Ten tensions 9: professional and authentic

9. Being professional and authentic

I touched on this in my introduction: as coaches, we combine what we have learnt with who we are; and what we have learnt changes who we are. Clients respond to what we show of ourselves and that helps build a relationship. And we have a role and a responsibility as professional coaches to choose what of ourselves we bring so we can serve them: being ourselves and being what they need. In many ways this expresses the overall tension and balance within the model of mastery I have advocated. We bring ourselves and our learning in service of the client. That means we have the technique we need but we are not attached to using it. We have the tool bag but it’s not over full (and might mostly be there to give the client confidence that we know what we are doing). We are strongly self-aware but realise that there is always work to be done. Indeed, if we believe that we are fully self-aware, that is yet another self-delusion that we need to work through. Our self-awareness allows us to use our technique for the benefit of our client rather than for self-gratification and to both withhold and express parts of ourselves with skill and good intent.

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