Coaching doesn’t work without a high level of trust between the client and coach.

In my years as a coach, I have been the least effective when I have failed to earn the trust of the client or have lost that trust in some way. The opposite is also true. When there is a high level of trust between us, the client is comfortable being seen as they are and exploring what is possible.

My job as a coach is to help the client see themselves and their inner world so clearly that their relationship to the external world shifts.

At the beginning of the relationship, the client decides to make some change in themselves or in one or more areas of their life and asks the coach to help them affect that change.

To successfully help the client, the coach must believe they can help. Guided by a set of beliefs regarding the capacity for human beings to change, along with a strategy they employ to help their clients, the coach measures their own confidence regarding their ability to help the client successfully achieve their objectives.

What I believe about the capacity for human beings to change

We are all capable of changing. For change to be sustainable, internal and external constraints must be acknowledged and mitigated or released.

Examples of external constraints are:

  1. Clients who are coping with life threatening conditions, trauma, abuse, or neglect.
  2. Clients whose social community resists the change such as someone who wants to stop drinking but continues to be influenced by a social pressure to drink.

Examples of internal constraints are:

  1. Past trauma, neglect, and abuse that has not been healed
  2. Beliefs formed by the outdated past
  3. Unconscious bias

 To sustain change, a person must:

  1. Have the mental and emotional capacity for change
  2. Believe that they can change
  3. Be willing to experience the discomfort of change
  4. Be curious or interested in themselves

To successfully support my clients as they change, I must:

  1. Be willing and able to earn, cultivate, and maintain trust between us
  2. Be willing and able to form a workable partnership between us
  3. Assume that the client is, has been, and always will be the most qualified expert in their own lives
  4. Remember that my job is to help the client achieve their coaching objectives
  5. Believe my client is capable of change
  6. Believe that my client’s aspirations are worthy of my support
  7. Recognize when I have exceeded my capacity to support my client and then either increase my capacity or acknowledge that I have exceeded my capacity to support the client and end the coaching relationship.

And that for my support to be effective, the client must:

  1. Be willing and able to develop a trusting relationship with me
  2. Be willing and able to develop a trusting relationship with themselves
  3. Be willing to take responsibility for their results

My Strategy – How I Help

I use the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model to guide my understanding of the client and their capacity for change. Because I believe that we all have the capacity for love and connection, I watch for anything in my client that doesn’t reflect love and connection. Our essence is love.

Fear cuts us off from our essence and blocks or inhibits connection with ourselves and others. Fear cuts off our access to love.

Love and Connection empower. Fear inspires protective adaptation and is disempowering.

My job as coach is to empower my clients to make and sustain the changes they desire in their lives. To accomplish this, I help my client reclaim power and choice by using the IFS model.

In this way, I help my clients become curious about the parts of themselves that block access to their Essential Selves, referred to in IFS as Self. By getting to know these parts and helping them let go of their outdated ideas and attachment to the past, and by helping the client develop a trusting relationship between Self and their parts, my clients increase their capacity for change.

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