Focus and Energy in Coaching

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” Anthony Robbins

I am sure that you will all have experienced sessions that went fabulously, when everything just seemed to flow and it was almost effortless. Similarly, there will have been sessions which leave you with a sense of frustration, where things just did not seem to click, despite all your tried and tested approaches. What makes the difference? In my experience it will be attributable to the focus and energy in the session on the part of the coach or coachee or both.

One of my favourite techniques to assist my reflective learning when reviewing my coaching sessions or supervision sessions is to review the energy levels within the session – for the coach and the coachee. A great tool is Peter Hill’s FOE tool (“Concepts of Coaching- A Guide for Managers”- Peter Hill (2004) ILM). This requires you to assess the following:
•    FOCUS – The attention the coach brings to the moment.
•    OPENNESESS – The receptivity of heart and mind the coach brings to the moment.
•    ENERGY -The physical and emotional vigour the coach brings to the moment.

Although Hill focuses on the coach, I have found it useful to adapt the tool to analyse the FOE levels for the coachee as well. One of the great lessons that was imparted to me – if you really are committed to continuous improvement and striving for excellence, then you should always find at least one thing you can improve upon. Bear in mind however, that this comes with a health warning – only assess the coachee after assessing yourself as the coach.

Although reflective practice is great for honing your skills, what can you do as a coach to ensure that you optimise your energy and focus for coaching sessions? Here are some things to consider:
•    Contracting for self as “coach”– It is amazing how much time and energy we give to drafting contracts for the coachees and sponsors, but one way of ensuring that you are not overstretched or overcommitted is by treating yourself as “coach” as an additional stakeholder or party to the agreement. Choose which are the key aspects that you need to cater for (for example time between multiple sessions; start and end times etc.) and then ensure that these are specifically addressed when working out the contract.
•    Preparation & “Refresh” Time – this is particularly important when you are dealing with multiple sessions in a day. To ensure that you bring the same focus and energy to the final session as you did for the first session. Allowing time to “wind up” and “wind down” enables you to manage your energy and focus.
•    Hydration – make sure you have water to hand, keeping hydrated ensures that you maintain focus and attention.
•    Sustenance – if it’s going to be a long day, make sure that you have healthy snacks or foods available – a banana or yoghurt can be a life saver to maintain energy levels.
•    Stretch – a great way to re-energise is by getting up and stretching your legs for a short while. Why not combine the two and do a “walking” coaching session with the coachee – it can be amazing what a change of venue brings!

Those are my starters for ten- what are your hints and tips?

Martin Hill LL.B (Hons), FCMI, FInstLM, FISQC, MAC, EMCC Member, Coach & Coach Supervisor

Director for ILM 7 Coaching & Mentoring Courses

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