Presence-Based Coaching video series featuring Doug Silsbee
1: Capacity to Witness
The first video is an introduction to the experience of presence. The starting point is that we begin to notice whatever is going on inside of us, whatever that is. We see that this witnessing is in fact a miracle; that to be able to simultaneously have an experience and witness ourselves having that experience is new and radical. We consider leadership as an act of authoring the 13.8 billion year unfolding story of evolution, in which we are all characters.
This perspective offers an explanatory context for leadership, and for understanding that our capacity to witness ourselves and to choose how we lead our lives shapes our authorship.
2: Project and Curriculum
Leadership coaching offers a distinction between what we’re up to in the world (Project) and the self-work that is also required of us (Curriculum.) Development is accelerated through the interconnectivity of these two tracks. As coaches and leaders, we become much more intentional when we recognize and honor the interdependent, mutually reinforcing nature of these two streams.
Project and Curriculum require and support each other, unfolding over time. Paying attention to either to the exclusion of the other creates problems.
3: Habit Nature
Presence is waking up to our habit nature. We each live in a metaphorical “Bell Jar” that represents our limited set of embodied interpretations and narratives. On the one hand, our Bell Jar has served us well. At the same time, it restricts us and precludes possibilities that would be readily apparent without our perceptual limitations and filters.
Leadership coaching, in essence, requires supporting our clients in recognizing and freeing themselves from this habit nature. Building presence as a default state means increasingly living outside of these limitations.
4: Urges and Choices
We can train ourselves to witness the underlying urges that precede all behavior. These urges shows up somatically, as a felt sense; the justifying narrative and behavior actually follow this urge. Recognizing our urges before the resulting behavior, and claiming the power of our own choice, is the key to resilience.
5: Core Map
This is a quick overview of the core Presence-Based® Coaching model. Building on a foundation of traditional problem-solving based coaching, we include a developmental focus on the clients’ inner states, habit nature and potential.
We assume that the client will be revealed in the present moment if we’re both paying attention. The client learns to witness both her habit nature and a simultaneous greater sense of possibility. We work in real-time with the client’s inner state as a crucial element of the current situation, and as the key to enabling new outcomes and possibilities.
We see that coaching is not in fact magical; that the client can build a reliable capacity to embody more resilient, creative states. The work of coaching then becomes building physiological support for what the client is committed to.
6: Working in the Present
Coaching includes both inner moves through which we become present, and relational moves, done with the client, that invite the client into present-moment awareness.
This video features commentary on live coaching demonstrations, and teases apart some of the power available to us when we work in the present. We differentiate between talking about competencies that we will use “out there,” and building actual competencies that we can only ever really do in the present moment through recognizing and shifting our inner states as they arise.
“Catching a habit in the act” produces choice. It relies on the meta-competency of witnessing. Coaching sessions offer rich possibilities for doing this with great immediacy, in service to building long-term competency.
7: Introducing Presence-Based Methods to Clients
Students often ask how they can use consciousness-based and somatic coaching moves with busy executive or government clients who are highly skeptical about “soft and fuzzy” approaches to change. We offer four principles. Start small. Speak to the client’s structure of interpretation. Provide a narrative of relevance. Trust a client’s willingness in the name of an interesting experiment.
Doug shares an example of a simple somatic, presence-based coaching move with a Type A high powered business leader. The move opened, for the client, a completely new awareness that led to new conversations about congruence, authenticity and leadership.
We offer new coaching moves with lightness and spaciousness, accepting that they might not work. It is easy to convince ourselves about the client’s lack of willingness to try something new and risky; of course, this is sometimes just a way to keep ourselves comfortable!
Audio interview with Joel Monk, of Coaches Rising
Listen as Doug & Joel explore together the reciprocal nature of the commitments we make in the world and the underlying stream of our own development, the nature of presence, and practices for working with our attachments and aversions to achieve real and lasting change.