Most of us remember with fondness those teachers who made a positive impact on us (and maybe more teachers who didn’t!). For me in Year 11, it was my Science teacher who encouraged me to keep going after an epic fail in my Geology mock exam. His teaching style, different than most at that time, was discovery oriented and coupled with his belief in my ability to succeed, encouraged me to persevere. He wrote the most humane and encouraging end of year report of all time, securing my loyalty and determination. He was also rather cool and drove a smart, racing green sports car!
Later, whilst in a challenging role as Head of Science in an overseas school, my new Head Teacher noted my struggle, recognised elements of self-doubt and issued me an open invitation: visit and talk anytime Lisa, my door is open always. Really. And it was. And I did. She had a presence and way of being which was unique. She wasn’t a dynamic speaker, she didn’t have a vibrant, extrovert personality and she wasn’t cool or hip: instead she was genuine to the core, with an authentic way of being treating everyone as people of intrinsic worth, dignity and value.
What is it about such educators that leads to this positive and lasting impact? Many appear to have some of the qualities Goleman refers to as emotional intelligence: empathy, communication and self-control.
They usually prefer to be the catalyst in others’ lives and often have that precious and rare attribute humility which is evocative and powerful to move others forward. There’s a high degree of respect for each person, of affirming others contributions and of desiring to unlock potential.
The International Coach Federation’s (ICF) coaching competency Coaching Presence highlights these people as “being fully conscious and creating spontaneous relationships… employing a style that is open, flexible and confident” and which Carl Rogers refers to as a “way of being” of the coach. Whilst trusting the coaching process and regarding the coachee as creative, resourceful and whole are crucial components of good coaching, “presence” and a “way of being” of the coach can be more effective in moving people towards their goals.
And then of course we know the wonderful presence of Emmanuel: God with us. As believers in Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, we are full of His Presence and bring Him to our coaching interactions. Leaning into Him we can discern His direction and pray for our clients. In His presence is fullness of joy!
As a Mentor Coach to new coaches I often say: stop doing coaching and start being a coach. It’s hard to explain the difference but once experienced it’s a way of growing ourselves and our coachees too. So, is this presence taught or caught? Is it learned or innate? Some coaches have that natural ability to ‘be’ a coach rather than ‘do’ coaching more than others. Regardless, it is an attribute worth spending time on developing and as teacher coaches we have opportunities to explore more and ask ourselves:
- How can we learn from those coaches who have this coaching presence or way of being?
- How might it promote coaching interventions in our schools?
- What can we do to better to understand how we are perceived by others?
- How might you bring His presence more fully into your coaching conversations?
- What might God be asking of you as a coach this year?
Lisa’s Challenge: What is one thing you can do this week to move into a place of being rather than doing coaching in your organisation?
About the Author – Lisa Face of Lisa Face Coaching: Lisa’s coaching services include: professional coach training, leadership and career transition support via workshops, group coaching and one to one coaching. She is an ICF Certified Coach specialising in Christian Life and Leadership Coaching and a Board Director with UK ICF. Her heart is to use coaching to support leaders and professionals across diverse sectors, including Christian leaders, to equip them to lead and serve from a solid foundation and in so doing help grow the kingdom of God through their workplace ministries. Learn more www.lisaface.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
REFERENCES: Core Competencies, https://coachfederation.org/files/FileDownloads/CoreCompetencies.pdf
Rogers, C (1995) A Way of Being, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1995 (reprint 1980)