Coaching Mastery: Insight Before Action


Having a little self-care Sunday time today after a morning walk to the beach and it got me thinking about one of the many profound skills we teach coaches - it’s all about helping our clients gain insight before taking action.

Gaining insight could take five minutes or it could take 5 sessions or more. Put simply, it takes as long as it takes. But, asking a client to develop actions before insight is a futile effort.

One of the ways a coach knows if their client has gained the insight needed is whether or not their client takes the action they say they want to take.

If a client is just “will powering” themselves through it, with only grit, the actions feel quite forced. I generally notice the unconscious metaphors and language my clients use in this unaligned state is much like that of a battlefield within themselves.

Phrases like, “it felt like an uphill battle this week..” or “I put on my boxing gloves to prepare for…” or “I grit my teeth and forced myself to…”.

I also tend to hear a lot of “shoulds”or “coulds” or “need tos”.

And frequently they ask themselves… “Why can’t I just???”.

All of these are indicators that a client is not yet committed to the action and aren’t fully aligned within themselves. They may sense the action they would like to take, but the insight they are looking for has not yet been uncovered to enable them to take it.

Clients can come into these sessions feeling very frustrated and annoyed with themselves. Often times with a lot of shame - or on the other end of the spectrum, complete apathy.

I found myself feeling this internal battle this week around a particular action that I’d like to be taking, but am not. So, in my “Coach Val” way - I got really present with what was going on for me. Instead of feeling shame and asking questions about why I’m not taking the action, or setting a new goal or finding a new approach - I asked some questions instead about alignment and beliefs I’m holding. But, mostly, I did some thing that most of us were not taught to do. I sat with this part of me and gave her a lot of extra, tender, loving care and told her that it’s OK that she’s not taking action right now.

I loved her. I held her. I had a conversation with her as if she were my child - my inner child. She cried. She laughed. She felt seen and heard and then she shared what the adult me needed to know. She gave me all the insight I needed.

She doesn’t have to be scared anymore - I’ve reassured her. And now, finally, adult me, is ready to take aligned action.

How do you want to be held by yourself today?

#lifecoach #selfcaresunday #leadershipskills #innerleadership


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