Coaching as hospitality

February 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last week I came across some quotes from Henri Nouwen about hospitality which seemed to me to speak very much also about one-to-one executive coaching.

“Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place … Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find their own.”

That sums up aspects of my own approach to working one-to-one with an individual: change can’t be forced, though it can be encouraged; it is not about changing to what I the coach wants, but rather according to the questions and priorities the client holds. And most specifically: the resources that people need lie within themselves, and my interest is in supporting those resources to surface, to be recognised and to be brought into use.

And how about this: “Hospitality wants to create emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free.”

I hesitate to imply that coaching sessions with me are about emptiness! But there is something here about removing the perceptions of how we think we ought to be, or how our boss or colleagues wants us to be; and instead finding our true voice, our own way – professional and effective, for sure; and also uniquely our own.

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