In the ICF Comparison Table on how coaching competencies are evaluated, the information includes these statements:
- Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client – Coach is comfortable not knowing as one of the best states to expand awareness in.
- Powerful Questioning – The coach is not afraid of questions that will make either the coach or the client or both uncomfortable.
What does “being uncomfortable” mean? A Google search turns up this definition: causing or feeling unease or awkwardness.
What happens if a coach is uncomfortable? Then the coach is doing their job! Coaching certification includes learning the ethics and the competencies of a coach, and the ICF Comparison Table for evaluating competencies (cited above) is provided to participants in the first class. Coaching focuses on the client and coaching questions are for the benefit of the client – it is part of the process for the coach to be uncomfortable.
What happens if a client is uncomfortable? The coach recognizes that creating meaningful change can be uncomfortable and according to the above, if a client is uncomfortable that is ok. As a coach it means preparing the client for the coaching process and supporting them when they are uncomfortable. Please note: supporting is very different from rescuing. This means that coaches learn to accept being uncomfortable and to simply sit with clients who are uncomfortable so they discover their own answers. For example, during coach training the power of silence is practiced. Learning to flex tone, pace, and language to the client is also an essential part of the coaching certification.
How appropriate is being uncomfortable? Ultimately if change and success were easy then everybody would be creating change and success. The reality is that change and success are uncomfortable and a willingness to be uncomfortable and move forward supports success.