As Process Oriented Coaches and Educators, we believe that our role is to support people to become more of who they really are. We are committed to freeing people to follow their true nature and discover all that they are capable of.
Our coaching training is therefore designed to encourage you to become more of yourself as a coach. The commitment extends to our corporate clients as well as our coaches-in-training.
A Process Oriented approach is about revealing the authentic self as it is emerging. A coaching relationship built on deep respect and safety is needed if your authentic self to emerge out from under the weight of the beliefs, censures and restrictions that typically compromise its expression. The coach’s role is to act as a witness, offering recognition and support as you re-discover marginalised and overlooked potential.
As your coaching path coincides with your personal growth and self-acceptance, you will become better at supporting the true nature of your clients to emerge.
For coaches, the revelation of one’s own true nature leads to the development of their signature presence. Leaders and other professionals sometimes think of this as their ‘brand.’ Interestingly, those around us can usually point to our brand long before we can. This is because we are so centrally entwined in the story of our own lives that we can’t see what differentiates us.
Because of this, one of the fastest routes to discovering your signature presence or brand is to ask those around you:
Why would you refer somewhere to me?
What are three things that you immediately think of when you think of working with me?
What has been different for you about our work together?
Once you get over the initial embarrassment of asking this can be a lot of fun!
Can We Really Follow Your Own Nature?
Let’s return for a moment to this notion of becoming your true self.
There are many people who feel uncomfortable with the notion that what is needed is for us simply to discover and follow our own true nature. One of the objections we commonly hear is a fear that people will become selfish and self-centred. This reflects a simplistic understanding of what is meant by our true nature.
Understanding and becoming more authentically yourself doesn’t mean that you are pardoned from the responsibilities that come along with being in intimate and working relationships, or from being a member of the community. It means that you come to these relationships more congruently- with less internal conflict and giving fewer mixed messages about who you are and what you’re about. Once you permission yourself to be more authentic you will continue to explore interests, negotiate boundaries and build relationships- just as you’ve always done.
But What About Being Agile?
In the world of Process Oriented Coaching, we value agility and doubt the long-term benefits of imposing cookie-cutter approaches to clients. We emphasise developing agility to work in ways that are suited to the client’s underlying process and developmental needs.
So how does developing agility as a coach and following your nature go together?
Without a doubt coaches, helping professionals, change agents and leaders need to learn to adapt their style from time to time. Agility can actually be an outgrowth of having a solid base. If you have deep roots in your own nature and life purpose, you can shift and sway like a great oak or graceful bamboo. We train people in how to find authentic agility while remaining deeply tethered to the core of their own being.
When leaders and coaches achieve this state they are inevitably freed up in their work with others. Because you are no longer navigating by narrow parameters of success and failure, you can support others with genuine enquiry. You can bring a detachment that opens new possibilities. You are free to dance in the coaching or leadership relationship. This makes you more trustworthy and reliable to your clients over time.
The Bonuses and Pitfalls of Being You
For many of us, what often gets in the way of expressing our signature presence is that we don’t completely like or trust who we are. We have mixed feelings about expressing our true nature. Sometimes it has worked for us and sometimes it hasn’t.
Most of us have been criticised for being who we are at some time or another. Being a bright kid in a small, rural community didn’t always serve me well. I often felt alienated and perceived negative reactions from others. But as I grew older, my capacity to think and work began to open doors for me. It was welcomed by leaders in search of robust conversations and those who wanted to be intellectually and creatively met.
However, when I’m not careful, my signature presence can still leave some people feeling irritated or lost at the starting line. Part of knowing yourself is about recognising and accepting the benefits and drawbacks of being just who you are. You need to understand your style to have empathy and insight into how you impact those around you. As a coach, you will routinely work with leaders and their teams to develop a deeper understanding of their own style, its benefits and pitfalls.
Celebrating Your Signature Presence
Deeply accepting who you are and all that it involves is an interesting journey. Each coach will follow their own unique path towards authenticity. In making this journey you will learn to guide clients on a similar path, supporting them to uncover their deepest selves.
We support clients to cultivate a deep acceptance of everything that ‘comes with the territory.’ Over time, most people begin to understand that the easier parts of our nature are often coupled with the tricky parts. Imagine trying to ditch some elements of yourself without losing some of the things that are most unique and valued about you. It’s tricky to keep some elements of your nature, without compromising or losing other parts.
When you genuinely see yourself, unencumbered by history and hurt, you are able to fully appreciate and tap into your gifts. With non-judgemental support, you can begin to heal some of the hurt and confusion that prevents you from being who you are. As you start to recognise and consent to being you, you gain access to more of your potential.
In coming to terms with the whole picture, you are able to enter your visions and relationships with others more consciously – knowing when and where, and how much or how little of your secret powers might come in handy.
A Question of Fit
Understanding your signature presence enables you to determine whether you are likely to be a good fit for a client or not. You can position yourself for clients and organisations that are looking for what you have to offer.
It’s not only your talents and interests that shape who and what jobs are a good fit. Recognising your metaskills– knowing whether you are seen as supportive or challenging or whether you bring a sense of fun and adventure or a serious focus on accountability- will help you to understand your market and reach the clients and industries that are right for you.
When you understand your signature presence you are less likely to take the question of fit personally. Instead you will see it as a reflection of where you are best placed and can be of most service. Rather than feeling rejected, you are more likely to value your own place in the world and intrinsically want to be there - bringing your gifts where they are most needed. When approached in this way, your unique coaching style is seen a valuable tool, rather than a limitation.
Knowing your Signature Presence is liberating. At the end of the day it’s about being you, enjoying yourself more and choosing assignments where you will have most fun and feel the greatest sense of satisfaction.
By becoming more authentically who you are, you will support others to become more authentically who they are. And for our money, that’s the power of coaching.