Have you ever shared something that is on your heart with someone, and in return they jumped in with lots of questions, advice, or stories about their own experiences that related to whatever it is you’re talking about?
How did that feel?
Did you feel deeply seen & heard?
Were you able to get more clarity, or see things from a new perspective?
And yet, this is how most people talk to one another in their day-to-day conversations.
It’s also how many coaches are taught to work with clients – asking questions, creating solutions (aka giving advice), and sharing their own experiences, in an attempt to support the client with whatever they are going through.
This all comes from a well-meaning place! It may even help your client get some results.
But it is not the most effective path to create meaningful and lasting change.
In this article, we’re going to share a coaching skill that’s counterintuitive, but actually catalyzes far more powerful transformation for the person sitting across from you – whether it’s a client, a team member, or even a friend.
The coaching skill is called receptivity.
To illustrate, let’s talk about Julie – an amazing, inspirational coach and a student in our Aliveness Mastery Program.
Julie is passionate about guiding people to reach their goals. She joined the Aliveness Mastery Program to deepen her coaching skills, and is on the path to achieving mastery.
When Julie learned about receptivity, initially she was amazed because…
Well, it went against everything she naturally wanted to do as a coach!
Julie thought coaching consisted of:
- Asking lots of questions
- Listening deeply to what the client was saying
- Helping them come up with solutions to their challenges, and action steps to help them reach their goals
When she learned about receptivity (and the coaching skill of curiosity), she was initially uncertain. Could such a simple approach really get her clients where they wanted to go?
She decided to go out and try it.
In her next coaching session, she practiced sitting back in the “seat of the coach,” and creating a space for transformation to occur – rather than jumping in and trying to solve her clients’ problems.
Instead of jumping in with lots of questions and solutions, Julie sat back and observed when the light came into their eyes as they were talking. She became curious about that light, and used open-ended questions to follow the lights.
Instead of trying to fill any open spaces with more questions, she stayed receptive, curious, and waited for the client to completely talk things through. She still guided the conversation, but she found that she talked far less than she ever had in a coaching session before!
In doing so, Julie created the space for her client to experience a powerful breakthrough.
A few days later, we heard from Julie in our group thread:
“I’ve had a huge breakthrough with my client! I started using receptivity, watching for the lights, and my client told me she was able to dig deep within herself for the answers that she always had. What a powerful experience… I can’t believe it can be this easy. I used to feel like I needed to solve things. I was SO wrapped up in trying to get my clients results… and I would always worry about whether or not I was doing a good job. Now I feel this huge sense of relief. It’s like I can RELAX because when I sit in the seat of the coach I know exactly where to take them. I’m amazed at how it works!”
Receptivity may seem very simple… but it takes practice to master.
Our students are always amazed at how quickly they fall back into trying to solve things, asking questions that actually end up interrupting the flow of the coaching process, or giving (very well-meaning) advice.
On the other hand, receptivity creates a safe, trusting space for people to talk things through and come to their own realizations & clarity. Believe it or not, most people know what they want deep down. They just haven’t been able to get to it on their own – which is why they hired you!
It’s also an amazing “superpower” to master as a coach, because you will see so much more in a receptive state. By observing and gathering information to make an informed response, you are no longer IN the clients’ problems and perspectives with them.
Einstein famously said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
When you practice receptivity, you have the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.
That’s where the magic happens!
Here are 3 simple steps to begin practicing receptivity:
STEP 1: Don’t solve people’s problems. Create a space.
Whenever you feel an urge to solve people’s problems or come up with solutions, wait. Sit back and give the client space to talk and come up with their own solutions. Remember what it feels like when people jump in with lots of questions & advice? As a coach, one of the most powerful practices you can master is the art of creating a space.
STEP 2: Sit in the “seat of the coach.”
The seat of the coach is a state of being fully relaxed, yet also awake and aware. It’s about being 100% present with your client, but not getting caught up in their stories. Remember, a coaching session is not a conversation. In order to see clearly, you need to be in a receptive state where you can observe without judgement, interpretation, or any kind of opinion about what the client should or should not do. As we tell our students, “the moment you think you know what’s going on… you’re full of it!” 😉
STEP 3: Let people share their thoughts without interrupting!
Remember: the client knows exactly what they want. Most of us think we don’t know, however, curious dialogue and receptivity can open a space that allows us to deeply reflect on our desires. So, every time you want to give advice, pause instead. Ask an open-ended question like, “How do you see to approach that?” Or quite simply, “What else?” Let people share their thoughts without interrupting and you’ll be amazed at what unfolds.
Try practicing receptivity in all your relationships this week – and especially in your coaching sessions. Comment below to share what you notice. We’d love to hear from you!
Curious to dive deeper and create even more powerful transformation for your clients?
After more than 40 years of combined coaching experience, we’ve created and tested a coaching method that has created life-changing results for tens of thousands of people.
Receptivity is just the beginning…
In our coaching certification, we teach dozens of proven skills and frameworks in a LIVE online setting. You get certified in 6 months, and the remaining 3 months are all about taking you to mastery level.
Plus, we’ve paired our coaching certification program with a complete Business Bootcamp, so you can grow a thriving business and earn while you learn!
You don’t need decades of experience to gain coaching mastery. We’ve done the heavy-lifting for you, so you can get right to the best part: changing lives.
Learn more and apply now at www.AlivenessMastery.com