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Presence boosts two key competencies:

  1. strategic thinking and
  2. relationship engagement.

Lose your presence and you:

  1. lose your ability to think of options and solutions… and
  2. minimize your ability to create a sense of psychological safety for your client.

What triggers a loss of presence for you? Do you relate to any of these scenarios?

Fear of Offending
The person you coach may take offense at a seemingly innocuous comment you’ve made. This offense could be based on any number of variables—extra stress that you know nothing about, a prior history of trauma, a lack of sleep the night before, and more.

Our first reaction is often to apologize. As polite as an apology may be, within a coaching relationship, consider instead curiosity. For example, “It sounds like that comment triggered something—what came up for you when you heard it?”

Coaching Presence is the ability to
deal with offended-ness with curiosity and compassion.

Fear of Reputation Loss
It’s human nature to want to be thought well of, to be accepted, to be held in high regard—especially when we’re getting paid to coach and be of value. When we fear others’ opinions, we begin to second-guess ourselves as coaches, and withhold saying what our internal wisdom is telling us. Although timing and tact are important, never withhold! Withholding is a cue to loss of presence.

Coaching Presence is the ability to
value, love, and believe in yourself, even when others don’t.

Fear of Disagreement or Conflict
As a coach, it’s your responsibility to make observations about what you see happening in your client. For example, “[Client], when your boss says [x], it causes you to react and get defensive, with the impact being an escalation of tempers.” If your client disagrees with you, discounts the comment, or gets reactive, it can cause us to back-pedal or appease—both of which signal a loss of presence.


Coaching Presence is the ability to
explore differing opinions without fear or embarrassment getting in the way.

Fear of Uncertainty or Lack of Answers
Many new coaches are uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity—and yet, these are part and parcel of coaching (and life). Nowhere in the job description for a coach will you find the words “omniscient” or “fortune-teller”! Avoiding uncertainty signals loss of presence.

Coaching Presence is the ability to
welcome uncertainty and ambiguity as doorways to creation.

Coaching Presence is the ability to be comfortable with the client’s, as well as our own, discomfort!