I knew we were in for something different and something exciting when I invited Sid to be our guest coach for our most recent Lab, and the session sure didn’t disappoint! For some his approach felt quite radical and odd even (see what I did there? 😉 ), others loved Sid’s resonance-based coaching style for its freedom, presence and in-the-moment-ness, being able to just share what’s coming up as a coach.
Curious to know more? Have a peek at this month’s Lab Report below or consider membership to access the recording of this and many more exciting coaching sessions (including a 45min debrief and Q&A with coach and client).
Yannick’s Coaching Lab #25 — Sid Hamid
Lab Report by Natalie Fraser
Sid is an established coach (ICF PCC) and facilitator, who offers ‘Resonance-based Coaching’. He’s a friend of the Lab and co-facilitates the monthly Coaching Cabinet.
Sid’s client is an educator and coach-in-training. Over the past few weeks she has been feeling overwhelmed by work having recently had covid and taken time off to recover. In this session, she confronted the pressures that she feels under, and wanted to have support from her coach with prioritizing her tasks and finding a place to start working through her overwhelming backlog of work and a feeling of “lostness”.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: Even though it might just be about semantics here, it is important for me to address the person I’m coaching not as a client, coachee, thinker etc. I am not to be perceived as the one with power, expected and expecting to take the lead.
Universe Scene Setting
Sid requested from his client not to share the theme of the session beforehand, wanting to ‘go in blind’ without preconceived judgment. Sid sets the scene of the session using an image of two people standing on a planet in the center of the universe with a number of circling planets labeled with words such as ‘humanity’ ‘society’ ‘team’. He emphasizes that the coach is just a visitor in the client’s universe, that it is the client’s universe, and that as a coach he is standing alongside their client during this coaching journey. This is a form of contracting, with one image illustrating his stance on coaching, and setting up attunement, presence, and psychological safety.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: In resonance-based coaching, the contracting is more than just about the confidentiality, logistics, the goal of our coaching engagement, agreeing together with what and how we will be working together for the session etc.
First and foremost, the contracting begins with co-creating neuroception of safety that enables connection and co-regulation. When we feel safe, the social engagement system brings us to a calm state of presence, allowing our nervous systems to attune to the voices, faces and gestures of others. This state allows us to hold the capacity for many different worlds to coexist in mutual respect and interconnection. This state gives us permission to play without the fear of right and wrong. This state welcomes intimacy, stillness and feeling compassion for ourselves and for others.
Using Google Jamboard As Part of the Coaching Process
Before today’s session, Sid offered his client the opportunity to use the Google Jamboard as part of the coaching process. Sid gave the client access to it so that the client can have a ‘play around’ and familiarize with the digital whiteboard. When Sid then restricted the client’s access, the client reflected in the session that it evoked an embodied response which was useful information. Sid invited his client to decide whether it will still be useful to work with what was created earlier on the Google Jamboard at the start of the session together, and his client requested that they do use it within the session. Sid used a screen-share for them both to access this. His client was asked “which part of the image resonates with you most right now” and was asked to add and change the size of available shapes and images, using the visual aid as a means of expressing her present-moment experience. At times this felt frustrating to the client due to the limited types of shapes available and not having experience with the technology.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: This reminds me of the quote by Albert Einstein: “No problems can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. Using the Google Jamboard is just another creative digital tool to evoke awareness, creating more challenges and supporting the client’s learning stretch. The act of introducing a novel experience takes the client beyond their comfort zone (the usual mode of thinking, behaving and operating), which enables them to take more risk and access their sensing capacities, resonating with their deeper resources, creativity and the unconscious. This intentionally shifts the coaching in the domain of transformation, facilitating an embodied and energetic shift in the client. However, this experimentation requires courage from us as coaches, as we will often be stepping in our own vulnerability, by taking a risk while holding the client’s vulnerability too. Without confidence in ourselves (and trusting the client and the process, we may become overwhelmed by the uncertainty of not knowing.
Sid responded to his client’s words by connecting with his embodied responses and reflecting his interpretation of these back to the client in a concise statement which came to him spontaneously. He found the process of this difficult to put into words, reflecting on the instantaneousness, in-the-moment experiencing which allows this to develop. Sid says that he listened to the sound of the words rather than what was being said, picking up on the resonance of the sound more than the words with the intention of funneling down into what is ‘really true’ for her. This process also models the ability to self-resonate for clients in and beyond the session.
Other resonance phrase examples:
- “When you said X what happened for me was Y”
- “A sentence is coming up for me, how does this feel for you?”
“Does this resonate?”
Sid made concise statements based on his interpretation of what he felt his client was trying to express, then repeatedly asked his client “does this resonate?”.
For example: “I am hearing the sentence “I am lost”, does that resonate with you?”
At times, the client immediately found she resonated with his statement and found clarity. At other times, the client expressed that this did not resonate which prompted her to find a statement that was better suited. Sid says, “it does not matter if the statements that come to the coach are completely inaccurate, this approach comes from a belief that the client is resourceful and can find their truth”. Sid explains that this is based on a general trust for every human’s resourcefulness, and the philosophy that all answers are within the person.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: What is different about resonance-based coaching is the primary use of ourselves as resonant instruments so that we are working beyond the story, illuminating truths and enabling what is unspoken to be respectfully voiced and included. This practice of “resonant responsiveness” (in this case, mostly through resonant sentences) from moment to moment requires us to also be comfortable and confident in sharing observations, sensations, feelings, emotions, intuitions without attachment, and allowing space for silence, pause & reflection, that have the potential to create new learning for the client. Stored fears, trauma and anxiety can get in the way of this essential resonance ringing purely. We can’t think of our way back to resonance – thought is an energetic signal that doesn’t last long enough to change the deeper places of blocks, tensions and blindspots.
Finding a Path
Sid’s client identified an overwhelming sense of being lost. Sid used the constellations jamboard to invite his client to create an abstract visual map of her situation. Sid’s client learned that their new venture (coaching training) had raised a sense of feeling lost and confused, partly due to becoming more self-aware and questioning, contrasting with the clarity she had 18 months ago. Resonance statements were made without seeking context for this lostness, but instead using embodied responses and find movement forwards. Questions about the context are considered by Sid to be unhelpful, coming from the coach’s curiosity rather than respecting the client’s agency, becoming a barrier or block to the flow of energy.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: A better understanding of why they are stuck/feeling lost/confused etc and asking questions in this case will only impede the client’s progress as it does not shift the client beyond their current patterns of thinking, behaviour and emotion. If we are not sure how much value that the client is gaining, we can do a check-in with the client. Then based on the client’s response, you can then choose to continue edging them aka “turning up the heat” or let it go without any attachment.
Pressure vs. Passion
Sid and his client identified that she was under pressure from many areas and people in life. By connecting with his breathing, Sid recognized that these overshadowed her passions. They explored the client’s passions, those which were and were not being given space in her current life using the Jamboard for visual representation. This moved from present to past time, uncovering forgotten passions and giving space to the qualities of these passions which she found stimulating.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: The spontaneous breath acts as a bridge for the coach & client to resonate deeper into what was useful from the past to bring into the present as resources for the client’s way forward. It also centers, quietens and calms the client’s mental chatter that can get in the way of keeping their forward momentum going.
Sid says, “Slow down to speed up”.
The client found this session different and more abstract, but this enabled her to be more creative such as using the imagery in the Jamboard. This session enabled her to recognize that she had begun to take her own feelings out of the equation, putting others before herself. She took away that she needs to breathe and take a step back because not all responsibility should fall on her, and that she needs to trust in her team which is a new process for her. Sid’s client realized that it is not the projects which bring pressure, but rather the pressure she is putting on herself. The session ended by Sid inviting his client to make one concluding statement taken away from the session. The client felt one sentence wasn’t enough, and instead that it would be better for her to reflect for a while on the session. The group reflected that without contracting to explain the resonance process, the client may feel obliged to agree with the resonance statement which may feel uncomfortable. This contrasted with the client’s experience, who felt this had been implied in the starting Universe image. Overall an inspiring session that felt quite different to what we usually observe in the Lab, and the resonance-based approach was clearly illustrated, thoroughly challenged and its value well-argued and demonstrated.
Sid’s Reflections & Contribution: Here are a few of my other resonant takeaways from this experience of offering resonance-based coaching in the Lab
- Resonance based coaching is about partnering with the client’s ebbs and flow of energy to evoke awareness, cultivate new learning and generate forward momentum in their direction of travel.
- On top of courage, compassion, curiosity & connectedness, a resonance based coach values stance will also be of transparency, humility, equity, respect, not to be perceived as the person of authority and have a sense of “wonderment” in co-learning with client
- Trust self, trust client and trust process so we can relax into resonance collaboratively
- By changing the conditions of resonance with the in-moment spontaneous responses (which can be creative counter-paradoxical and include all environment occurrences as possibly significant elements of synchronous participation), it creates an embodied and felt shift to their relationship to the topic/question they bring into the session and achieve what they truly want fast!
- The coaching process is relational, “wholistic” and systemic eclectic (drawing from a wide exposure of different philosophies and perspectives of coaching and related disciplines)
Watch the recording of this session and debrief by becoming a member: https://bit.ly/CoachingLabMembership
The complete vault of recordings can be found at https://bit.ly/LabRecordings
Many more exciting Labs are on the horizon: https://bit.ly/FutureCoachingLabs