Some of us are walking in wakefulness whilst many of us are sleepwalking when we have the greatest gift of all, the power to create. Only when we are aware, we can accept, we can choose to create. In the coaching journey, awareness is an inside-out process, which needs positive alignment, empowering context, positive anticipation and openness to create sustainable actions for change. Through this creation, awareness to unpack & let go is equally important as we strive for breaking patterns. We can use the T.E.A. (thoughts, emotions, action) model to unravel the state of awareness of the client.
Firstly, I like the change of this Core Competency and its definition from Creating Awareness (Ability to integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client to gain awareness and thereby achieve agreed-upon results) to Evokes Awareness (Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy). I felt by no means, we as coaches (or anyone for that matter) can create awareness for another individual, however, good coaches can evoke awareness through facilitation of insights and using tools.
Secondly, the new sub-competencies preserves the baton of empowerment with the client, where the coach is simply considering, challenging, sharing and inviting. Here I find that the pre-condition of the client should already be of willingness to change (especially if the coach has conducted all the steps prior accordingly).
Finally, as there are many models of the different states of awareness, such as Freud’s 3 levels of awareness – conscious, pre-conscious and sub-conscious, a coach is providing a platform where the opportunity for awareness may emerge. Whether through listens actively, powerful questions or use of analogies to evoke awareness that is needed for progress or a compelling, sustainable change. Evoke is indirect and has the potential for emotional and intellectual effect (according to Grammarly).
Hmmmm, how do I illustrate this?
Let’s take this example, Ms X, a workaholic mum of 3, a pillar in a large MNC, that has approach a coach for help. She is a pivotal cog in the organization, but never considered for top management, and she cannot phantom the reasons she has always been overlooked (more than a handful count). She seems to be doing everything right, great work performance, networking, office gatherings, regional meetings, and always on the ball to reply emails no matter time and day. Frustrated, overwhelmed, nearly defeated, and almost ready to throw in the towel, she reaches out and seeks for help. Perhaps we may assume that at her level of seniority at the work, her age, her leadership capabilities, that she would have some insights to what is actually happening to her, and around her. Well, how many of us have just been in that same spot, running the hamster wheel? Whilst, she realized this, it will take more to decide that the joyride is over, and it’s time to step off.
Through listens actively and powerful questions on the sub-competencies, the coach of the client will/may unravel some unknown areas.
- Considers client’s situation/reality
- What is happening at the moment?
- How is this impacting you?
- Please share what does…
- What are you doing about it? What does it mean to you?
- Challenges client’s status quo
- What would you like changed?
- What else?
- Is there anything more?
- Who could help you in the process? Who else?
- What is holding you back to make the change?
- Shares observation, feelings, insights, learning
- What are you thinking? What are you feeling?
- What are your 3 insights here?
- Why did you belief so?
- What would it take to shift from feeling X to feeling Y?
- Invites client to generate options to move forward
- What are the 3 things that you could commit to? By when?
- What if you could do it freely, without judgement, what would you do?
- What would be considered as a progress?
- How would you make progress in 1 week? 1 month? 1 year?
These questions will help Ms X to understand her current reality, her insights, her beliefs, and in hope that she will find some options to move forward with commitment, using the Johari’s Window, a self-awareness tool. With her coach, Ms X will be able to uncover her BLIND SPOTS, and perhaps even some UNKNOWN traits that could maximize her potential.
Basically the Johari’s Window positions areas that are known / unknown to self and known / unknown to others in a grid to understand traits, personalities and behaviours of an individual. There are open areas, hidden, blind spots and the unknown. From here, the client will realise (or not) what areas that are unknowing to him/herself whether through feedback, observation, and make sense to the current reality. Discovering the unknown will also expand and challenge the client to the next level.
As we rush to hustle our every day lives, the client may find a challenge in finding space for self-awareness. The coach can help to uncover some positive practices that will help the client to find opportunities for deeper, greater self-awareness. Some may take to journaling, painting, meditation to explore different thoughts, expressions and inner beliefs that may reveal a different point of themselves. Some may find listening to powerful affirmations, inspirational videos, or reading self-help books will move something within them. Most importantly, is to encourage the client to break his/her current patterns and routines so that he/she may be exposed to different insights.
Whilst the coach is busy evoking awareness, my key take-away here is that it is the SELF-AWARENESS of the client that is most precious and valuable. The coach must hold steadfast to preserve a positive, non-judgmental environment, and that this discovery must emerge from the client him/herself. Many a times, I have always been in position to see the blind spots of the client clearly, however, it remains dubious, evasive to the client. Itching to point it out, the tongue that holds, enables the eyes to see. Eventually and patiently, the client will nail it. An epiphany! Suddenly there is light at the end of the tunnel.
So, what happens next, stay tuned as we follow Ms X in her next step of Designing Actions…