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Gestalt Coaching for Awareness Management: The Elements of Mastery

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The Gestalt coach seeks the figure, like Ted’s fear of failure, which has the most interest or energy for the client. Awareness of the figure is needed before we can offer our observations, aware projections, feedback, and inquiry. Then, after identifying the figure, it is important to determine which level of system (LOS) holds the work—individual, interpersonal, or group. The Cycle of Experience (COE) is a tool to determine both the figure and the boundary of the work to manage and prevent incorrect LOS awareness, allowing focus on the appropriate intervention process.

Process Tools

Gestalt coaching gives leaders experiential opportunities to explore how they “show up” to others and to experiment with how to use themselves effectively. It is the Cycle of Experience with the Unit of Work (UOW) that are process tools that aid the coach’s shaping of these opportunities. The COE is a tool to track awareness moments and the habitual patterns that serve or interfere with goal attainment. Using the COE with our executive Ted allowed him to become aware of his sensations of discomfort and shame around offering sympathy in relation to failure. The coach can use the COE to offer observations, make projections, and give data-based feedback. The COE made figural to Ted that he managed his discomfort and shame by avoiding situations that were in fact opportunities to offer compassion and support around failure.

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