According to the renowned psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, people are most creative, productive, and often happiest when they are in the flow. Flow means concentrating so much on one task that it becomes effortless, and the person loses sense of time. Athletes, philosophers and people from different industries define the experience of flow as having no past or future but only present, being so absorbed in an activity that you forget yourself, having complete clarity, and other matters of life seem to disappear.
Here are some tips for coaches to create and benefit from the flow state:
- Taking up tasks that are challenging:
Flow state is set to occur when a person takes on a not-so-easy task that is challenging and suitable to the degree of a person’s capabilities. If the challenge is difficult, it may cause a feeling of anxiousness, and if it’s too easy, it may cause boredom. In coaching, the coach is knowledgeable, skillful as per the coaching competencies and methodology, and brave enough to go out of their comfort zone. It may also be translated as taking on challenging clients and asking difficult questions, but not going beyond which is out of one’s skills set.
- Having clear objectives:
A significant step in creating flow is “having clear objectives.” One of ICF’s Core Competencies includes “Planning and Goal Setting,” which must come naturally to an ICF Certified Professional Coach. At the beginning of a coaching session, the client usually arrives with a situation to change and improve their life; with the coach’s help, they agree upon clear objectives to be met with each coaching session. In addition to clear goals, regular feedback also contributes to creating flow.
- Use focus as a tool:
A successful coaching session, or let alone a flow state, is incomplete without focus. To maintain focus on your coaching session, do prep-work before the session, show up on time, put away distractions and check in with the client before you start. Focus is a state of mind, and it requires practice to achieve. The biggest enemy of focus is your inner chatter, a trained and certified ICF Professional Coach will always be aware of managing the inner voice. Practicing mindfulness and meditation are also ways to develop a focus that aligns with the ICF Core Competency “Coaching Presence.”
- Intrinsic reward:
There is one more important element of flow, love what you are doing. As an ICF-certified professional coach, you should not expect any other reward or outcome from coaching, as coaching itself should come as rewarding enough for you. If you love coaching, chances are higher that you already experience flow during your sessions.
Practice makes everything perfect; by adopting some simple steps, you can create your flow at your coaching and experience the joy and effortlessness that comes with the flow.
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