Kindness in Your Practice: The Art of Being in Service for Your Clients

February is VI Coaches’ Kindness Month, arising out of last year’s ICW Theme, ‘Heart of Coaching’ and due to February being heart month. As your Chapter prepares for our day of kindness on February 12th, we found ourselves asking the question:

What is it to bring kindness into the practice of coaching?

At the heart of this question is the concept of coming from a place of service for our clients. Being kind to your clients can mean a number of things relating to how you self-manage and support yourself in maintaining your attitude of service.

How do you support clients to be kind to themselves when you hear them beating themselves up?

Being kind doesn’t mean letting them off the hook, it means holding them as fully capable to make the changes they desire.

As we (the authors) were discussing this blog’s theme we had a quick discussion on how keeping our coaching skills sharp can add to our ability to elevate our client’s experience with kindness. None of us wish to admit our skills may get a bit loose now and then, but it is certainly something to continually draw our awareness back to in service of being truly masterful coaches for our clients.

What could this look like?

Professional development – Ensuring you are keeping your craft fine-tuned and that you are challenging yourself to stretch as a professional coach.

Accountability – This could mean two things. It refers to really holding your clients accountable to their goals, their vision, their values. It also means holding yourself accountable to really being with your client and challenging yourself to have all your skills, all the core competencies, at work in your coaching.

Curiosity – Do you listen to what is being said and what is not being said and support your client in exploring their story, the judgments, distinctions, assumptions, etc., that they may be making? Do you dig in and help your client dig down into the underlying motivations or beliefs your client may be holding onto and do you do this without judgment?

Championing – How you encourage exploration of new behaviours and actions that forward your client’s learning.

Acknowledging – Who they are being, who they are becoming, pointing out their magnificence as they are stretching towards their fullest potential.

Ethics – There are so many small and big ways to let this slip. Here are a few examples:

  • The coach who encourages a client to sign up for coach training…at the same program that coach is an affiliate of and receives a kick-back from.
  • Coaching multiple members of the same work team.
  • Continuing to coach a client you have lost interest in.
  • Telling your client what to do.
  • Advertising yourself as an ICF credentialed coach when you have let your membership lapse.

When was the last time you read the ICF Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards?

These are just a few of the ways we can be of service to our clients.

  • What does being of service to your clients mean to you?
  • What have you noticed when you bring these to your attention and into your practice of coaching?
  • What do you notice when

    you don’t; when your skills get a little loose?

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

~Lao Tzu

This blog article was co-produced by the VI Coaches communications committee.