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My Coach’s Stand

By Michael Wise
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I struggled with my coach’s stand at first. I thought I had developed several great stands and metaphors, but none of them helped. Lost and confused. I switched my stand a few times but never really connected with one. Eventually I thought, “I can just coach without a stand and I’ll be fine.” So I tried that for a while and found many sessions didn’t go as far as I would like. I let my clients linger in stories for too long or just chat.

My mentor asked what my coach’s stand was, and when I shared it, she said she didn’t feel any of that intention or energy during the session. In a moment of intuition she said, “As I listen to your coaching I keep getting an image of a flying trapeze.” In that moment something clicked and I saw clearly how my coach’s stand could support me. Since that day the flying trapeze has been my coach’s stand.

Before every coaching session I imagine my client letting go of the bar they have been holding, and reaching for a new bar. My physical stance is with my feet slightly apart and my hands stretched up and out as if reaching for the trapeze bar. My metaphor is the trapeze artist ready to fly to the next bar. My commitment is that I create a safe place where clients connect to their passions and strengths, let go and leap toward what brings them most alive, knowing that if they miss the bar, they will survive and learn something new.

Connecting with this stand has brought my coaching to a new level. When I’m stuck or my client is stuck, I think of the trapeze artist and empowering questions come to me. When I embody my physical stance and envision clients letting go of the bar, I connect them with what is calling them forward. Not only do clients let go and leap, but so do I.


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