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The Conscious Coach as Midwife

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Conceptual Meaning of the Midwife Metaphor

In our coaching community of practice, the following conceptual themes emerged in our exploration of the coach as midwife metaphor:

  • Bringing a new life is a beautiful and precious process
  • New birth can be traumatic, messy & uncomfortable
  • Coach as an accompaniment – facilitating the conditions for birthing
  • Believe in new birth: stretch support, listen and tune in
  • Enormous responsibility to be alongside, complicated but beautiful
  • Enabling giving birth to ideas

Coaching Practice Implications

We then explored what this might mean for coaching practice:

  • Requires a trusting coaching relationship
  • To sit with the coachee with whatever pain they are experiencing
  • To tune into what they need – trusting intuition and intention
  • A balance between pushing and being supportive
  • It is an additional coaching capability and leadership consciousness skill
  • It is our responsibility to stay with the awareness & discomfort of the process
  • Opening up space for courageous conversations to happen
  • Calling out and raising awareness on uncomfortable issues
  • Understand pain (painful conversation) is necessary for healing (doctor and injection)
  • Going with the client into difficult issues (race, gender, power, patriarchy)
  • Providing an intentional space to be socially conscious in the coaching ecosystem

Capacity Building for Social Change Coaching

Our last exploration enquired about our development needs as coaches in embracing the midwife as coach metaphor in our practice:

  • Creating awareness and equipping us to sit and stay with the difficult conversations
  • Becoming competent, so we are comfortable to hold and deepen the conversation
  • Working in triads to practice skills, understand how this feels and share feedback
  • More conversations with people of colour and hear real-life stories of trauma
  • Recognising and dealing with our (White) privilege, fragility, and guilt
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