In coaching, we invite people to live in a less defended, more secure way so that more of their potential is available to them. This requires them to re-allocate the precious life energy they currently expend defending aspects of themselves around which they feel less secure. The more secure they feel, the more open they are to use this energy in more generative ways. We need to do the work ourselves so we can be more radically present with our clients and show up in what are called “moments of meeting” in the attachment literature, where transformation becomes possible. This requires a level of mindfulness that is more systemic than the popular view of it as regulating ourselves cognitively. While important, the attachment research makes the case for the importance of mindfulness for mutual regulation and the development of conditions that are less disruptive and draining of regulatory capabilities. It doesn’t help in the end if we just send changed people back into unchanged environments.
As a result, I developed a series of practices called “putting mindfulness in motion” as outlined below. I find it creates a more sustained impact because it replicates the entire attachment process to help our clients mature and feel more secure. It can be used in developing coaches— as we do in our programs—and in coaching with clients. It involves providing them with:
- A sense of safe haven (i.e., through offering resonance and rapport), which increases their ability to cope on their own
- A sense of secure base (i.e., through offering new experiences and experiments), which increases their ability to connect with others
- An opportunity to upgrade their working model (i.e., through working with their underlying narrative patterns), which increases their ability to create new options
- An opportunity to re-shape the “family” system(s) in which they operate (i.e., through practicing new relational strategies), which increases their ability to contribute to better outcomes
Uncertainties are here to stay. What is needed now is to work more deeply with the essential questions before us. This is true whether we are coaching an individual, a team or an organization.
This article was originally published on the ICF Blog.