The Art of Strengths Coaching

P is for Putting Yourself Into Situations Where You Are Fully Present  

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to put yourself into situations where you feel fully present. Looking at your life and work, when does this happen for you? Here are some answers that people give to this question.

I feel fully present:

When I am encouraging a person … When I am playing with our children … When I am writing … When I am playing music … When I am gardening … When I am doing a surgical operation … When I am solving a difficult technical problem … When I am helping a customer to succeed.

When I am doing a mentoring session … When I am climbing … When I am dancing … When I am exploring ideas … When I am resting and reflecting … When I am doing things I find fulfilling … When I am doing work that involves the heart, head and hands.

Different people take different approaches when doing the activities where they feel fully present. Some people aim to follow certain principles and work towards achieving their picture of success.

Such people may pursue these guidelines in a conscious or unconscious way. As they grow older, however, they often clarify the principles they can follow to achieve their particular goals.

Can you think of a particular situation where you feel fully present? This could be when you are doing a specific kind of activity in your personal or professional life.

How do you prepare yourself to go into the situation? How do you make sure you are fully present? What are the principles you then follow? How do you do your best to try to achieve the picture of success?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation where you feel fully present and follow certain principles to work towards achieving the picture of success. 

Describe the specific things you do to take these steps. 

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of following these steps.

During the past 50 years I have worked with many people who have found the place where they felt truly present. These have included educators, therapists, sports people, singers, leaders and people in many walks of life.

Different people took different routes towards finding and doing fine work in their chosen place. Bearing this in mind, however, here are some of the common themes that emerged from studying such people.

They pursued many different activities which gave them positive energy before finding a specific situation where they felt fully present and aimed to achieve a picture of success.  

They prepared properly before going into the situation: a) By clarifying the purpose – the specific results to achieve; b) By practicing how to follow their chosen principles to achieve the picture of success.

They pursued certain personal rituals to be fully present in the situation and then followed their chosen principles to work towards achieving the picture of success.

The first people I learned this from were pioneers in social care, therapy and education. These included people such as Alec Dickson, who founded Voluntary Service Overseas and Community Service Volunteers, and many others.

Looking at my own work, finding such a place eventually led to returning to my first love – encouraging people in one-to-one sessions. Bearing this in mind, I studied people who used mentoring skills in different fields.

Different people applied these skills in different ways. Whether acting as educators, therapists, coaches or trusted advisors, however, they often pursued similar principles.

Good mentors, for example, aim to be wise and trusted advisors. They often create a stimulating sanctuary in which a person feels safe and able to explore their chosen themes. Such mentors often pursue the following principles when helping a person to achieve their goals.

These are the principles I try to follow when doing one-to-ones, but other people will follow other guidelines when doing their chosen work. They may do this when aiming to do good work as a counsellor, singer, skier, leader or when doing another activity.

The key is for them to follow the principles they believe in and that enable them: a) To do the basics; b) To then add the brilliance. They can then do their best to achieve the picture of success.

Let’s return to the situation where you feel fully present. How can you keep putting yourself into such situations? How can you prepare properly? How can you then follow your chosen principles? How can you do your best to achieve the goals?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific situation where you feel fully present and follow certain principles to achieve the picture of success.

Describe the specific things you can to do continue to be fully present and follow certain principles to achieve the picture of success.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of taking these steps.

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