As coaches we work with our clients to help them through seasons of anxiety or emotional tsunamis. However, self-care is often not on own our agenda. We fool ourselves in thinking that just because we are able to help others manage turbulence in their lives, we can foresee, prevent or even manage it in our own. Not true!
Research suggests that coaches who are themselves facing difficulties, distress or stress in their lives (physical, social, emotional, spiritual, financial…) are unable to offer the best level of support to their clients (Gnilka, Chang, & Dew, 2012).
Quoting Bordin, 1979, and other researchers Gnilka et al., (2012) point out that a coach’s personal struggles, anxieties, fears, personality quirks influence the coach’s performance. In addition, these coaches report difficulty in developing a strong working alliance with their client.
An important aspect of self-care is for a coach to work with a coaching supervisor. In the supervision process the coach-supervisee works on self-awareness and working through personal obstacles. Working on self-awareness helps the coach-supervisee understand his or her own feelings and the impact they may be having on the change process (Bordin, 1983 in Gnilka et al. (2012).
It is also possible that the coach-supervisee’s personal obstacles may hinder the change process for his/her client; thus, one of the goals of supervision is to work through personal conflicts that hinder the change process. In addition to challenges in their own life, coaches are likely to feel the accumulated stress of working with various clients, managing the expectations of organizational stakeholders, and the pressure of running an independent business. No wonder a coach can feel overwhelmed!
A coach’s perception that s/he may not have the ability or resources to cope with these demands triggers anxiety, stress, and even physical illness. (Ever had a migraine before or after working with a difficult client?) One of the roles of the coaching supervisor is to help the coach-supervisee to identify, build and access coping resources. The supervision process is a multi-faceted coping resource because it provides social support, builds a coach’s self-confidence, helps reduce mental tension, and increases knowledge.
Want to increase your effectiveness as a coach? We’d be happy to share some information on how Coaching Supervision can benefit you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on our ICF approved ACTP executive coach training for Jan & March 2015 is available on https://globalcoachtrust.org/icf-acsth-actp-coach-training/.