“Recent advances in neuroplasticity show that with awareness, motivation and focused attention we can change anything about ourselves. When Tony Dickel first made this provocative and scientifically grounded statement during our Advanced Professional Coach training program our participants were intrigued and inspired. One of the key success characteristics for coaches is a continual commitment to development. Coaches coach toward the end results of self-awareness, self-regulation and self-origination which in turn leads to the development of long term competency. And in order to partner with their clients to this end, coaches need to manifest these qualities themselves.
The inspiration for coaches has two expressions.
- They can continue to develop in ways they had not imagined. They can remain genuinely committed to their own transformations rooted in the knowledge that everything can be changed in the service of genuine happiness and professional fulfilment.
- They can be meaningfully involved in partnering in a form of coaching that ultimately results in limitless transformations at multiple levels. They can continue to add value to their clients in deepening levels of sticky change.
Once we believe that when it comes to change, “anything is up for grabs”, it opens up a vast new array of choices that result in meaningful sustainable development. This in turn leads to skillful choices, actions and therefore better results for themselves and their organsations, consistently.
Focused attention is a choice. This requires us to be aware of what we are focusing on in any given moment and then consciously choosing to attend to whatever will best serve our short and long term goals. We essentially choose the object of our focus and then attend to that with our whole person. This increases efficiency and productivity, as well as increasing our satisfaction and ultimately happiness.
Fortunately the above faculty (being able to select our object of focus) is now known to be something which can be cultivated. One of the key roles of an excellent coach is to help their clients become aware of what they really want and what they need to focus their attention on in order to move toward what they desire. This requires, for coaches, the ability to sustain focused attention on their clients, remaining fully present and resourceful for them at all times and withdrawing attention from unwanted distractions, including those of the mind.
It would be useful for us as coaches to reflect on recent coaching conversations that we have had and consider; What we were choosing to pay attention to? What we focused on in the coaching conversation? And Where could we develop this crucial transformational coaching skill?.
Craig McKenzie and Tony Dickel