In the world of coaching, I believe there is a key element that separates the good from the great: authenticity.
The ability to be your true self as a coach is paramount in establishing a deep and meaningful connection with your clients. You cannot expect your clients to tap into their authentic selves if you, as their coach, are wearing a mask and responding in a manner you believe is expected of you.
And you may well be doing just that if you have been trained in the traditional way.
From the very first encounter with your clients, it is essential to greet them as your genuine self. Gone are the days of the stoic poker face; coaches are not robots. Instead, embrace the reality that coaching is a co-created relationship where both parties show up without masks.
If you are a hugger, hug.
I greet every single new client with a hug, whether they be a CEO in a large corporate, a Barrister or a Teacher, I hug.
Nobody has ever refused a hug and it’s a genuine exchange of intimacy that is so crucial to building trust.
Old hat polish and professionalism would have us shake hands and keep the distance, but honestly, this will keep the coaching relationship at a transactional level which won’t allow for deep transformational shift.
When you hide behind a façade, constantly calculating your every move, you are masking your true self and inhibiting the growth of a solid rapport with your clients. Coaches truly need to get over themselves in this regard, and stop second guessing everything.
The coaching journey is a collaborative one, where both coach and client embark on a path of self-discovery and transformation. By allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment, you can respond naturally and authentically to your clients’ needs. Authenticity breeds trust, and trust is the foundation upon which rock-solid relationships are built.
In a world filled with filters, personas and pretenders, the coaching space must remain an oasis of authenticity. Clients seek coaches who are genuine, relatable, and unafraid to show vulnerability. The coach who wears a mask and hides behind their pretender, may initially seem polished and professional, but it is the coach who embraces their true self that creates lasting impact and meaningful change.
When your clients share stories of shame or vulnerability, it is crucial to respond authentically. Resist the urge to deliver pre-packaged responses or advice. Instead, draw upon your own experiences and wisdom, allowing your genuine self to guide your words. By doing so, you validate your clients’ emotions and create a safe space for them to explore their deepest fears and insecurities.
Authentic coaching goes beyond words. It is reflected in your body language, tone of voice, and overall demeanor. When you truly embody your authentic self, your clients will sense it. They will feel seen, heard, and understood. Authenticity has a way of cutting through the noise and reaching the core of human connection.
It is worth noting that embracing authenticity does not mean you need to be flawless or have all the answers. In fact, vulnerability and humility are essential components of authenticity. When you show up as your genuine self, complete with imperfections and a willingness to learn, you create an environment where your clients feel comfortable doing the same.
Authenticity breeds courage. When your clients witness your authenticity, they are inspired to be authentic themselves. This creates a powerful dynamic that propels them forward on their personal journey. By shedding the masks that society often demands, they can tap into their true potential and live a life aligned with their values and aspirations.
As a coach, it is your responsibility to cultivate an atmosphere of authenticity. Encourage your clients to be their true selves, free from societal expectations and judgments. Embrace their uniqueness, celebrating the qualities that make them who they are. By doing so, you empower them to step into their own power and discover their innate strengths.
Embrace the power of being present and responding naturally. Your clients will appreciate your genuine approach, and the relationships you build will be unshakeable. Remember, authenticity is not just a hashtag; it is a way of life in the coaching realm.