Coaching Presence

According to the ICF Core Competency number four, coaching presence is the ability to be fully conscious and to create spontaneous relationships with the clients, employing a coaching style that is open, flexible and confident. What does coaching presence look like in practice?

As trained coaches, we have all heard of, and likely learned to use, the skill of “dancing in the moment.” Coaching with mindfulness is inherent to this concept. We are constantly noticing and trusting our own intuition, our inner knowing or our gut. Our interpretation of intuitive moments may not always be correct for the client, but we don’t ignore it. In fact, we call attention to it and ask the client what, if anything, it means to her/him. This is taking a risk because our interpretation may have been entirely incorrect. Allowing this level of vulnerability in the coaching session is a great example of being “open to not knowing,” which is part of coaching presence. This does not align with our novice efforts to appear to know what we are talking about at all times.

As we become more mature in our coaching presence, we will be more comfortable choosing what might be most effective in working with a client.  In our novice view of coaching presence, we probably would not consider that using humor might actually free up the energy in a coaching moment to help a client shift perspectives and to experiment with new possibilities for growth and movement toward goals. Yet, such moments can evoke strong emotions in both the coach and the client. As the coach demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions and can self-manage and not be overpowered or enmeshed by the client’s emotions, the client will also learn similar skills.

Coaching presence does involve showing up with confidence and representing the profession favorably in demeanor, attitude, intellect, spirit, emotional health, etc. That said, the more mature coach will learn to be fully present for and with the client, not having the answers for the client, and being okay with that. We are here to journey with our clients as they find their own path to the truth.

Karen Hendrix, MBA, ACC, CCCKaren Hendrix, MBA, ACC, CCC believes that each one of us is placed on this planet with God given gifts, personalities, core values as well as life and educational experiences that allows us to bring something to the world that no other individual can bring. She believes it is our joy and our duty to explore what that uniqueness is and to serve for the betterment of humanity by sharing our uniqueness. One way I contribute is by teaching and mentoring new coaches as they have the opportunity to go out and reach others. As a human being, she contributes by affirming and empowering others to live in alignment with their purpose.  You can learn more about Karen by visiting

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