Coaching Proficiency #2 – Reveals the Client to Themselves

This post continues the series commenced on April 8.

The certified coach “reveals the client to themselves”.

The more often I look at and ponder on this proficiency, the more I am tantalised by it and amazed by how much scope it offers for the coaching process.

Lots of people are good at stating the fairly obvious – you’ve got really blue eyes, did you know that? No, really? And a specialist in some field can often tell us something about ourselves we were not really aware of, such as a chiropractor telling us about the oddities of our spinal column.

But revealing the client to themselves means much more than that.

It’s about revealing the client’s true self to themselves.

The learning guide for this proficiency says the key distinction here is awareness vs information. Each of us carries around a lot of data about ourself, but we are not always aware of ourselves.

In 2002 in Sydney, Thomas Leonard asked, how do you know, as a coach, when you’ve done this well? and answered that the client has an “aha!” moment (awareness) and/or the client sees themselves as empowered. That relates neatly for me to Proficiency #3 – Elicits greatness.

To get to this point, the aha! moment, the client seeing themselves as empowered, the coach needs to initiate conversations: Thomas said, don’t leave it to the client to dominate the conversation.

How do you practice this proficiency? A couple of ways Thomas mentioned are:

  • share observations (e.g. I notice when you talk about your vision of what the company could be that you get quite animated)
  • ask a question (e.g. you obviously have a lot of energy and tons of ideas – does this business give you the scope you need?)

What I did not really click on when I first had this proficiency explained, and actually took some months to really get, even though it’s in the learning guide, is how this proficiency links with an understanding of the 12 Primary Sources of Energy, which range from the lower sources of energy like compulsion, conflict, irresponsibility or shoulds, to the higher ones such as integrity, reality and truth:

  • Truth
  • Reality
  • Integrity
  • Opportunity
  • Striving/Could
  • Shoulds
  • Confusion
  • Friction/Conflict
  • Unmet Needs
  • Irresponsibility
  • Addiction/Compulsion
  • Hope

Activity driven and sustained by the higher sources is going to be more effective in the long haul than the bursts of activity we can get from the lower sources of energy.

A natural segue from revealing the client to themselves, for example in terms of a client’s frustration and sense of overwhelm, is to make them aware of how they can upgrade their sources of energy. This has important, positive implications not only for the individual being coached but for those they relate to – family, friends, business colleagues, employees.

More at the Learning Guide.

Some general truths about this proficiency (from the Learning Guide):

1. The more we know about ourselves, the easier it is to get what we really want.
2. We usually need another person to help us see important parts of ourselves or our lives.
3. Most of us are fairly uninformed about ourselves.

Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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