The Coach As An Instrument of Change

Updated: May 24, 2019

At the Global Coaching Institute we firmly believe that the coach is an instrument of change. The way you show up, the way you know yourself, the way you hold yourself and the way you engage with others is central to supporting their growth.

Becoming a coach is a powerful path of personal growth and mastery. After all, how can coach’s support the growth and development of others, unless they have a first hand appreciation of what it means to grow themselves?

We learn about the highs of the growth journey – by embarking on a committed growth pathway ourselves. For this reason, GCI offers depth-training for coaches. We understand that coaches are called to act as an instrument of change both when they are working with their dream clients and when they are deeply challenged by the content or the dynamic under enquiry in any given coaching session or relationship.

In our experience, there are four key indicators that a coach has worked on themselves enough to take up the mantle of being an agent of change for others.

Self Awareness

Coaches are committed to self-awareness understand their own values and beliefs. Being more conscious of your own values and beliefs helps to ensure that you do not impose them on others. When you are unconscious of your values, you are likely to leak them into the coaching conversation in the form of leading questions or clear patterns of avoidance.

Entering An Equal Partnership

Coaching emphasizes the partnership between coach and client as an equal relationship. Having previously practiced as an educator, therapist and consultant, I find this to be one of the distinguishing features of coaching. Coaching demands that you are fully present in the relationship with your client and not hiding behind the cloak of expertise. By becoming aware of your own needs, vulnerabilities and relationship tendencies, you are able to enter the coach-client relationship more consciously.

Take time to reflect on what you bring and the unconscious dynamics that can play out when you are trying to ‘help’. For instance, your need to be validated may result in wanting the client to respond positively to your coaching interventions. This gets in the way of being able to partner equally with your clients.

Following The Client

In order to follow the client and be fully present to what is happening in their world, you need to put yourself and your own agenda to the side. You can only do this when you feel solid, seen and whole within yourself. Otherwise you will begin to co-opt the coaching relationship for your own needs or validation.

In order to forget yourself for a moment and bring your whole being to focus in on the client and their growth, you need to develop a strong internal core. The extensive experience of being coached within our coach training programs, as well as the one-one supervision provided to emerging coaches helps to develop self-awareness and a solid foundation within yourself.

Being Agile

Entering the world of your client’s needs can be challenging, especially if their growth is leading in a direction that you are personally uncomfortable with. Take for example the coaching client who wants to take a firmer stand when challenged. If you as a coach are primarily committed to collaboration and being a peacemaker, or if you have a history of trauma and abuse in which power has been misused in your own life, you may subtly avoid this dimension of the client’s development. Instead, you might encourage them to adopt the same default behaviours and style that you have cultivated.


In our coach training programs, we support coaches to become agile – to be equally as comfortable with peacemaking as with taking a firm stand. Acquiring this level of agility requires that you work on their own edges and embrace aspects of your own potential that you have marginalized and disowned.

When you take seriously the invitation to use your own awareness and presence as an instrument of change, you begin to work in profound ways to support the growth and awareness of your clients.

To learn more about Process Oriented Coaching ask for a copy of our whitepaper A Guide To Process Oriented Coaching? Or check out our forthcoming training programs in Japan, Spain and Australia.

GCI 102 (Australia)
GCI Coach Training Intensive (Japan)
GCI 101 (Australia)
Harnessing Team Power and System Potential (China)