How to be an Instrument of Change

24 Sep 2015

"Presence is the living embodiment of knowledge: the theories and practices believed to be essential to bring about change… are manifested, symbolized or implied in the presence of the consultant." Nevis

Most coaches are aware of the paramount importance of building rapport and creating psychological safety for their coaching clients. Yet I believe that the client/coach relationship plays an even bigger part in the client’s development and that successful coaches themselves are valuable instruments of change in the coaching process.

By role-modelling a healthy, adult to adult relationship, the coach helps the client to realise – perhaps for the first time – that honest, open communication with another person is possible. In this rarefied environment, the client can put aside the games, rackets and coping strategies they have learned to use to proceed through life.  They can feel accepted just as they are, without the need to flatter, people-please, manipulate or whatever else has worked for them in the past. 

I believe the client learns more by “osmosis” from their coach than they do from the coaching methodology used. For the coach to facilitate real transformational learning, they must become a true instrument of change by constantly honing and developing the following attitudes and skills:

  • An ability to tolerate ambiguity and stay with the not-knowing
  • Comfort with powerful emotions and a healthy relationship with conflict
  • Ability to praise, appreciate and champion with ease and authenticity
  • Assertive communication
  • An ability to recognise their own feelings and intuitions quickly
  • An ability to create learning opportunities for themselves and others
  • Becoming an awareness expert
  • Congruence inside and outside the coaching relationship
  • Clarity about boundaries and power issues
  • Awareness of self and of what factors or situations contribute to their own lack of effectiveness
  • Understanding what makes them reactive
  • An ability to integrate their own personal history into a source of strength in the coaching relationship
  • A sense of wonder and curiosity about people