Peak coaching experiences

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Peak coaching experiences
Publication Date: 
June, 2018
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice

Czech authors Honsova and Jarosova published a lovely qualitative paper in 2018 on peak coaching experiences. Here are the bottom lines.

First, what is a peak experience?

The authors note:

Maslow described peak experience in the whole life context as ‘something like mystic experiences, moments of great awe, moments of the most intense happiness or even rapture, ecstasy or bliss’ or ‘pure, positive happiness when all doubts, all fears, all inhibitions, all tensions, all weaknesses, were left behind.’

Now, what is a peak coaching experience?

The authors interviewed 18 coachees, senior bank managers, using the Life Story Interview method, adapted for the coaching context.

1. Moments of insight

Some coachees reported the peak experience as the moment of insight: ‘the moment of revelation or seeing the root cause of something which I wasn’t able to change.’ (read page 5/6 for more quotes).

2. Moments of relief or release

Some coachees reported moments or relief, tension release, and calming down: ‘I mentally convinced myself that I am here for this, and that I am not looking for anything else.’ (read page 6 for more quotes)

3. Moments of mindfulness

Some coachees reported moments of mindfulness or awareness as a result of a coach’s techniques for mindfulness or meditation: ‘we went through a journey in a meditation and suddenly I felt as if I could overcome this with much more ease..I was taken aback that something like this could happen.’

4. New perspectives from external models

Some coachees found models using drawing or graphics, or tokens or bricks to help visualize an external situation: ‘the feeling of excitement and joy...some kind of realization of the situation through the visualization she used.”

The authors conclude: “Our research shows that the key benefits of coaching might not lie only in what comes after coaching (e.g. leadership style change, stress reduction or enhanced self-efficacy) but also in the experience lying in the coaching process itself. Each of the participants associated their coaching experience to unique positive experiences, many of which were connected to learning and growing…”

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
  1. Ask your clients to share their peak coaching experiences with you.
  2. Track and journal peak coaching experiences for you and your clients.
  3. Try new techniques in 2019 to generate insights, releases, mindfulness, and new perspectives.
Citation: 
Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/17521882.2018.1489867

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