaching presence is conveyed when voice is used in just the right way at just the right time.

 

Silence, too, is an important part of coaching presence. It conveys comfort, respect, and spaciousness for client experience. Feelings, needs, and desires can take a while to surface and become clear. When coaches are comfortable with silence, their presence becomes more evocative.

 

One universal trait of coaching presence is the dance between intention and attention in the present moment. Although coaching presence may appear graceful and even effortless in the hands of a masterful coach, it never happens by accident.

 

It takes clear intention and lots of practice. The more coaching we have under our belts, the stronger our presence will be.

 

None of this works unless coaches are ready, willing, and able to engage. When coaches are exhausted, their strengths desert them. When coaches are rested, all strengths come into play. Paying attention to the rhythm of work and rest, of energy out and in, is an essential part of self-management for conveying coaching presence.

 

A key factor to consider is the flow of energy in the field between coaches and clients. When presence is conveyed artfully, coaches and clients lean into each other with full engagement.

 

This leaning in can be seen in the eyes and heard in the voice as one thing leads spontaneously to another. If one or the other is leaning out or pulling away, then something isn’t working. It’s time for the coach to try a different approach.

 

Conveying Coaching Presence

Coaching presence is conveyed in many ways, including word choice, phrasing, pace, body language, facial expressions, and intonation. A variety of factors combine in different ways for each coach

 

Coaching Presence as a Symphony of Strengths

Strengths

Coaches bring their own unique presence to coaching relationships and conversations. Because no two coaches are exactly the same, no two coaches come from exactly the same frameworks or use the core coaching skills in exactly the same way.

 

Whoa, the coach is being influenced and in many respects, determines how he or she connects, moves with the clients, and intuitively dances, generating new possibilities and forward momentum.

 

One way to think of presence is as the expression of a unique symphony of talents and character strengths. These are the aptitudes or capacities that coaches most value and use most ably.

 

In multiple studies, research has shown a direct relationship between the engagement of a person’s character strengths and his or her effectiveness, as well as happiness, in both life and work. That’s as true for coaches as it is for anyone else.

 

The more the coach plays to and comes from his or her own strengths, the more powerful and effective the coaching will be. This is not to say that strengths are the only factors that generate one’s coaching presence.

 

However, at an early stage of one’s evolution as a coach, feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and practice is common. It is vital for new coaches to discover or reconnect with personal strengths and use them to foster one’s presence as a coach.

 

To fully engage our talents and character strengths, it helps to know what they are. One of the more significant contributions of positive psychology over the past 10 years has been the development of classification schemes for human strengths that are similar in both form and function to the Diagnostic and Statistical Blog of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).

 

What the DSM-5 is to mental illness, the emerging models for strengths, talents, and virtues are to mental and emotional wellness. One strengths model is StrengthsFinder, a popular workplace model developed by the Gallup organization.

 

Peterson and Seligman have developed a different model, identifying 24 character strengths, grouped into six large categories called virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture. The virtues are wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.

 

The following summarizes and organizes the 24 character strengths with the addition of coaching perspectives. All strengths and coaching perspectives are valuable, and there is no “right” combination of signature strengths when it comes to masterful coaching.

 

Coaching strengths and perspectives impact every aspect of presence and practice, including who coaches are, how coaches show up for coaching, who coaches attract as clients, and how coaches facilitate clients’ movement and growth.

 

Wisdom and Knowledge

Knowledge

Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge:

 

1. Creativity (originality, ingenuity):

Thinking of novel and productive ways to do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it

Coaching Perspective: “I love to think outside the box with my clients, generating novel and productive—even fun—ways of doing things.”

 

Curiosity (interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience):

Taking an interest in all of the ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering

Coaching Perspective: “I love to explore all facets of a situation, especially the best situations have to offer, to broaden and build on client strengths.”

 

3. Open-mindedness (judgment, critical thinking):

Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.

 

Coaching Perspective: “Instead of jumping to conclusions, I love to think things through, adopt different perspectives with my clients, examining them from all sides with no urgency.”

 

4. Love of learning:

Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.

 

Coaching Perspective: “I love to learn new things and assist my clients in learning new things, building on what we know now to master unknown skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge in the future.”

 

5. Perspective (wisdom):

Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people

 

Coaching Perspective: “I love to make sense of experience, both for myself and with my clients, in meaningful and purposeful ways.”

Courage

Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal:

 

6. Bravery (valor):

Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right, even if there is opposition; acting on convictions, even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it

Coaching Perspective: “I am willing to speak the truth in love, holding my client's feet to the fire even when it may be uncomfortable.”

 

7. Persistence (perseverance, industriousness):

Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks.

Coaching Perspective: “I hang in there with my clients until we get the job done. Nothing is impossible; some things just take a little longer.”

 

8. Integrity (authenticity, honesty):

Speaking the truth and more broadly, presenting oneself in a genuine way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.

 

Coaching Perspective: “I seek to be genuine in all my communications with clients, especially when I sense there may be feelings, needs, and desires below the surface that want to be spoken.”

 

9. Vitality (zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy):

Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated

Coaching Perspective: “I love life, and I do everything, including coaching, with excitement and energy. Life is an adventure that I seek to live and share with full engagement. People find that to be infectious.”

Humanity

Interpersonal strengths that involve caring for and supporting others:

 

10. Love:

Valuing close relations with others, in particular, those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people

Coaching Perspective: “I love to feel close to people and to be in mutually supportive relationships. Warmth is a signature of my coaching style.”

 

Kindness (generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, “niceness”):

Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

Coaching Perspective: “I love to help people and do nice things for them. I often reach out to my clients in special and caring ways that touch the heart.”

 

Social intelligence (emotional intelligence, personal intelligence):

Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.

 

Coaching Perspective: “I can easily understand and navigate people’s feelings, needs, and desires (including those beneath the surface). People say I ‘connect with respect,’ the hallmark of my coaching.”

 

Justice

Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life:

Citizenship (social responsibility, loyalty, teamwork):

Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share

Coaching Perspective: “My clients always come first and think of me as being on their team. I love to be their partners in facilitating growth.”

 

14. Fairness:

Treating all people the same according to notions of equality and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance

Coaching Perspective: “It’s not my agenda, but my client’s agenda, that counts. I leave my personal opinions out of the equation as I seek to model fairness in all my dealings.”

 

15. Leadership:

Encouraging a group, of which one is a member, to get things done while at the same time maintaining good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen

 

Coaching Perspective: “I model being a leader in my work and personal lives, and I demonstrate my leadership with my clients by encouraging and supporting them to be leaders in their lives.”

 

Temperance

Strengths that protect against excess:

 

16. Forgiveness and mercy:

Forgiving those who have done wrong; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful

Coaching Perspective: “I accept my clients right where they are and just the way they are. I am never judgmental and never suggest that my client is wrong; rather, I explore and appreciate the lesson in every situation.”

 

17. Humility/Modesty:

Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlight

Coaching Perspective: “Although I ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to my own path of development, I never call attention to myself or put myself up on a pedestal. We’re all learners in my blog.”

 

18. Prudence:

Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted

 

Coaching Perspective: “I love to design doable strategies with clients. I want my clients to be successful, and that requires setting goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timelined.”

 

19. Self-regulation (self-control):

Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions

 

Coaching Perspective: “Silence is my friend. I love to take my time, to think through my thoughts and feelings, and then say just the right thing at just the right time to move my clients forward. I also am a role model for self-regulation in my personal wellness.”

 

Transcendence

Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning and purpose:

 

Appreciation of beauty and excellence (awe, wonder, elevation):

Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/ or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art, to mathematics and science, and to everyday experience.

 

Coaching Perspective: “My clients never cease to amaze me. I love to acknowledge their beauty, excellence, and skill. No matter where they are on the journey, there is always something to celebrate and relish.”

 

21. Gratitude:

Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks

Coaching Perspective: “I bring an ‘attitude of gratitude’ to life that my clients usually pick up on and come to share. What a gift to be alive, to work together, and to learn new ways to experience well-being!”

 

Hope (optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation):

Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.

 

Coaching Perspective: “I always believe in my client’s ability to become his or her best self. I know that self is in him or her, no matter what, and I love to bring it out in all its fullness.”

 

23. Humor (playfulness):

Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes

 

Coaching Perspective: “There’s no shortage of laughter when it comes to my coaching sessions. I love to make learning fun, enjoyable, and meaningful. We even learn to laugh at our mistakes along the way.”

 

24. Spirituality (faith, purpose, religiousness):

Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort

 

Coaching Perspective: “I see my clients as participating in a much larger narrative that includes the purpose and meaning of the universe. I love to make that connection with my clients and to watch the mysteries unfold.”

 

Being Skills Tied to Strengths

When a coach is relying on their strengths, it is easier to access the being skills that support a strong, connected, and authentic coaching relationship. The good news is that strengths and being skills are connected:

 

  1. Mindfulness is related to self-regulation, bravery, integrity, perspective, citizenship, and social intelligence
  2. Empathy is related to social intelligence, self-regulation, love, curiosity, open-mindedness, perspective, forgiveness and mercy, and spirituality
  3. Warmth is related to vitality, love, social intelligence, kindness, gratitude, forgiveness and mercy, and humility/modesty
  4. Affirmation is related to the appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, kindness, hope, creativity, and perspective
  5. Calm is related to spirituality, bravery, integrity, open-mindedness, perspective, self-regulation, and prudence
  6. Zest is related to vitality, humor, gratitude, curiosity, love of learning, bravery, persistence, and appreciation of beauty and excellence
  7. Playfulness is related to humor, curiosity, creativity, vitality, hope, spirituality, and perspective
  8. Courage and authenticity: integrity, bravery, social intelligence, fairness, and persistence

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