The science of presence in the coaching process

January 2018, that means the Annual Coaching and Mentoring Research conference at Oxford Brookes University. There was one particular presentation I was looking forward to seeing and that was Dr Roger Noon‘s exploration of presence in executive coaching.

Dr Noon is an experienced executive coach. For his professional doctorate he studied the nature of presence during a coaching session. Typically, the objective of a session is to support the client in having fresh insights and new thinking on an issue or idea. Dr Noon’s research revealed that a session is often perceived to be more successful when both participants are being in their place of “here and now” or “deep level of absorption”.

What does that mean, “deep level of absorption”? Dr Noon suggests that during the session the participants will move between being in “aware mode” and “absorbed mode”. This is in the context of internal, external and relational dimensions while appreciating a dynamic nature within and between individuals. Being “more absorbed” is arriving in that place of thinking timelessness and feeling a sense of heightened mental, emotional and somatic awareness, completely open.

Here is a video clip of Dr Noon explaining what he means.


What does this mean when coaching through creating a clay sculpture?

This is what I found rather interesting. Dr Noon’s research is focused on the interaction between coach and client. The foundations on which to build an successful coaching session.

Coaching Through Sculpting uses this process to create a dialogue on HOW someone portrays their sense of self, being present for another person, having an impact and how they tell their story through their natural facial expressions.

Here are some of the levels that can be explored in a Coaching Through Sculpting session:

  • We begin with giving time and creating a space that will allow both the client and the sculptor to travel from being “more aware” to being “more absorbed” in the act of producing a bust.
  • As the clay model takes shape we experience our levels of awareness of feeling, emotion with thoughts, thinking, interpretations and assumptions.
  • As the clay form starts to show expression and character this informs the sense of self and its relationship with the physical environment.
  • Finally, we can step into the place of an observer and look back into the sculpture and its impact.

It is almost as if we find our presence (impact on others) though a way of being (more absorbed) in the coaching session.

What do you think?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s