What do you know about your own boundary preferences? How much physical space do you like to have around you—your personal space? How clear are you on what you say yes to and what you say no to? When our boundaries are agile, we are at our best; we are able to hear our client’s stories and observe patterns, and to hold a strong alliance while able to surface what we observe instead of getting swept into their situation or story.
Feelings, with their wide range of layers and nuances, are a part of the human condition. When a leader comes to a coach, that person brings all of their self to the work and with this comes feelings. This is not the sole territory of psychotherapy; it is the territory of being human. Often coaches shy away from feelings, worrying this may lead to dark unknown regions of the psyche. Yet, the way in which we reveal and moderate our feelings is core to who we are as human beings.
Empathy is the glue that makes this highly relational work of coaching and leadership possible. Without sufficient levels of empathyvery little worthwhile work will occur in coaching. The client needs to feel connected and seen by the coach. The coach needs to feel equally connected and it is inside this relational field that meaningful works occurs. We need to perpetually hone our ability to imagine what it would be like to walk in our client’s shoes, to live in our client’s experience.
Presence is multifaceted and complicated territory for us. First, we need to be present to our inner chatter, our biases and assumptions that impede our capacity to be there for another. Next we benefit when we are alert to what is unique about the ‘third entity’, the relationship; and finally we always gain a broader context for a situation when we are aware of the ecology that surrounds another and a situation.