We all hold space in our own ways – for our friends, families, colleagues and tribes – and a big part of that is being able to mindfully communicate. If you’ve found my work, it’s likely that you are a practitioner or are thinking about training to become one. This is where we can get swayed.
There are so many modalities and “talking” frameworks out there, it can be difficult to know which to learn. I believe the the most clean and stable communication foundation is a basic coaching model – but I mean old-school coaching. Not this new age coaching which is actually mentoring. The type of coaching the is fully empowering and removes our agenda or need to lead the conversation or tell the person what to do. This is an approach that gets us spiritual brownie points and quantum leaps us forward.
This is the foundation of my training and It’s kept me growing in my awareness of how my own agendas are influencing my clients. It’s also helped propel me into my potential because I am no longer creating karma through the work I do with my clients and so am free to keep liberating myself to new heights.
I’d love to share with you the basic tools – so that you can hold space clearly and powerfully with your people.
Open, Simple Questions
- Always try to keep questions open (often begin with who, what, where, when, which, how).
- Try to avoid ‘why’ as culturally this is usually perceived as wanting the person to justify their feelings, thoughts or actions.
- Ask one question at a time, give the person as much time as they need to answer – even if you feel uncomfortable with silence.
- Invite more exploration and depth or encourage someone who isn’t very responsive/talkative to feel ok at speaking about themselves.
- Praise your clients in a non-patronising way. Check in to see if they have appreciated themselves or their parts for their progress, and if they haven’t, encourage them to do so.
- Ultimately we work on being with our parts in our client sessions so that we can sidestep their agendas and show up in a clear, non-judgemental way.
- To ensure trust and to enable the coachee to feel safe and get the most from coaching, it is vital never to be judgemental or bring your own values onto their session. Try to avoid answering your own question: ‘how do you feel – I suspect you are really sad’ This not only steals the response from the person but is also a ‘leading’ question – a question which has the answer in it, or lets slip what you really think! Eg: ‘So are you just going to let them bully you like that?!’
- Try to also avoid disguising advice as a question: ‘have you thought about talking to him directly?’ You need to give them time to consider what might be the best solution for them – not tell them what you think they should do.
- This is a key coaching technique that allows the client to, pause reflect on what they are sharing, allow more insight to come forward and dig deeper. It also helps their parts to feel heard, witnessed and seen, which is therapeutic in itself for their parts.
- Be a mirror – reflecting back to your client, asking questions to help them gain a deeper understanding, being a frame for opening up their thought processes and holding the space are all part of being a mirror so the client can see their reflection clearly and see the path ahead.
- None of the above is possible without good listening skills. The tip top of listening skills is active listening – where we have expertly tuned our ear into the agenda of the client, we can patiently hear them out and naturally ask a question that helps/enables them continue to express, and where we are fully listening – not planning our next question.
- We recommend watching how well you are listening to your clients/people and notice when your attention is not fully on the other person. What sort of things are taking your attention away from listening? That’s what you need to address.
Keeping Spaces & Sessions Safe And Clean
If you find yourself in a role where you are naturally holding space for others, or this is something you do professionally – then you will benefit from keeping yourself and your space clear – so you can show up for the need of the hour and avoid burnout.
Yes this really is possible! Once we switch up our system to being Self-Led – we channel an infinite amount of energy into our life be used in which ever way its needed. If we keep doing the work to maintain this Self-Led nature and work with our parts, we grow and evolve into new territories and levels of consciousness. Because as I mentioned above – we are no longer creating karma through the work we do with others.
Here are some other practices and points to help you hold a clear, karma-free and powerful space:
Always do a U-Turn when you notice yourself activated – identify the parts of you that can become triggered and then project frustration, fear or other reactions onto your client or person you’re supporting.
Identify also the tender and vulnerable, burdened parts of you that are triggered or activated when around people or doing your work. These young parts of you may need to be unburdened and freed from their place of being stuck and isolated.
Do not be the saviour – its not our role to “save” or rescue” the client. Instead look at what judgement within us is creating this assumption – that they need saving.
Perhaps you want to identify the part of you that feel they need to rescue others, or want to help, the parts that want to lead and tell them what to do. Work on these!
Prioritise your self-practice in order to have ways to clear your energy and emotions and check in on your inner world. You can only be in service to the extent your energy and parts will allow!
If you are not feeling well or are emotionally vulnerable, then don’t hold space for others. Over-extending because our parts feel they have to or don’t want to let anyone down, is simply another part of our conditioned indent that is not serving us! We cannot give when our cup is empty!