Coaching Principles – Five Ways to Create Sacred Space For Your Client
Fran Fisher, MCC
“Coaching is the Sacred Space of Unconditional Love, where Learning, Growth, and transformation naturally occur.” – Fran Fisher, MCC
Sacred Space is an honoring, caring, safe environment that is clear of distractions for the client. The greater your ability to remove the distractions that you cause in the conversation, the more your client will show up to themselves; the more they can hear what they are thinking; the more they can feel what they are feeling; the more they can access their own greatness.
Creating Sacred Space
The following coach behaviors will provide a distraction free zone for your client:
1 – Eliminate yeah’s, uh hums, right – As unconscious habitual remarks, these interject noise into the conversation. They intervene with the flow. They draw energy and attention away from the client – toward the coach. Sometimes these remarks are communicated like approvals (positive judgments). PCC Marker #7.2 “Coach shares observations, intuitions, comments, thoughts and feelings without any attachment to them being right.”
Better options for these distractions would be to: be silent, ask a curious question, or offer an observation and invite the client to explore what they are noticing or learning.
2 – Avoid acting on your assumptions – Ask about the client’s meaning, or what will best serve them, or which direction they want to go forward. Otherwise, you are leading the client. A ripe opportunity to do this differently is when you have established the desired outcome (Establishing the Coaching Agreement) and you tend to ask a powerful question, assuming where or how the client wants to start exploring. Instead, ask: “What do you believe you need to address in order to resolve this?” Now you have invited the client to lead AND invited them to access their own knowing.
3 – Utilize the power of Silence – Leverage the power of silence. Hold silence for a client so they can ponder more deeply underneath the surface level of possibilities, options, choices, awareness, values, etc. In the space of silence (no distraction) a client can get more fully present and connected to themselves. This is rich territory for creativity and deeper wisdom to emerge.
If you are one of those who is uncomfortable with silence, practice holding silence longer each time you experiment. Notice the beneficial impact for the client.
4 – Provide more “white space” – Avoid rushing in on the client with your next great question. Sometimes I hear coaches responding so quickly that they talk over the client. Provide more clam, relaxed energy around their talking, processing out loud, or silently reflecting. Give them more space, allowing their words to breathe, and time for them to hear their own words. For those of you who have this rushing habit, you will be surprised to learn that when you provide more space, you stop driving the conversation. This gives more space for the client to lead.
5 – Invite the client to lead – Think of it this way: my job as coach is to support my client in learning how to take the leadership in their process for raising their self-awareness, deepening their self-discovery, and building their capacities for self-empowerment.
There are many ways to invite the client to lead, in addition to the ones I mentioned above. A key one is to “ask a curious question versus tell” the client what your observation or assessment is. This reinforces the coaching principle that the client is the expert of who they are. When you notice an energy shift, don’t just reflect what you noticed, also invite the client to explore the event for their awareness and learning.