Starting Business Consciousness Coaching
shared with the USB MPhil Class of 2019 his experience of establishing his coaching business after stepping out of the corporate world. His story is one of having to face reality and embrace change.
His journey started with a performance review in 2008 when one of the engineers on his team told him that, “you are good at what you do but not so good at how you are towards me!” Paul wondered if he was a human-doing or a human being at the time. This self-awareness launched his consciousness coaching journey and he quickly realised that there is a lot to be said for a coaching management style. It is results oriented, it is people centred, empowering and leads to self-transformation.
Paul stepped up to the challenges of being in the business of coaching by establishing what informs his coaching approach and the practicality of how to go about coaching in a commercial sense. His purpose of creating a continuous shift in business consciousness drives the coaching insights experienced by his clients and he is of the firm belief that coaching is the most effective when delivering business value.
In his talk, Paul shared some of his experiential learnings from coaching in his business:
- As his practice informs, showing up as not knowing does not mean you don’t need to know something about your client’s business. Showing up as not knowing means using incisive inquiry with context, being genuinely curious and not being attached to your client’s authentic sharing. Knowing builds client intimacy with your client. He gave an example of an Engineering Manager who was sharing his feelings of anxiety about plant availability during coaching. Paul’s engineering background did inform the relevance of his coaching inquiry and created a certain relatedness without biasing the inquiry.
- Meeting your clients where they are at does not mean that they DO have the answers. Paul’s practice includes what he calls “awareness creations,” used most effectively to unlock possibilities and creativity from within his clients. He gave an example of a senior financial manager who was having trouble sustaining his new-found approach to communicating with his people in a way that builds trust. A conversational intelligence dashboard (Glaser, 2014) equipped him with the ability to gauge the impact of the responses he was trying to create. Another example is of the manager who experimented with the truth behind her limiting assumptions using an immunity to change model (Kegan & Lahey, 2009) and found that empathy and caring served her better as a liberating assumption when trying to get the best performance from her people.
- Paul ended his talk by sharing that despite the anxiety of establishing a coaching practice, being comfortable with his feelings and emotions has allowed him to show up with his purpose in an authentic way, being patient with his impatience and testing to what extent “do I have my anxiety or does my anxiety have me?”
 Glaser, J.E. 2014. Conversational intelligence : how great leaders build trust and get extraordinary results. Brookline, MA: Bibliomotion.
Kegan, R. & Lahey, L.L. 2009. Immunity to change : how to overcome it and unlock potential in yourself and your organization. Harvard Business Press.