Being before doing


Getting things done.  Achieving the goals we set ourselves or that are set for us through our organisations.  Surpassing previous performance levels.  And simply dealing with the administrative and logistical demands of everyday life.

It’s so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of ‘doing’ in order just to get through every day, forgetting engagement with the bigger picture – what it’s about,  where we’re really going, what our guiding principles are, and – so importantly – the interconnecting, systemic and interdependent factors and features that underpin any given situation and that circumscribe inevitable complexity.  Because complexity, turbulence and multiple pressures and perspectives are a constant in both our professional and personal lives, we ignore them at our peril.


Skills and techniques

Like many coaches, my original training emphasised ‘doing’, from the point of view of both the coach and the coaching client (often called the ‘coachee’ – which always suggests to me something being ‘done to’ them rather than their being in any sense a partner in a collaborative relationship of equals).  I recognise that’s a sensible place to start with those new to coaching: skills, techniques, tools and prescribed processes.


Profound reflection

Over the last 12 years or so – as I’ve engaged at depth with what my executive coaching clients really need – I’ve become not only increasingly orientated towards their development, but also more conscious, particularly of the power of profound reflection.

I’m an executive coach who enables developmental reflection.  Coaching clients who may have started off with a specific question, or indeed who didn’t know at the start of their coaching programmes how to articulate their questions or needs in terms of clear objectives, but simply knew that something needed to be different or more meaningful, have ended their programmes realising that they have been able to become more of who they really were, and, as part of the journey, to discover how important ‘being’ was to them.  That ‘being’ has ultimately translated itself into change and into more effective leadership.  During the journey many of my clients have found a personal peace that was new for them.


Clients’ comments

One client remarked: “Each session was very insightful and helped me to look for my self worth and identity within myself. You helped me make a paradigm shift  in just being: self care with small steps and seeing that my value and right of existence is not derived from affirmations, external to me. ‘Just being’ is something I learned from you, building ‘do nothing’ time with journaling made me see the lessons and opportunities in every challenge”.

Another client commented: “[Lindsay] is astute in applying a laser focus to what is truly being said, drawing equally on what is not said in order to co-create new thinking and potential change interventions….. reflecting on the whole experience, I have been able to effect a paradigm shift in those areas identified at the beginning as well as those areas which emerged through our time together.”


A relational process, leading to transformation

Needless to say, what’s been going on for me helps explain what’s been going for my clients: executive coaching has at its heart the relationship between the client and myself: a relational process in which we each respond moment-by-moment to the other and to the impact of the other on our own experience, processes and patterns.

A central part of this relational process is the expansion of awareness beyond thinking alone: moving into a space where both client and I let go of knowing, and experience the emergence of different types of awareness that can bring deep insights on which they can then act.

That’s real change – real transformation.


How I ‘be’

These processes and patterns, converting themselves constantly into my experience at cognitive, emotional, somatic and intuitive levels, underpin the way I ‘be’ with clients.  That ‘being’ shows up not in a high profile for ‘right and wrong’ or specific techniques, but rather for connecting, relating and listening at a deep level.  This is facilitated by the influence of a number of ways of being that have had – and continue to have – particular impact for me and indeed for the way I live my personal and professional life: deep presence and attunement, compassion, awareness of psychological safety, systemic awareness and curiosity, self-awareness, trauma awareness  and, most recently, engagement with focussing through the felt sense – a profound connection with my own somatic and emotional experience and with the experience of my focussing partner.


Clients’ outcomes

My own development in these ways is allowing me to engage with my clients, their preoccupations and their contexts, in ways which enable a new quality of reflective awareness for them that invariably means they relate to their situations, their possibilities and their options from new, expanded perspectives.  They  realise they have resources they never dreamed of, which offer them a new level of versatility, breadth of vision and creativity, and a resulting sense of calm yet alert confidence, capability and capacity to take on with greater equanimity their complex and constantly-changing challenges.



Photo by Flash Dantz on Unsplash

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