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Awareness as a Three-part Experience

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Note: the following article addresses a concept established and used in psychotherapy. For coaches, this concept is not intended to be utilized in a therapeutic capacity, but as inspiration for a framework to support coaching clients in their work around awareness development.

As coaches, we’re familiar with that moment of witnessing our clients in mental overdrive: brow furrowed, wheels of the mind spinning furiously, a hand to the forehead, pen poised to write, tapping the paper. It’s easy to picture because it happens all the time. In fact, regardless of our coaching specialty, clients often come to us because they’ve hit a wall with their thinking. They can’t mentally muscle their way to a new solution.

A primary piece of the Leadership and Career Coaching I offer revolves around developing awareness. A couple of years ago, a mental health practitioner introduced me to a framework that I have found to be exceptionally effective in helping clients to cultivate greater awareness. The framework, called “Zones of Awareness,” comes from the Gestalt therapy tradition and breaks the full experience of awareness down into three parts: middle zone, outer zone and inner zone.

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