So, a life coach is trained to draw out the best in you. How does he/she do this? By asking thought provoking questions and making you look at possibility… And also by holding the space for you.
It was this ‘holding the space’ concept that had me befuddled. What exactly does one hold and how did one do that? How did one know what one is holding and even if one is doing that right? These are common questions that we all have.
After coaching a few clients and having watched others, I have finally understood this abstract concept and its import. One can hold the space by just making one’s ‘presence’ felt, in an unobtrusive way. A coach doesn’t aspire for significance, rather his skill lies in being insignificant, yet visible. He is a presence the coachee can turn to, can get unfiltered views points from and can discuss his /her dreams with.
A coach provides an absolute non – judgemental space, in which the coachee is not afraid to shed pretences and show up. There is no pressure of having to appear a certain way for the coachee, and this then, becomes the space in which discussing dreams, aspirations, fears or perceived inadequacies becomes possible. And this is how many questions also get answered.
A coach inspires trust and acts as an enabler when those questions come to you and the answers seem too far and few. Hence, the ‘space’ becomes all the more important. Unless the coachee feels safe and accepted, it is not possible for him to open up and be real.
Though intangible, this ‘space’ hence is practically tangible – almost measurable in terms of the experience of the coachee. It is magnified by the intention the coach sets for the session. A whole lot of invisibles are at play during the session. What is ‘visible’ is an engrossed conversation and maybe the use of some tools – what is not palpable is the competence of the coach to disappear – to leave the arena to the coachee, while he /she supports from the sidelines.It is almost as if the coach is not there physically, and yet is there probing and prompting the coachee to have an honest conversation with self, to introspect and to discover his/her own resources to find answers to those questions.
There’s a lot at play during a coaching session – it’s mesmerizing if we learn to recognize the ‘invisible’ and feel the space. After all, all there’s a lot that goes on beyond the realm of the conscious.