As professional coaches, our role with clients is to create a safe place in which they can explore and discover what works best for them. We partner with them to create a space for them to reflect and learn. Coaches are all about learning for their clients. Does the learning stop there? I would suggest the answer is no. We also continue our learning journey that includes learning about ourselves. So frequently I hear coaches talk about how much they learn about themselves from every client they work with. What a privileged place to be, continually learning and being more of who we are. I know I learn something new about myself from every conversation I have as a coach. These opportunities help me to become more of who I am, more of who I want to be.
How do we continue to learn from every coaching interaction? Reflecting back on my last coaching conversation (and notes I have taken) helps me prepare for the next call, ensuring I stay present and totally focused on being open and non-judging. Following a call, I always take a few minutes and reflect back on the call, recalling how I did what I did, how the client responded and what I might have done differently to create even greater learning moments for the client.
Reflection occurs when we look back on what has happened in experiences we have had, situations we have been in, words we have said and ways we respond so that we can develop a greater understanding of what happened, how we showed up. It is a tool that helps us learn from our experience so we can better understand how we show up and why. (Lordanou et al 2017)
I believe reflection helps me become a better coach and a better human being, one who is living my values (both personal and professional) more of the time. If we considers our values to be connected to our ethical practice (lordanou et al 2017) then a definition of ethical maturity could be :
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the reflective, rational, emotional and intuitive capacity to decide actions are right and wrong, or good and better; the resilience and courage to implement those decisions; the willingness to be accountable for ethical decisions made (public or private); and the ability to learn from and live with the experience.” (M. Carroll and E. Shaw, pp. 30)