How Do You Find Your Voice?

Author : Robert Stephenson

27th January 2020

What is your coaching voice?

While I’m not talking specifically about your literal voice, it definitely plays it’s part. But really what I’m asking here is, what is it that makes you ‘you’? What is your style, your approach to coaching? How do you combine these elements and more to show up in the space in a way that is wholly unique to you?

As coaches, many of us often come into the world of coaching, with a strong desire to do good, to help others, to assist in bringing about profound change. However, once we begin the journey, we soon realise that it isn’t about helping others at all, as what our art is really all about is allowing our clients to do the helping themselves.

What we actually do is create the conditions where they can help themselves.

Through building rapport and trust, and utilising skills such as deep listening and catalytic questioning we facilitate that help, that change within them, and that can be a difficult thing to define or share with others.

We often spend countless conversations with possible clients attempting to tell them what it is that we do, or how we do it, especially in the early days of our coaching journey, and even though we might muddle through, sometimes it feels that we are not doing this as well as we could.

Even when excitedly talking with friends and family about our new path, we often get all tongue-tied in the explanation of what it really is, or how it actually works, as though the words to explain it are yet to be invented.

It can be very frustrating, yet we rarely remain in this confused state for too long, as what often breaks through this conundrum is the actual experience of our work. As we build our experience, we get better at not just sharing, but actually explaining what we do as coaches.

Practicing your art

In a sense, it is the practice of our craft that enables us to describe and share our craft with others. And this is partly due to the fact that we all have a different way of practicing our craft. In effect, we all have a different voice, tone, and melody, and as such are all unique in our offerings.

But how do you go about finding your voice?

Well, as I have said practice is a key part in the discovery of your voice. The more we coach, the more we gain an understanding of what we do, and in turn, the better we understand ourselves, what we bring, what makes us different, and how we want to show up. It is through this self-study and self-awareness, that we are able to gain a better grasp of who we really are as coaches, and begin to explore what our coaching voice might be.

In addition to practice however, I also feel that one of the major keys to all of this is reflection. A reflection on our craft.

It is this reflection, this noticing of what we do, pondering it, picking it apart, and looking at how we might do it differently, or seeking out the patterns in what we do, that truly helps us to develop our voice.

I must admit I don’t know much about singing, so I won’t spend any more time or words developing that as a metaphor, but I have had voice training, and what I do know, is the more we practice and reflect, notice and work on our voice, the better we get at controlling it, or rather using it as we choose. Shifting and changing the accents, tone and volume to meet our needs, and the needs of our clients, in the moment.

Explore your own voice

So, take some time to listen to your own voice. Notice its sound, tone, volume and melody. Take time to reflect upon its changing qualities as you continue to practice and develop as a coach. What is different? What remains unchanged? Perhaps you notice which tools or frameworks now seem so simple to bring to your sessions, that once upon a time seemed so very challenging to get your head around.

Remember, it is not just about the practice, as just doing something over and over again. That doesn’t always equate to improvements or indeed make us good at something. It is the focus of our practice, the deliberate application of our noticing and reflections. It is the reflection upon the coaching competencies, noticing where we are developing and yet to develop that allow us to continue to grow and evolve, and be the best version of ourselves for each and every one of our clients.

So I’ll ask again: What is your voice?

Categories: Working as a coach  

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