Guest Blogger: Deepa Awal, PhD, MCC, Evidence Based Coaching, Adjunct Faculty
What is a sacred space in coaching and how can we build on this construct in order to bring it to life and make it a competency in coaching?
For me a sacred space in coaching is that which allows us to redefine and recreate who we are. Being a devotee of self-development, I have developed a deep respect for the power of inner enquiry, introspection and reflection. So when I heard the term “sacred space in coaching,” it resonated.
A sacred space in coaching is created when sacred conversations happen – conversations that change us in a fundamental way – open up new possibilities, generate insight, shift a long-held emotion, change a belief, and above all connect us to something bigger than our individual self. In this process we discover something new about ourselves, our capabilities, and our capacity.
What is sacred? For me, anything that allows us to evolve to a higher truth is sacred. Any practice, process, ritual, or act that aims to do this is sacred. Coaching is an interactive process. During this process, many magical things happen – coachees begin to look at their boundaries and expand them, they step into the other person’s shoes and loose their exclusivity. This, to me, is evolution towards a higher truth – the Oneness that is our “real” story.
As a coach, my role is to be present, authentic, listen with unconditional regard and offer all of who I am to the coaching interaction. “Offer all of who I am” implies listening with my heart and gut as much as with my head and offering the coachee my full attention and presence. While this sounds simple, it demands mindfulness and presence in all moments of the interaction.
The calling to move the human consciousness towards a more expanded self or what is called in Adult Development – meaning making – is not a new phenomenon. Many spiritual traditions create a sacred space to bring relief, heal, and nurture human beings. Native American practices of Prayer ceremonies, Sweat Lodges, Vision Quests, the Vedic knowledge systems of Ayurveda, Yagna, and Astrology are examples of such practices.
This understanding leads me to pause as a coach. It is indeed the fundamental reason I love coaching – because it allows me to connect with my fellow beings and play a role in the exploration: Who Am I?
As an Executive Coach, Dr. Awal works with a diverse group of senior executives in India and the United States and consults with Global organizations on multicultural issues, leadership development, and teams. She provides executive coaching services for the Wharton Business School Executive Development, EMBA and MBA Programs. She is Program Coach and Mentor Coach for Newfield Network—a Coach Training Organization. At Fielding University, she has taught in the Evidence-Based Coaching (EBC) Program since 2010. See https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepa-awal-8149a65/
For more on Fielding’s EBC Coach Training Program, see http://coach.fielding.edu
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