Three years ago I gave a talk about Reflexivity and wrote about it on LinkedIn at the time. I talked about defining Reflexivity, developing it and using it to serve coaching clients.
Reflexivity (also called use of self or using self as a tool and other names) consists of two actions: noticing one’s own somatic, emotional or intuitive response to one’s client in the moment, and secondly, offering the observation to the client at a time and in a way that they can use to shine a light on their path of discovery.
First we seek to notice. We contain our response to their words and our rush to make meaning of them, to let our irrational response come forward. We notice our physical and emotional sensations, and the thoughts that bubble up.
Early in my Coaching journey, I learnt that my unbidden thoughts and feelings are not distractions – they are valid and can be useful. I should welcome the intruders to my inner dialogue and attend to what they can tell me. I should not hold on to them when they leave.
Second we offer this material to the client. We do not judge, explain or rationalise. We offer it to the client. How may what I am experiencing in myself be helpful to the client in understanding what they are talking about?. "I am feeling bored. What could that tell you about the topic?" "I am starting to feel anxious as you talk. Could that throw any light on how your employees will respond?"
Learning and practicing Mindfulness has developed my noticing muscle and Mindfulness has also developed my sense for the moment - the right moment - to make the offer. Mindfulness has made my Reflexivity richer.
I have worked with this approach every day since. As I have practiced more Mindfulness, my Reflexivity has produced more value in Coaching, Facilitation and other activities.
Listen to yourself to hear others better.
Andrew Jones is an Executive Coach and Career Counselor. Please contact Andrew directly if you want to learn more about this topic or subscribe below if you would like to hear more from Andrew in the future