A key element of coaching is creating awareness in the client. Before achieving change, a person must recognize that there are areas in which improvement is needed and that he or she can work towards making those improvements. The coach cannot force the client to have awareness, but it is possible to facilitate the development of awareness. I use several methods to create awareness in my clients. The first method is the process of Socratic inquiry (competency D.8.2), in which I ask the client questions such as “What are your thoughts about (a certain area)?” An example would be, “What are your thoughts about broadening your network?” The client shares a thought, and the next question might be “Is that thought based on facts or feelings?” Another way to create awareness is to make a charge of major strengths and major areas for growth (competency D.8.8). It is essential to use positive terminology (i.e. “areas for growth” rather than “weaknesses”) in order to encourage the client to believe in his or her self-efficacy. Finally, I give examples of previous clients or books I have read to help the client identify new thoughts and perceptions that could increase the ability to achieve his or her desires (competency D.8.4). For instance, I might say “I have read about several women who were confronted with health issues, such as diabetes or cancer, but they had such a strong belief in their ability to make changes that their illnesses became significantly improved,” and then give details. The aspect of creating awareness that I find most challenging is to avoid pushing too hard. Especially when I have the greatest desire myself for the client to improve, I feel that if I try just a bit harder, it may be enough to dislodge old ways of thinking and behaving. However, it is crucial to avoid going too far.
- International Coach Federation (ICF). (n.d.). Core competencies. Retrieved from https://www.coachfederation.org/credential/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=2206