Activity in the midst of Calmness in the Shift phase
If you care about coaching, you care about creating change. You want your client’s lives to shift, you want them to see new possibility, you want their dreams to come true.
While this can happen anywhere in a coach conversation, the Shift phase is where this happens the most. This is where they get present to possibility, see themselves clearly, face difficult truths, and come to terms with fear, grief, and pain.
After spending hours observing Master Coaches, Samurai in the Dojo, and reflecting on my own practice, the key creating a powerful Shift is clear.
The most important practice of the Shift is the practice of activity in the midst of calmness and calmness in the midst of activity.
Which is why I’d like to challenge you this week to drop deeper into your coaching with every conversation you have, but especially each time you move from what you’re going to coach about to diving into the coaching itself (aka, when you move from the Drop to the Shift). You can do this whether you are brand new to coaching or have been coaching for over twenty years.
I’m going to offer you this challenge in two parts:
- Activity in the midst of Calmness
- Calmness in the midst of Activity
I’ll offer Part 1 of the challenge to you today and Part 2 later this week.
I also want to take this chance to invite you to come and practice this with us in our upcoming OPEN MAT SPARRING session happening on Wednesday, January 23, at 2pm EST. You can reserve your spot here.
Okay, here’s Part 1 . . .
Part 1 – Activity in the midst of Calmness
When you start as a coach silence is scary. It feels like nothing is happening, and so you tend to fill each and every silence with thoughts, ideas, words, and questions.
But then as you grow in depth you begin to get more comfortable with silence. Usually you experience the power of silence from a coach you’re working with. Or you watch a session with a master coach and you are amazed by how much they get done by saying so little.
Soon you become enamored with silence and you try saying nothing at all. But eventually you go too far, your sessions lose form and then you begin to drift back, always searching for the perfect balance of silence and speaking.
Part of the reason why using silence as a coach can feel so confusing is that coaches misunderstand how silence works in a conversation. Because silence really isn’t about silence at all. At least not in the hands of a master Samurai Coach.
When a Samurai Coach is silent, they are not just not talking. They are not holding back their questions. They are not waiting for the client to give them the answer they have already come to. No, the Samurai Coach is practicing. They are deeply present, deeply curious, and deeply open. They are silent but their silence is different.
It’s not the silence of the “not-talking game” or the silence of a stand-off. It’s the silence born out of activity in the midst of calmness.
This isn’t the only time that a Samurai Coach embodies this. In fact they are in the midst of this practice in every moment they are coaching. They are in the activity of being present, of being curious, of breathing deeply, of feeling their intuition, of standing in possibility.
But this practice is the MOST POTENT in the Shift phase. So much of the set up, the technique, the exquisite creation of the container that happened in the Open and the Drop phases of the conversation come to fruition during the Shift phase, but this set up can either be squandered or deepened. And the first part of this practice is to deepen by being active in the midst of calmness.
The reason this is Part One is that if you’re like most coaches you tend to be more active than you need to. You ask more questions than you need to. You think harder than you need to. And you try more than your clients need you to.
So to start, practice doing less in your Shift phase. Shut up, say less, ask one question instead of three, speak more slowly, listen more deeply.
And as you do all of this be active. Don’t just think, think, think while biting your tongue. Don’t be silent and lazy. Stay present. So present it almost feels like you’re sweating. Be active in the midst of calmness and notice. Notice what happens. What shifts for you as a coach?
This is a simple practice but it’s a lifelong one. One that you can return to again and again as a coach. And of course this is only the first half. In the next post I’ll talk about the other half of this practice. Calmness in the midst of Activity. Because great coaching isn’t just being quiet.
A Samurai Coach coaches by using silence as powerfully as words and words that are as powerful as silence.
If you’re not sure how to practice this, that’s okay—just try it out.
And if you want support, join us on January 23, 2pm EST for OPEN MAT SPARRING where you’ll get a chance to try this out and get some feedback.