Carl Rogers is the founder of “Person Centred Counselling” I studied the work of Carl Rogers many years ago when I undertook my training in person centred counselling. I did not think back then, that I would use his model of facilitation within my coaching practice, nor did I even imagine I would create my own coaching models or even own a leadership coaching company, but here I am!
Carl Rogers was one of the founders in the humanist movement, (or client-centred approach). Rogers widely advocated this approach because at its core it enabled a coach to understand not only the human part of relationships, but the personality of the individuals within the relationships.
The person-centred approach is a unique way of enabling individuals to make a shift within their own learning process. This was a shift away from the traditional authority teacher telling you what to do, i.e. by giving you Information and Instructing you on how to pass a test, towards the individual finding their own solutions by understanding their unique learning styles. This became known as a model of facilitation, a process for the individual to arrive at their own solutions to their own learning objectives.
At the core of person-centred coaching are five principles:
1 A coach can only facilitate another’s learning” (Rogers, 1951). This outcome is directly from his personality theory, which states that everyone exists in a constantly changing world of experience in which he or she is at the centre. Each coachee reacts and responds based on perception, projection and their individual life experiences (Hutchinson 2019)
2 “A person learns meaningfully by being in involved in their own development and improvement within the core self” (Hutchinson 2019).
3 “Experience, by being coached, which, if assimilated, would involve a change in the individual’s perception of self, the coachee will learn if he or she is open to varying ideas. Being open to consider ideas that differ from one’s own is vital to creating a coaching culture. Therefore, tenderly encouraging open-mindedness is helpful in engaging the coachee in learning experience. (Hutchinson 2019).
4 “The structure of self appears to become more rigid under threats and to relax its boundaries when completely free from threat” (Rogers, 1951). If coaches believe that concepts are being forced upon them, they might become uncomfortable and fearful. A barrier is created by a tone of threat in the coaching relationship. Therefore, an open, friendly environment in which trust is developed is essential.
5 ” The coach should be open to learning from the coachee too, by giving feedback on observed performance and supporting the coachee to discover their own wisdom. (Hutchinson 2019)
Carl Rogers also identified three elements which he felt were an important part of effective facilitation.
Congruence, Empathy & Responsibility
My understanding of these main characteristics and elements are:
Congruence: being open, being real with a sense of genuineness and honesty.
Empathy: the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e. walking in their shoes.
Responsibility: by showing unconditional positive regard coaches accept and take responsibility for themselves.
Carl Rogers ‘belief in his inability to teach anyone anything, merely to provide an environment conducive to effective leaning, is the guiding principle of his theory.
Using facilitation as a coaching method is more about how you show up in the coaching session, it’s about being genuine and being present. It’s also about making the process of coaching easier for the coachee. In order to use this approach, you must have a strong sense of self and move away from being the controller or teacher to becoming the facilitator.
There are no half measures when working this way, therefore it is important to not only look at the behaviours and skills of facilitation but to take the necessary steps towards becoming a good facilitator.
My understanding of these main behaviours and elements are:
Be open with yourself and don’t hold back from expressing who you are and by showing your true feelings.
Be open and curious about who other people are, by acknowledging and embracing differences.
Accept individuals and situations as they are and coach with empathy by creating an environment of non-judgmental positive regard.
As we know the coaching setting is paramount in order for you to engage with your coachee and I have created a learning model which is called the 5E’s model of learning, which you may find helpful with your coaching practice.
STEP 1 ENVIRONMENT: Create a safe space and the freedom for the coachee to examine situations from a new and different perspective.
STEP 2 ENGAGE: By learning and engaging with your coachee by exploring coaching techniques and tools, will help you to create insight and awareness for the coachee to define their goals.
STEP 3 EXPLORE: Enable the coachee to discover their inner self by identifying how certain questions make them feel and give them the tools to respond in an authentic manner.
STEP 4 ENHANCE: The coachee’s learning through their inter-personal development, expanding their mindset, changing their perception of who they are and by supporting them to create a new narrative by bringing their true self to the coaching process.
STEP 5 ELEVATE: Rapidly support your coachee to remove self-limiting beliefs and sweep away old patterns of behaviour, by enabling your coachee to advance to a higher level of self-actualization.
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