Experiencing the Moment
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown
Coaching for Transformation
All the things that truly matter—beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace—arise from beyond the mind. —Eckhart Tolle
Experiencing the Moment differs from every other coaching pathway, because we do not take the client anywhere, except into their present moment experience. We help the client embrace, embody and include every part of what is happening in the moment. We focus on the present with no desire to fix or move the client toward any outcome or attitude.
The process allows people to claim, experience and integrate parts of themselves that they may have pushed away, denied or avoided. When we do this, we experience a transformation. Experiencing the Moment puts people in touch with their authenticity, power, aliveness and wholeness.
To make themselves more acceptable, some clients avoid shame, discomfort or fear. Reclaiming these lost parts allows for integration and fulfillment.
Experiencing the Moment is a powerful tool for alignment and transformation. We can use it to help clients notice when they have lost connection with a part of their experience, step in to where they are in the moment, and arrive at a place of inclusion and integration where they have a new relationship with the issue they brought to coaching.
Here and Now—Four Step Process
The Experiencing the Moment process includes four key steps.
1. Notice the client’s experience
What is happening right now? What is their experience in this moment? What are they having difficulty accepting? We may notice a disconnect between what the client is saying and their tone of voice or emotion. The client may be avoiding a topic, an emotion or an experience. We pay attention when words or phrases stand out as charged with feeling. For example, we may sense a happy voice, sad voice, childlike voice or a parental voice. Our role is not to analyze the voice, but simply to notice when different aspects of the client show up.
2. Bring that experience into awareness
We can heighten our client’s awareness by asking simple questions, naming what we notice, exploring nuances or asking for clarification. Instead of connecting with how clients felt in the past, we connect with how they feel in this moment. For example:
What is this experience like for you?
When you spoke about your friend congratulating you, you started speaking really fast—almost running past the congratulations.
When you said you were surprised that your friends remembered your birthday, you sounded like a happy child. You say you are sad you didn’t get the promotion last month. How is that impacting you now?
3. Explore here and now
First we invite our clients to step into their experience and explore further. We might say, “It looks like you are having trouble enjoying and celebrating the project completion. What happens if you step into and stay with your experience? A simple question might be: “How do you feel when you give yourself permission to feel your confl icting emotions?
As we take the client into their experience of the moment and keep them there, we allow the process to unfold. Clients experience transformation when they move from avoiding and pushing away the discomfort to including and integrating their experience. As clients notice and reflect on their emotions, sensations, images and thoughts long enough, they create space for transformation. Often clients experience a shift. They move into a different relationship with an experience or part of themselves. From this place of alignment they can make new choices and take action.
4. Integrate the learning
The client sets the direction, taking the lead and moving toward awareness, learning or action. Often the session ends in action, doing something with the new awareness or learning. Or the action may focus on further reflection and integration. We don’t assume that all sessions need to end in action. We might end with a powerful inquiry to take the wisdom deeper, with no action items at all. For example:
How can you keep that insight alive over the next week?
How will you stay connected with that powerful metaphor?
What would it look like to live from the wisdom of your body each day?
Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.
Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.
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