Being the Best Coach or Mentor You Can Be 2: Absolute Focus

The ability to have ‘Absolute Focus’ is central to effective coaching and mentoring.

At a surface, or conscious, level you may believe that the statement – ‘Absolute Focus’ is central to effective coaching and mentoringis very obvious to any coach or mentor. You might also feel that it is relatively easy to do – at least for sustained periods of time. By ‘sustained periods of time’ I mean around 10–20 minutes, which is the suggested maximum attention span for an adult who is fully engaged and motivated. Unless, of course, you are a frequent user of technology – but that is another story! Perhaps another blog?!

However, as an effective coach or mentor already, you will know that ‘Absolute Focus’ is not just about conscious thought . . . and that continuing to Be the Best Coach You Can Be is much more complex. For me, this is one of the reasons why becoming a coach requires much, much more than just learning coaching and mentoring skills which you are able to apply as part of your day to day work.

In my last Blog>>, I began an exploration of ‘Absolute Focus’ by considering how the ability to be able to ‘know’ yourself is central to being able to still your own ‘stuff’ when you are coaching or mentoring. And, from my regular observation of successful aspiring and experienced coaches and mentors attending coaching and development programmes, I would place this at the top of my list of ‘must haves’. That essential first step to Being the Best Coach You Can Be. However, there is more still to consider.

So – if ‘knowing’ yourself is the first step what is the second step?

The second step is the ability to ‘know’ not only what is going on in your conscious self but also to have ready access to what is going on in your unconscious self.

What do I mean by ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’?

Put very simply – as I know that for some, mention of the unconscious can be a quite difficult area for some of our clients – I mean, what you are aware of in your mind ‘right now’ and what you are not aware of in your mind ‘right now’. The research, as we know, tells us that it is the ‘what you are not aware of in your mind right now’ which is far more influential in terms of communication. Influential, in that it the words spoken by our client that we need to pay ‘absolute’ attention to AND what is not spoken.

While there might be differing views about the percentages we need to take account of in terms of verbal and non verbal communication, there is no dispute that it is the non verbal which takes up the lion’s share. As a coach or mentor you miss this at your peril! Although, it is also important to remember that even the spoken words are unlikely to be ‘received’ as they are ‘given’.

So for me sensory acuity is the second step towards being able
to have an ‘absolute focus’ on your client.

What do I mean by sensory acuity?

Again put simply, the ability to have all your senses so well honed that nothing of importance to the success of your coaching or mentoring session passes you by – although, as with most things in coaching and mentoring this opens up a further area to explore.

We’ll continue to explore this theme of ‘absolute focus’ in my next blog.

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