Being a Coach is not easy, especially a Life Coach. You could have all the experiences and lessons that you can pass on to others, but it is not that simple. Although we have relatives with years of experience, we sometimes want an unbiased third party to hear from and provide feedback. For Life Coaches specifically, you need to be properly educated with the right knowledge and have a valid coach certification. Of course, you will see people out there (especially on social media) that say they are “Life Coaches” on their profiles. Truth is, you might end up finding someone who is not even certified, and the problem with that is that they could give the opposite effect or just straight scam the naive. If you are interested in becoming an impactful Life Coach, you should consider knowing the skill of creating a “safe space” for your clients. Amy Edmonson, a Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, explains in her TEDxTalk how a psychologically safe workplace works and how to create it.
Psychologically Safe (Work) Space
According to Amy Edmonson, a psychologically safe workspace is defined as “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.” However, this is meant for “work” spaces, how does this apply to coach/client environments?
Well, the idea and end goal are practically the same, and explaining that is what I want to achieve in this blog.
In her TEDxTalk, Edmonson talked about the three things that make a safe space:
1. Frame the problem as a learning problem, not an execution problem
To start, we must first look at our problems as learning opportunities rather than purely execution problems. Execution type problems are ones where you must succeed on the first try, 100% of the time. When having this kind of mindset, you will have the result of having no creativity, and therefore no growth. By looking at problems as learning opportunities, you are willing to try new things and see which solution will stick. You must remember that in life, the only constant is uncertainty, and if you understand that, you will be ok with failing. Because if something does not go the way you want it to, you will always feel bad, and so knowing that things do not always come the way you plan will put you in a state of creativity and less mental stress when failing.
In the aspect of Life Coaching, you are also human. You are still learning, even outside of textbooks and lectures. When you get your first client, you may feel lost, and you may say the wrong thing. But always know that the more clients you encounter, the more you will learn, and your chances of client success will increase with it.
2. Understand that we fail
For the learning aspect to work, we must fail first. For most of us, we do not like to fail. It shows vulnerability and weakness, but that is the whole point, that is what makes us human. If we can live with the fact that we fail, it makes us learn better and takes care of the mental stress when failing. When we do manage to cope with failure, we are more likely to try new things.
In the aspect of Life Coaching, be alright with the fact that some methods will fail, and when you know that you can and will fail, you will pick yourself up and try again.
3. Be curious
This is the neat little bow that ties it all together. Being curious is the result of learning. You will ask questions, good and specific questions, look at different viewpoints, because everyone’s understanding of any subject matter varies from person to person.
In the aspect of Life Coaching, being curious may solve more than one problem at a time and may solve future problems that could occur.
By following this concept, you and your client will establish a non-judgmental environment where questions will be constantly asked and both parties are relaxed and learning about yourselves and each other.
Now that you have understood the aspects of establishing a safe space, the next thing you can learn is the skill of active listening, but that is for another time. If you would like to know more and get your Life Coach certification training, you can check out our Professional Coach Diploma Career Program on our website.