The IAC Masteries weave a beautiful tapestry of mind-based and heart-based skills. A common thread in each Mastery is the coach’s own self awareness. While this is a pressing need in most masteries, Mastery #4, Processing in the present (PIP), seems to require this in great depth.
In her recorded excerpts, Barbara Sundquist refers to the coach being in an alert and relaxed state, simultaneously and holistically. A ‘relaxed’ state is not merely a state of rest for the body, senses and the mind; it is indeed a most mindful, coherent state allowing for minimal activity and reserving vital energy for being present in the moment. The normal ‘drivers’ of sensory activity, including the whole host of conscious desires or sub-conscious impulses, recede, creating space for pure ‘choiceless awareness.’ In this state, the absorption of communication from the coachee is at the highest and deepest levels.
‘Choiceless awareness’ is best described as an equanimous state: sensitive, caring but without self-centered passion, with free range for the mind and the senses. In this state there is no evaluation as to whether a signal from the coachee is positive or negative to the coach’s personal agenda. The outer ego of the coach would appear to have been sent on a temporary vacation to allow reality to present itself in the purest possible manner. No color is added to perception. In applying the PIP Mastery, the coach is a witness; sensitive to happening and allowing pure perception to arise.
Useful references are The Bhagavad Gita and the Sattipattana Sutra; masterpieces of ancient wisdom and ‘Choiceless Awareness’ published by the J Krishnamurthi Foundation.
There are two components to alertness: stepping back on one side and a measure of action on the other. A coach often needs to ‘step back’ to see what drives them, and then link back to the need for alertness. This helps to attune to the current reality, unencumbered by past or future issues, and be alive to subtle communication, thus enabling the coach to facilitate significant shifts.
A key component to applying this mastery is positively enjoying the quietness and the silence that exists in the coaching session. ‘Productive silence’ as it is known, allows for discovery and creates the environment in which the coach can check-in with the client. The practice of stillness and silence helps in taking conscious ‘charge’ of one’s faculties. In the book ‘Stillness Speaks,’ Eckhart Toelle highlights that silence itself teaches a lot, and allows the ‘nowness’ of the situation to present itself instead of being created or driven.
Conscious relaxation is recommended for coaches. This is done by slowly relaxing each part of the body, closing one’s eyes and feeling the relaxation, until there is a wonderful sense of ease. A further practice is to gently observe one’s breathing and the characteristics of incoming and outgoing breath, until there is a harmonious breathing pattern, effortless, deep and relaxing. This helps the coach to remain equanimous in observing signals and provides for greater natural control. An even deeper practice is the observation of positive equanimity of whatever arises in the mind, by observation of the arising and passing away of thought.
Indeed one may go so far as to say the Masteries not only enable someone to become a great coach, but helps the coach live a more meaningful and fulfilling life by being mindful and self aware in their transactions –a great way of being!
Venkatesh Seshadri (Venky), Former Director Deutsche Bank Group, has about 24 years of experience in Banking Operations- FX, Money markets, Securities Services, Risk Management, Service Excellence, Six Sigma related Business engineering disciplines and Training. He is a Self Awareness Facilitator and an Executive Coach helping people and institutions discover and transform.
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