Home Concepts Best Practices Why a Coach Cannot Create Awareness for the Client

Why a Coach Cannot Create Awareness for the Client

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Self-awareness is crucial to cultivating coaching presence, especially when it comes to identifying our own biases. It’s through self-awareness that we begin to understand how our own thinking can limit our clients and their ability to gain the awareness they desire in order to move forward toward their desired outcomes.

For coaches to be of full service to their clients, they need to pay attention not only to their clients’ ways of processing their thoughts and feelings, but also to their own. We are limited in our ability to create the potential for awareness to occur by our own mindsets and biases as human beings. As coaches, we need to become aware of our biases—how we listen, what we listen for, what we include and what we exclude so we can be more purely present as vessels listening for and receiving the whole of our clients.


When the coach is fully present and has highly attuned sensory perception and listening, it’s more likely she will ask a powerful question of the client or make a direct observation that prompts deeper thinking.

The coach’s role is to provide an environment where there is potential for awareness to emerge. The coach cannot create awareness for the client or have awareness on behalf of the client. Sometimes a coach will say something like, “Wow, that’s powerful.” Just because the coach thinks it’s powerful doesn’t mean the client does. In these moments, a coach runs the risk of taking away the client’s opportunity to make her own connections and have the joy of awareness come through her.

You will know the client is experiencing emerging awareness if she is silent after you make an observation or ask a question and then says something like, “Hmmmm … let me think about that.” She might even say, “That’s a great question.” Or she may say nothing at all: Often, you know awareness is emerging when the client becomes quiet or reflective.

As the coach, you want to be present to the signs of emerging awareness and give your client the space to think and reflect more. Be totally present and just listen. Coaches often miss these moments of gold because they’re still talking or thinking of what they want to say next. You are missing the very point of coaching when you step on or over emerging awareness, or when you are unconscious to what is occurring for the client.

Allow the client to process her thoughts or feelings. After a while, if the client doesn’t say anything, you might want to ask a question, such as, “May I ask what that question is revealing to you?” Or if the client becomes quiet and reflective, you may want to inquire of the client, “May I ask what you are thinking (or feeling) right now?”

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