Listening with Compassion

Deep Coaching

How can we use coaching to be a support to someone else? Coaching is about listening and understanding what is happening in the person you are listening to, your friend or your client. What are the persons feelings and needs? By listening with empathy, your friend will get the support to listen inwards and thus find ways to understand and solve his problems.

To be a support to someone else

We will look at how you can use empathy to be a support for someone else. You can make use of coaching when with a client but also in everyday situations when you want to improve your relationship with someone or to help to resolve a conflict. Every time I write the client in the text you can substitute it for a friend. You can also benefit from using coaching as a tool for yourself to find ways to meet your own needs. In short, deep communication can be used at all times to create the best possible communication.

The coach as a support

A coach supports the client to explore himself.

As a coach your starting point is to provide support, not to be a counsellor. The client is encouraged to find the answers he or she is seeking. The client is always the one who decides and can control how he or she wants the coaching process to proceed. You as a coach is a tool that the client uses during his exploration.

The coach does not try to control what happens during a session, neither what to say or what results the client will come to. It is always the client who is in control and it is the client who will find the solutions and strategies that he will use to meet his goals. The coach is responsible for the unconditional listening and presence, which helps the client to find the answers within himself.

What is happening now?

To listen with deep presence is the most important task for the coach

Listening is the foundation of coaching. As a coach, this is where you will put the greatest emphasis. To listen and be present will support the client to become self-conscious about what happens. The coach listens with an allowing quality. It is a listening that is not judging, sympathetic, or reactive, but only with full permission for the client to be just like he or she is.

Presence is about paying attention to what’s happening right now.

Being present means being focused on what is happening right now in the present. What’s happening right now in you? What are your thoughts? How do you feel in your body? What do you long for? As a coach you are supporting your client by being focused on what is happening in the client in the present. Listen to the client with curiosity and try to be present in everything that happens during the conversation.

Thoughts and feelings in balance

It is easy as both coach and client get stuck in various rational ways of thinking about how a problem should be solved and the objectives to be achieved, but if these ideas are not deeply rooted in your needs, they can easily lead you in the wrong direction.

Through presence in the moment, the client will get in touch with his feelings and needs.

When you are focused on what happens in you, the feelings and needs that are there, you get a strong contact with yourself, which gives access to an incredible potential. The contact that occurs is not intellectual by nature and lets your thoughts relax for a while. It will give you rest from all the ideas that would otherwise take much of your energy. The connection and tranquillity that arises will allow you to be more focused when formulating the ideas that come up. What can be a more important basis for making decisions in your life than to be in touch with what’s happening within yourself?

Being in touch with feelings and needs provides an opportunity to find ways to meet the needs.

In our society, the intellect is given greater value than the emotions. To show emotions is often associated with a fear of losing control, but we need both emotion and intellect to be in balance. Take the time to investigate the presence by feeling what is happens in yourself whenever you have the possibility. Look at the fears that come up and look curiously at the feelings and needs they carry.

It can be difficult to understand that something as simple as knowing what is happening in ourselves, can be an efficient way to dissolve unpleasant emotions, but often the most effective principles also the simplest. To build a strong reliance on this principle and use deep listening as a natural part of everyday life is an important part of the course. By committing to do the exercises, you will gain experience of the power of these simple principles, which will help you to build confidence in its effectiveness.

Get your workbook ready. The workbook is a empty notebook that you will use to write down answers from the exercises and also write notes about what you have learned every time you get a chance. This will help you to remember and integrate the information.

Take the time to explore what is happening right now. What do you feel? What do you long for? How do you feel in your body? What are your thoughts?

Take a few minutes and really feel what is happening within you. You can do the exercise several times a day. You can do it anytime and all the time.

Repeat this exercise at least 5 times over the next 24 hours. Write down a few sentences about what is happening in you every time. Save your notes and write them into the workbook.

To remember to do the exercises you can decide now when to do the exercises and write it down on a note.


The client can find the problems and solutions

The coach allows the client to take responsibility for their own exploration.

Many believe that the answers to our problems are to follow the recommendations of experts. As an empathy coach, we do the opposite. By simply being aware of what’s happening in the client, without any analysis or interpretation, we give the client some peace of mind by which he or she can get to know and solve their problems.

An experienced coach assumes that the client has the potential himself to find ways to reach his goals. It is easy for many to believe that the coach must have all responses and to provide the client with solutions. But if a coach is engaged in thinking of solutions instead of active listening to the client it will reduce the contact and presence. It is precisely that contact between the coach and client that is vital for the client to feel confident to find his solutions that which will also be of the greatest value for the client.

The client learns to find solutions to all their own situations.

To be able to find own solutions provides more than just a new strategy. The client will strengthen their confidence that he or she can find solutions to future situations. What is worth most to you, to hear someone else´s solutions or of being able to find your solutions?

Better to follow your wisdom than an expert that you do not understand.

Allow the client to be just like he or she is

The coach tries to be neutral and tolerant and to not react to the client’s words

The role of the coach becomes an exercise in giving attention to the client. This is not always easy. Providing attention without actually trying to control the output can be a major challenge. It means to trust that the client through attendance can find their answers. The coach takes a step back from all his ideas and opinions on the client’s situation and only offers attention.

The coach seeks primarily to be a neutral tool for the client. The coach is only there in silence and listens to the client and give their presence as a support for the client to face what he or she talks about. The coach allows the client to remain exactly as he or she is. Let the client talk to you without giving reactions to what you hear. If the client is talking about something sad, listening only without trying to be comforting. If the client is talking about something joyful, listen. If the client is talking about something traumatic, listen but without reacting. It occurs naturally when we are in touch with someone that we want to mirror the other´s tone, pace and body language. This is perfectly OK as long as you are careful not to let it interrupt.

The client allows himself to be just like he or she is

To only listens with allowance provides the client support to allow what is happening in himself

Merely listening supports the client to tell what he or she would not otherwise feel safe to talk about. The client may be afraid that he will be met by others or their judgments about the subject. To be able to speak freely, without facing any reactions and assessments can be very liberating to give the client the space to look at the topic that he or she is talking about. It is difficult to allow ourselves to have pain, grief and anger within us. When you as a coach can allow the client to have these feelings, it becomes easier for the client to allow those feelings to be there. When we stop avoiding uncomfortable feelings, we can instead listen to them and see what needs that have not been met.

In this exercise we will practice how to give our attention to someone else. You can make this exercise a few times during the day when you get into conversation.

Listen without reacting, evaluating, or advising. Just show that you understand what the other says, for example nod or reflect briefly what the other person says on a regular basis. Focus on listening with curiosity on what the other person says.

Do this exercise at least 3 times over the next 24 hours. Write down a few lines about your experience at every opportunity and enter them in the workbook.


Allowing everything to be as it is

To meet yourself is about trying to allow what is. Allow the thoughts, feelings and needs that arise. Thoughts arise in the minds of their own. Some thoughts feel difficult and heavy, others are fun and uplifting.

Allowing what is happening now brings a quality of calm and rest What does it mean to allow something, such as allowing a difficult feeling? To allow means that you do not react to the feeling by trying to think about something else or do something that shifts the focus away from the feeling. When we allow a feeling, we simply let the feeling be there for a while.

All thoughts and emotions that we encounter have something to communicate. What does this thought want to say you? Behind the thoughts and feelings and needs to be seen. Can you allow yourself to have thoughts that feel uneasy? Can you allow yourself to have thoughts that feel uplifting? Can you try to identify the feelings and needs, giving rise to the thought?

There is always something you can allow It can be difficult to meet certain thoughts and feelings that create discomfort in us and we usually try to avoid them in different ways. This is a natural way to try to protect ourselves from pain. It is nothing wrong when you can´t or don´t want to meet a feeling. If you find that you are avoiding a feeling you can note it to yourself and see if you may allow yourself to avoid it. No matter what happens in you, see if you can allow everything to be just like it is.

When you allow what is happening, you give yourself room and rest. You do not react anymore to get rid of the feeling. You can just rest without doing anything. Can you allow yourself to be angry with yourself? Can you allow that you make judgments about yourself? Can you allow that it is difficult to allow?

There is always something you can fully allow. And when you’ve come to that space it will hold a new quality of calmness, rest and peace. Allowing things to be as they are now, does not mean you never want to change your current situation. It only means to allow what is happening in the present. This allowing quality will then give you the clarity and space to manifest your desires in new ways.

Many people find it difficult to allow that which is painful and I often hear people who are reluctant to allow things that happen inside of themselves and around in the world. They think that by allowing this they will increase the pain that they want to avoid. But to allow is the first and necessary steps required to move forward in the efforts to resolve the pain.

When you practice to be calm and tolerant, you’ll improve these qualities

Life consists of a constant stream of events, feelings and thoughts. These events can not always meet your needs. Allowing what is happening will give you rest in the present. Since this constant change will be going on for the rest of your life, the ability to manage what is happening at the moment is one of the most important qualities you can develop.

You will not be able to allow what happens all the time. When you notice that you can´t allow something, try to allow that you have difficulties to allow that situation. As long as you continue to be allowing to what is, the quality of rest will grow and become stronger. There is no way to fail because there’s always something that you can allow.

Either we react to external stimuli, or we act after we understand our needs

We can categorize the way we act as to act or react. We react out of external stimuli and that action is more or less automated. A clear example is when I walk through the woods and see a snake coil itself across the path. Without thinking, I jump to get away from the snake. This is to react, but it can also be more subtle things like automatically answer criticism with anger or to meet other people’s grief with irritation. When we act we first take the time to look at the situation and what thoughts and feelings we have before we do anything. Both approaches have a clear function and they are both necessary for us to function. When we react, we can provide a fast response to an event that needs immediate attention, and when we act, we can find new ways of behaving that is deeply rooted in our feelings and needs. The key is to be aware of when we use different ways and if they meet our needs or not. We can, by paying attention to the way we act, choose to change our patterns of reaction.

It is a common problem that we react to external stimuli in situations that are not urgent and in that way we can create habits that do not meet our needs. When we communicate, there are a lot of reaction patterns that we carry. A common example is when we hear something that could be interpreted as criticism, we react with fear and try to defend our behaviour or respond by criticizing back.

– Are you not ready yet?
– It’s not that easy, and you could never do it by yourself at all!

Changing reaction patterns

By first providing empathy for our reactions, we can then choose how we want to act instead.

Even if you learn deep communication, it is of no good if you react automatically, because then only previously learned response patterns will be used. What you can do is to observe the way you have reacted, and afterwards see if it met your needs or not. If the reaction did not do well, you can calmly look at the reaction pattern and try to understand it and allow it. Feel the emotions that the reaction created. Look at what needs you are trying to meet, which were met and which were not met. Based on your new understanding, you can decide how you would like to act the next time a similar situation arises. It helps to visualize the event again and how you like to see you act this time. This way you can learn about your reaction patterns, and choose to remove certain reaction patterns and create new once.

Some reaction patterns are hard to change and it may take time before your efforts are paying off. In a coaching situation, you will encounter the reaction pattern of the client and he will get plenty of time to explore them, understand them and find new ways to act. You can achieve the same results for yourself by looking at your reaction patterns, the important thing is to give yourself time to do it.

In this exercise, try to allow what is happening in you. Please note with curiosity everything that happens. What thoughts, feelings and needs arise? Try to stay with everything that comes up and let the experience just be there.

Tell yourself – Can I allow what is happening now?

Feel how it feels to allow what is happening. How do you feel in your body?

If it is difficult to allow whats happening: Say again – Can I allow that it is difficult?

Feel, if you can allow it. Keep doing so until you reach a point where you feel like you can fully allow what is happening.

Do this exercise now for about 3 minutes. Then do the same exercise 2-3 times over the next 24 hours. Write down a few lines about how it went after each session and write it down in the workbook.


Make a connection and see the beautiful longing

Behind all actions is a longing to meet a need. It is not always that we manage to meet our needs, but when we understand what need we were trying to meet, it becomes easier to understand what happened and to find new strategies that will meet that need in the future.

An important reason to communicate with someone else is to feel a connection

One of the biggest reasons that we start a conversation with someone is that we are looking for contact. When we made contact we meet a basic need and we feel relaxed and refreshed.

We have contact when we feel that we understand each other. The deepest contact is made when we both understand each other’s feelings and longings. What needs are you trying to meet when you talk to someone?

In everything that we do, we try to meet some needs. Any actions you or anyone else does is based on a desire to meet a beautiful longing. Everyone may not know how to convey their needs adequately and that may be perceived by others as being selfish or cruel.

To understand each other’s feelings and needs leads to contact

To connect with another person is about really listen with curiosity and try to understand what the beautifully need is that the other person is trying to convey. What lies behind the words? What emotions are hiding there? What desire are the words trying to convey?

To try to understand someone else, it is to listen with empathy. Trying to understand what is happening right now in the person that you are talking to. As an empathy coach, here is where we will put almost all the focus. Contact us in itself a basic need and when we meet our client’s need for a connection he will feel relaxed and safe. From this relaxed state, the client can continue exploring the situation.

Let’s say you have a client. If you listen to your client with sincere curiosity, he feels heard, safe and accepted. This allows the client to curiously examine what happens in himself.

Here we can help to make contact by asking curious questions about what is happening in the other person. What feelings, needs and longings are the client trying to convey behind the words. If the questions are based on a genuine curiosity to make contact, they will come naturally. If the questions come from a thought that you should ask them they will not help to make contact, but rather confusion. It is very easy to ask too much and take up your client’s time or break his focus. Your questions should never interrupt the client, but support what he is saying. You can do this with short questions that do not need more of an answer than a simple nod or a short “exactly” as a reply.

If you are observant you will notice quickly when you no longer have contact and you can go back to listening to what’s happening in the client right now. If you lose contact, the client will probably change his expression and may sound irritated. When you notice this, just begin from the beginning and ask, What is happening now? In this way, the client can express his irritation or just continue where he felt that he lost your attention.

When you have a connection it becomes much easier to meet each others needs

Try to listen to what is being said behind the words. Guess the feelings and needs. Start by guessing the feelings and needs silently to yourself. When you have a good idea you can ask or guess loudly what the client feels about the subject he is talking about. Let’s say that he’s talking for a while about how much studying he has to do in school. You guess that there is frustration and a desire to be heard in this frustration. Then you can ask a question like – “Is the work at school making you frustrated.”

Perhaps the clients longing was to be heard in the frustration that school brings. By asking the question he feels heard and we directly meet the needs that are most relevant right now, to be heard. There may be other needs behind what he is talking about, but the most urgent is what is going on right now. And right now it’s about being heard, and to be able to allow what is happening. This creates relaxation, rest and connection.

When making contact you meet an important need and you feel calm and relaxed

If your questions come from a desire to understand, they contribute to the person you talk to and he will get a better understanding of what lies behind his own words. Contact leads to a quality of calm and rest, and when you and your conversation partner can feel the tranquillity it will open up for a deeper relationship between you. The connection meets several important needs and leads to that you can more easily contribute to your well being.

Keep in mind that almost all the conversations you have have the underlying purpose to make contact. But often our conversations do not lead to understanding, but rather a frustration of not being understood. The less we feel the contact the more we tend to talk, but if we do not come to an understanding of the feelings and needs behind the words, the connection will never occur.

The next time you have a conversation you will begin by silently to yourself guess what feelings and needs that your friend is trying to convey behind the words.

Guess the feelings and needs of the person you are talking to. Start by guessing silently to yourself, but when you feel safer you can make one or two questions or guesses about what emotion the person is trying to convey behind the words. Be careful not to ask too many questions. It is easy to lose the purpose of the exercise, which is to be curious about the feelings, needs, and make contact.

Do this exercise 2-3 times the next 24 hours and then write down your observations in the workbook.

Every thought grows out of a positive desire. Listen to your thoughts without making judgments on them, but just listen to them and try to feel what the positive longing might be that hides behind the perhaps seemingly harsh and negative thoughts.

Behind every thought is a positive desire

Since we constantly strive to do well, we try to find ways to deal with the situations that come up. One way to handle a difficult situation may be to avoid or distance yourself from the thoughts that feel uncomfortable. Another way is to judge or punish yourself or others with the hope that it will motivate improvement. Still another way is to stimulate himself or shift the focus to something else. Each has the same purpose, to make you feel good. But not all strategies may be as effective in contributing to your well-being.

Allowing your thoughts to be gives you a quality of calm and rest

Find a negative thought. Can you identify a positive longing behind that thought? Perhaps it is an attempt to protect you or a desire to accept yourself as you are?

When there is a thought that condemns you or someone else, look at this thought. Can you allow this thought to be there? What is the beautiful longing that lies behind the thought? What needs is not getting met by the way the thought is expressed?

From relaxing in the now, you can find strategies that meet more needs

Once you understand the underlying need behind the thought, it can be much easier to allow the thought to be. The understanding of the thought allows you to have compassion and from that position, it is much easier to find new creative ways to express the underlying longing.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand what positive longing lies behind a thought. We can take some examples:

Anna missed an exam and thinks –

“No, what the klutz I am, I never manage to carry out important things!”

What is the beautiful longing in that thought? Maybe she feels disappointed that she did not succeed? A longing for meaning, to use her time constructively? A desire to implement the goals she has chosen to do?

Kim looks in the mirror and thinks,

“Ugh, I look ugly, I’m not attractive”

What is the beautiful longing behind these words? Maybe Kim longs for self-acceptance and confidence that he will do as he is, or maybe he is longing for discipline to start taking care of his health better.

Now you get to practice to explore the beautiful needs that underlies some of the judgments that you have made to yourself and others around you.

Think of a sentence that you said to yourself or someone else who was unpleasant to hear.

What feelings arise when you think of the sentence?

What needs are not being met in the way that the sentence was expressed?

Try to rephrase your sentence into a positive desire.

Then write a wish for yourself how you would like to handle a similar situations in the future.

Do this exercise on at least 5 different sentences that do not meet your needs.

You are always nasty to me!

I feel sorrow and distress with that sentence.

It did not meet my longing for truth and kindness.

The new sentence, I long for appreciation and security.

I wish that I express my feelings rather than to make judgments when I get angry.


Reflections and questions as a support

Listening actively means to mirrors back what we hear to improve clarity and also to gain a deeper understanding. It becomes like a dance where the client and the coach follow each other. When we find the balance it strengthens the client’s exploration and contributes to his security and presence.

Reflections lead to clarity

Reflecting the conversation creates greater clarity of both client and coach.

You can show that you understand by just nodding, or by saying “I understand” or “OK” while the client talk. You acknowledge the client and get him or her to feel safe and understood. To briefly retell the spirit of what the client says is another valuable tool which will allow the client to get more clarity and feedback on what is going on inside him. We call this to reflect the conversation.

Make the reflections brief so that you do not take attention away from the client. Different people need different amounts of feedback, try to feel out what your client wants. Once you have made the reflection of what you’ve heard the clients say, he may continue to describe the same thing. Reflect again what you hear until the client is satisfied and agrees with your understanding by continuing or often by saying “Exactly”.

Reflect no more than necessary. Try to say as little as possible and provide maximum space to the client. After reflecting the second time it is probably enough to simply reflect the feelings or needs that the client wants to express. One of the largest trials of a new coach is to avoid to become self-focused and therefore it is important to initially deliberately hold back on reflections and put the greatest focus on listening.

Client – I feel bad, I can not sleep and have a headache. It feels so heavy and hard.

Coach – So I hear that you feel bad, have a headache and that it feels heavy and hard.

Client – I would like to find a girlfriend who likes me, so I can feel safe.

Coach – You long for security and appreciation.

Client – If I do not do, as they say, everyone will talk badly about me. I do not want it to be unpleasant to meet them.

Coach – You are afraid that they will talk badly of you and you want it to be pleasant to meet them.

By listening with empathy and trying to understand the underlying needs and emotions behind the words, you can retell what has been said in an emphatic way with your reflection. That way, you help the client to see and explore what’s going on inside him or her. At the same time, you give examples of how to express yourself emphatically without judgment and thought-emotions.

Client – He was so selfish.

Coach – You wanted more consideration?

Client – Yes, he used me.

Coach – You did not like what he was doing to you?

After reflecting what the client says, you can sometimes do it in the form of a question. As in the example above, I have tried to understand what the meaning behind the words “used me” is. Then I can choose to reflect my guess as a question. The key here is to ensure that you are not putting the word in the client’s mouth and that you are open to that your guess might be wrong. If you do many questions but the client does not agree on them you should probably back off and continue listening.

Follow the client

As a coach, you want to be empathetic and listen the whole time. The client leads the dance and you follow with every movement. If you miss a step just go back and try to keep up with the client. Confirm, provide security and deepen your exploration. The coaching dance takes place automatically when there is a natural curiosity to understand what happens inside the client. Your thoughts and questions will then be completely natural. Every idea of what to ask or reflect will lead you away from contact with the client and therefore we let go of those thoughts when we discover them and return to the listening.

Asking questions that contribute to understanding

Questions can be both a support and a barrier to contact, depending how you use them

To assist in exploring the deeper sides of the client we ask simple and powerful questions. All questions are based on the curiosity to understand what is happening in the client right now. A question that is not based on sheer curiosity about what is happening right now will only put the client astray. Let the client choose for himself which tracks to be explored, only help to look on what lies beneath the tracks that the client chooses to talk about.

Questions that are good to have as starting points for a coaching session:

What is happening now?

The question invites the client to feel what is happening right now. The question comes from a curiosity about what is happening in the client. In the present, we have access to feelings and needs and it is always the present that we are focusing on in a coaching session.

This is the most common question in my coaching sessions. When the client has told me something and it’s been quiet for a while I will return to this question. If you feel as if you and the client have lost contact, or if the client seems irritated, go back to the question. Always being curious about what’s happening right now.

How does it feel? How do you feel in your body?

The question invites the emotional world and what is happening now. It could also help to rediscover the emotions behind the thoughts – “How do you feel when you think about it?”. It can also be helpful to ask the client to show how the feeling looks like, what colour it has or ask the client to show where it is located in the body. Different people have different ways of relating to emotions, try to experiment with it.

Does it feels …?

As in the previous example, we focus on how it feels. By guessing a feeling it might provoke new feelings in the client. It is not always easy to feel what is happening but when we get a guess it can help. Do not worry if you guess wrong, it can sometimes be what is needed for the client to see what he feels.

Can you allow that feeling? Can you stay with that feeling?

When we explore the emotions, it can easily pop up new ideas that take us away from the feeling we are exploring. This question provides support for the client to take the time to stay and deepen themselves in what is happening.

Can you let that thought be without getting more involved in it?

When we explore the feelings and needs and the client will have several thoughts that lead away from the present, this question can provide more support to remain in what is happening. The question can be difficult to hear and the question must come from a curiosity to understand the feelings that you are exploring. If the client indicates that he or she does not appreciate your question, go back only to explore the new feeling, by the question – “What is happening now?”.

What are the needs that are being met / not being met?

This question opens up to explore the underlying needs. Just as we explore the emotions, we can stop and look at the needs by such a question as – “Can you stay with that longing?”, “How does it feel?”, “Can you allow that?”.

What will it give you? What do you long for?

As in the question above, we open up to look at the needs. It is not always the client reacts positively to the questions we ask. As a coach, you will have empathy with the client and allow that the client may or may not want to explore the feelings and needs when you ask. If you suspect that your client does not want to explore that path, let go of it and go back to – “What is happening now?”

What is most important to you? / What do you mean by that?

These questions can help the client to get to the core of what is said. Perhaps there are many thoughts that the client shares and it can be difficult for you to see the underlying longing. Here we allow the client to try to clarify what is happening.

Ask your partner or friend if you can practice coaching with them. Focus mainly on the curiosity to understand the client. Allow yourself to both reflect and ask questions when appropriate.

Decide a time of 20-30 minutes for the coaching session and use a clock to know when to end.

Sit down facing each other.

Ask: – Is it OK to relax for a couple of minutes before we begin? Sit still and breath, focus on what is happening in yourself and breath.

Ask: – What is it you want to explore?

Reflect shortly, Ask questions and remember to return to, What is happening now, when you want to get back on track.

Ask your client afterward how he or she experienced the coaching. Then write down in the workbook, how you and the client felt about the exercise. Was it something that was difficult? If it was, how did you solve it? Was it something that was unexpected?


Hindrance, freedom and structure of coaching

We will look at some problems that can occur during a coaching session. It is not always easy to listen in simplicity without having our thoughts show up and takes away our focus from what is happening now. By noticing when that happens, we can choose to let go of our thoughts and return to the present.

It is not always easy to do the simple: Allow it and go back to the practice

The essence of listening is very simple. To listen to what’s happening in the client with curiosity. Having the confidence that the client can find his answer. To do something so simple can be surprisingly difficult. It is easy to be showered with different ideas about what has happened so far, how well it is working now, how you want it to turn out, how you could have done it differently, how you can do in the future and more.

Let’s look at some of the different things that may come up and try to explore what they want to tell you.

Leading the conversation

As a coach, you will be supporting the clients to explore and understand themselves

Even if you sit quietly and listen to the client, you can begin to think about what you hope will happen during the session. It is easy to have an idea of how it should turn out. That the client will gain some insight and come to some conclusion that you can see already. This thought is probably based on a desire of the coach to help the client to progress. But doing so, the deep need of the client to be heard is not met. When the coach tries to control the session he is losing the presence, and it can be experienced as unpleasant and it can remove the connection in the meeting. Try to allow the client to go his own way through the conversation. Maybe the client will have a completely different insight then what you could ever have imagined.

To show sympathy

Your neutrality gives the clients the power to look at himself without judgments

When the client expresses ideas, comes to different insights or are in contact with strong feelings, it is easy to be caught up and start showing that you agree with the client by supporting the client’s arguments either by words, sounds or body language. There is a willingness to provide support and a safe harbour when we take the side of the client, but when you confirm the client in that way you will get involved in the experience and that creates a dependency between the client and yourself. It can easily develop into that you both try to get in line with each other and seek confirmation of each other. Try not to be caught up in such a dependency. To have a neutral position allows the client the freedom to explore anything without having to think about the opinion of the coach. This gives an opportunity to go deeper, to freely change opinions and find new ways of looking at the same situations.

To give advice

When we can find our own solutions we open up for new opportunities to develop

As a coach you encourage your clients to find the solutions to their problems, so try to hold back on your advice to the very end. Clients sometimes ask for advice and ideas, but even in these situations, the same thing applies. If you get a question, respond by asking the same question back. What do you think? If you feel that you have a piece of advice that you want to share, make sure that the client is interested in hearing your ideas.

By giving empathy to yourself your setbacks can become successes

The basic principle is to always give empathy to yourself when you realize that you lost touch with the client. Start by noticing what is happening and try to allow what is happening in you. Put back the focus to what is happening in the client right now. There is no right or wrong when you are coaching. All situations that arise during a session can be used to deepen your connection. If the client gets upset and exclaims “You are not listening to me!”, just continue as before to reflect and listen to the feelings and needs that the client expresses. Perhaps this is precisely what is needed for the client to open up. We gain a greater understanding by observing what happens without judging the situation. Similarly, you can learn from all events of life, easy or difficult, if you turn your attention to examine what is happening. Feel the emotions that arise, be in touch with the needs you wish to meet and make a strategy on how to handle a similar situation in future.

Freedom and intuition leads to contact

All situations, pleasant to unpleasant, provides opportunities for deeper contact

To be in the present, you have to let go of all ideas and rules and start listening to your intuition and gut feeling. Say what you want to say. Spontaneity and sincerity of what is happening in you will also lead to contact. As long as you can discover when you have lost the connection and if so, go back to listening and coaching. You can try new things with your client after you get to know each other, but before you test your abilities, you should feel confident in coaching and be able to get back to the basic principles of coaching. You can try to do visualizations, guided meditations and other practices that you would like to introduce to the client. It is always good to ask the client first before you do something differently.

You can speak up as a coach if you think that something is unpleasant, even if the client is the one who leads the session, you have to think about both of your needs. The client may start to provoke you. Try telling the client with empathy to stop doing the thing that you do not feel comfortable with and continue to coach the client as usual. Perhaps it leads to a breakthrough to explore further There are no wrong ways, there are only new opportunities for contact.

Teach communication and coaching

When we coach ourselves regularly, there will be nothing that’s impossible anymore

It is only natural that the client wants to understand more about how he or she could be able to coach himself and others as well as to understand the basics of deep communication. Through your coaching sessions, the client will automatically gain some understanding of how to work with empathy but to clarify it further you can speak about what you are doing and how you work as a coach. In this way, the client can bring some tools home and develop on their own. It is important that you always retain the focus on having contact, providing advice may cause you to lose touch. If you find that you have lost contact, return to coaching and the question – What is happening now?

The best way to learn is to teach. Even if you are in an early stage of exploration of coaching it would be a great idea to put together a group and practice and talk about deep communication and coaching. In this way, you will learn even faster and you will spread this knowledge to even more people. You can teach your children, parents and friends and offer to practice coaching with each other. To share coaching is a great opportunity to get a deeper connection with a friend. Start with giving your friend 20 minutes of coaching and then let your friend give you 20 minutes of coaching. Often this works very well even with only a short five-minute introduction to coaching.

To increase the concentration and presence, there are many different exercises you can do. One thing that is common to most exercises is to return to the practice when we lost focus. Here you will try out a powerful exercise in attention.

The exercise takes 15 minutes. Use a clock to keep time.

Sit comfortably and take three deep breaths. Now look around you and observe what happens. You can comment on what you see with your inner voice, but comment on everything in the form of a short pure observation about the present moment. For example; I see a tree and a house. I feel the wind and hear the cars. I feel tired.

When you realize that you forgot about the exercise and started to think about anything else, note it for yourself. For example; I was thinking of what to do when I’m done. I was thinking about my work.

Then say to yourself, “Back to the practice” and then continue to observe and note what happens.

When done, write down what you where thinking of when you lost your focus.


Keep the time

A fixed amount of time in a coaching session enables you to go as deep as possible

It is important to always have a predetermined time, and that the client knows how much time he or she has available. A session can be as short as five minutes or as long as several hours. If the client knows how long the session is he will adapt the work to the available time. Be sure to have a good order on the time and tell the client well before the time runs out.

A typical session can be 50 minutes of active time in coaching, with some more time to say hello and goodbye.

Begin by greeting the client, sit down comfortably facing each other. You can also have coaching over the phone following the same principle.

Ask if it’s alright to sit a few minutes in silence and relax before you start.

Then ask if it’s alright to start.

If the coaching session is part of several sessions, ask how it has gone with the strategies that the client had reached during the previous session. Begin immediately to coach the client when he is talking.

Then ask the client wants he wants to explore this time.

When the time is running out and it is about ten minutes left, tell the client so that he or she can come to an end.

End by summarize the strategies that the client have explored. You can also find one exercise for the client to do until next time. It is the client who chooses what he or she wants to do, but you can suggest an exercise if the client so desires.

When the time is up it asks you if it feels good to finish.

Doing shorter sessions, you do not need to go into all the steps. The most important thing is to keep track of the time and make sure to tell the client that the time is running out.

First coaching session

If you have a client that you are coaching many times can you make the first session longer and use the time, in the beginning, to look a little bit on the coach’s role and the basics of coaching and then make a coaching map together.

Coaching map

To get an overview of the client’s or your own life you can make a coaching map. A coaching map is an overview of various aspects of life and provides a basis for what you can work with.

Make a mind map with your name in the middle in a small bubble, and around it bubbles with the most important areas of your life as education, work, leisure, home, friends, family, partner, personal development and other areas that you deem relevant.

For each area, take a moment and feel how satisfied you are with that area on a scale of one to ten. Then take a moment and feel how important it is for you to work on improving that area on a scale of one to ten. Remember that it is about how happy you are and not how good it is from anther’s perspective. For example, maybe you have no partner, but you enjoy it like this, you might give it an eight for your satisfaction and two for the importance of improving it. Write down the values in bubbles connected to each area.

For each area, take a look at the problems that you have in that field, the cause for that problem, your vision for how you would like it to be, and a strategy on how to reach your goal, one step at the time. Coaching maps can evolve, and more areas and other things like strategies and response patterns can be plotted. A map is a great tool for keeping track of what you choose for your exploration and provides support to implement your plans and continuing to explore yourself.

In this exercise, you will make a coaching map of your life. Draw down the map on a piece of paper and then insert it in a binder or the like so that you can retrieve it when you want to coach yourself.

Write your name in the center and various topics around.

A good foundation can be, study, work, leisure, home, friends, family, partner, personal development, career and education.

For each area, take a moment and feel how satisfied you are with that area on a scale of one to ten. Then take a moment and feel how important it is for you to work on improving that area on a scale of one to ten.

Then write down the biggest problem in each area together with the cause, vision and plan. Make this one short, only a few words to sum up your thoughts. Write down your findings in small circles connected to each topic.

When finished, you can write down a summary of the most important findings in the workbook.


Strategies for self-realization

In this lesson, we will examine the importance of strategies to realize ourselves and reach our goals. The strategy is central to change and when we base our strategy on an understanding of our feelings and needs, the chance to achieve them is very large.

The strategy is your plan of action, which is essential for you to realize your goals

A strategy is an action plan to implement what we long for. We have talked about concrete requests in the past and a strategy is just a request to yourself on how you would like to act to meet your needs. We always have needs that we want to meet, but we may not have a solid strategy to meet them. A concrete strategy is not only important, it is necessary to create something new. Strategies are the seed by which change can manifest itself in the world. Once a strategy is grounded in a deep understanding, it will likely be implemented.

A concrete strategy is clear, time-definite and practicable

A manifestation begins with a thought. That feeling creates a thought. A thought about what to do. Nothing can be created without this foundation. But even if you know what you want, it will not help unless you have a plan for how to act. A strategy should be concrete. That is, it specifies where, when and how to implement it. If I say to myself “I’ll try harder with my studies”, there is no concrete strategy. How should I try harder? One approach might be to say “I will study an hour every night.” After you have drawn up a strategy you can ask yourself – How motivated am I from a scale of 1 to 10? If you do not get over 7 there are probably feelings and needs that have not been heard yet. These needs probably need to be explored further before the strategy can be presented.

Strategies are needed for all things, big and small. Continually make strategies for what you want

If we notice, after having made a strategy, that we were not able to stick to our plan, do not worry. Then it is appropriate to examine the needs that have not been met. Maybe the strategy was not based on your true needs? Or maybe you forgot what need you were trying to meet? After having looked deeper on your feelings and needs, create a new strategy and go at it again. The key is to not give up but to take the new knowledge you have gained to explore the topic further and make new strategies. Some of the most successful people have devoted themselves to go thought with their strategies daily to be able to always remember what they strive to achieve. One very common hindrance to getting where we want is that we tend to forget what it is that we want to do and for what reason. If we do not make regular investigations into what we want and how we plan to get it, it will soon be lost. If you can remember to make a habit out of reassuring that you are well-grounded in your needs every day, you can be sure that you will experience lasting results.

Use deep communication and coaching to realize your life’s ambitions

Create and maintain a continuity in your exploration and achievement throughout your life

As the strategy is the beginning of change, there is where we need to start when we want to change anything. It is the foundation to realize your life ambitions. One strategy might be that you sit down and explore the needs that you want to meet in your life and start sketching out strategies for them. You can also decide to take some time every day or week where you can feel and explore what happens in yourself. You can make it an integral part of your life to explore the present and to make new strategies. By talking to a coach regularly, you get support to explore yourself and gain more understanding of how the process works. By establishing continuity in your exploration and realization of yourself with strategies to satisfy your long-term and short-term needs, you will be able to implement them. Always stay focused and return to creating and maintaining the continuity you need.

Integrate coaching in your life

Coaching leads you to the present, and with it to relaxation and calmness

Knowledge of deep communication and coaching goes a long way to immerse yourself in who you are and thus find ways to meet all your needs, spiritual and material. All types of spiritual practices are rooted in exploring the present moment just like in emphatic coaching. But how do you live in the moment that we so often hear about? Being in the moment is about being involved in what is happening now. What observations can you make, what emotions do you feel and what do you long for? What is taking us away from the present moment is when we start thinking about the future and our past. By coaching yourself, to listen to your thoughts and explore the underlying feelings and needs, you are already back in the moment again. There is no separation between the spiritual and material exploration.

Integrate coaching in your own life to always be the best you can

To use coaching as a tool to stay in the present in your everyday life, it must be part of a deliberate strategy. In my life strategy, I am going back as often as I remember it, to the present. Here I explore what is happening inside me and start resting and enjoying the space created. The life strategy has no beginning or end but is there constantly. From there I can get in touch with my longings and directly find ways to manifest them in my life. Especially important to me is to be able to return to the present when I have strong feelings like anger, anxiety or grief to look at the emotions and avoid stepping into my reactive patterns. If I discover that I have already responded in ways that have not met my needs, this is a good time to go back to looking at the present. There is no right or wrong because no matter how long it takes to remember the practice I eventually get there and can start coaching myself again. By having empathy and understanding for what is happening, I can then start exploring feelings, longings and creating new strategies so I can get back to rest in the now and start manifesting my longings once again.

Intensify your presence in your life with regular times of solitude

It is a great aid to have a regular time when you are all alone and just look at what’s happening in yourself. Take thirty minutes to an hour every day to focus on being in the observations, feelings and needs as much as possible and let the thoughts rest. This may involve listening to the sounds, feel the weight of your body or anything that arouses your curiosity. As soon as you are caught by a thought, observe it and see if you can put the thought aside and not spend any more energy in it. If the thought comes back regularly you might want to examine what feelings and needs that are behind the thought, go into them and allow the thoughts to dissolve by themselves. When you are in solitude for a while you will discover that you will get a much clearer understanding of what you want to do in your life. Have a sketchbook ready to write down short reminders when you are done. Do not be afraid that ideas that arise will disappear. If the idea is any good it will come back to you again.

Over time, the ability to be present will get stronger and stronger, making it possible to always be in contact with what’s happening in yourself no matter what you do. This gives you access to the same potential as that of a coaching session regularly. You will always be able to make thoughtful and well-anchored strategies to meet your needs at all times. By being well-rooted in your needs you can be in contact with their qualities and directly manifest them in your life. Needs like happiness, harmony, relaxation and more can be met by only being in contact with those needs and can thus be manifested directly, and always be available within you.

Empathy coaching can thus be used in different ways to meet your needs. You can coach yourself once a month, once a week, once a day, down to always being anchored in the present. You choose what you want and from that, you build strategies that suit your needs.

You become what you think of most of the time

Your attitude, what you think of and believe in, will shape who you are. If you can stay focused on thinking positively about your situation you will have a positive outcome of your life. If you are thinking of how you will make it, how you will learn new things from difficulties and how relaxed and sharp you are becoming, your life will feel more positive as well. You can always think things from a positive aspect. This does not mean that you have to look away from difficult situations, but instead to look at the situation with a positive idea of how it can be solved, how that situation might teach you something important or how the situation will in any other way create a positive response. To be positive can be very hard, especially when we are constantly challenged with circumstances and people that are difficult. To overcome these situations we need to understand deeply that even if a situation is challenging and other people might behave unacceptably, that does not mean that we have any reason to behave in any way other in the best way we can. If someone is rude to you, you just continue to behave with empathy and honesty. Sure you might want to stop them from continuing behaving in the way they are doing, and you should. With the knowledge of deep communication, you can express that and still have empathy. This is to gain true power over your behaviour and can be a great experience. you will fail many times before being able to remain positive and with empathy, but with practice and a clear goal of doing so you can succeed.

In this exercise you will create a coaching plan for yourself. The first step is to decide that you are going to do the exercise and when to do it. After that the ball has been set in motion leading to change.

Determine a time when you want to do the exercise.

The coaching takes 30-60 minutes, use a clock for the time.

Start by sitting still for a minute and relax.

Then start your exploration of how you would like to use coaching to get the most out of your life.

Finish by writing down your strategies you come up with. Be sure to include a regular time plan for your next coaching sessions with yourself.

Write down how the exercise went in the workbook.


Summarize and look forward

In the last lesson, we will look back at what we have gone through over the course and then look ahead to how you can work with deep communication in different ways in your everyday life.

Changes in behaviour are going through a few different steps. First, you choose to observe the situation with the feelings and needs that it carries. Then you can explore the feelings and needs deeper by staying with them and observe them. From the rest arising from your presence, you look back again on the situation and see if you can find new concrete strategies to deal with the situation.

Throughout the course, we have explained the same simple principles from different angles. In this lesson, I want to briefly summarize what we have been looking at and the steps we go through as we wish to make changes in our behaviour and our consciousness. The same process that is used to be a support for a client in a coaching relationship can also be used to develop yourselves.


A thought needs a deep-rooted connection to feelings in order to be efficient

The thoughts are our tool to express ourselves, analyze and make conclusions. What we are thinking about affects us on a deep level. In deep communication and coaching, we are focusing on finding constructive ways to think and to balance thought and feelings. To come to a good conclusion we first need a good understanding. You can not find this in the mind alone but together with the understanding of your feelings and needs. In a coaching relationship, the client will talk about his thoughts and the coach listens with curiosity to understand the feelings and needs that are being hidden behind the thoughts so that the client will be able to get a deeper understanding.


An observation is a pure description that neither contains interpretations nor judgments

When we look at our surrounding world it is coloured by our world views. To be able to change our behaviour patterns and to understand other people we can look at what is happening from a neutral plane. We can take our interpretations, judgments, reactive behaviour patterns and reform them to observations, feelings and needs. As a coach, you will support your client to see and understand the situations from a neutral plane trough the explorations of what observations, feelings and needs that exist behind the thoughts and help clarify them by making reflections.


Feelings gives us knowledge about what needs are met and which once are not met

Our emotions are our internal signalling system which tell us of what is happens in ourselves´s. When we have unpleasant feelings, we seek ways to resolve them. If we have a good understanding of our feelings they give us more knowledge about the situation. By allowing the emotions to be and rest in the emotions, we build up a foundation to understand the situation better and we can see what needs are not being met. Unfortunately, we often have strategies to solve our difficult emotions that do not at all lead to a proper solution. We could, for example, try to avoid our difficult emotions by trying to stimulate other pleasant feelings. In a coaching situation, you can invite the client to explore feelings closer by asking curious questions.

Needs and longings

Our longings give us knowledge of what we desire and how we can meet our needs

Our longing is telling us what we need. To find ways to solve our problems and to develop ourselves, it is essential to take the time to look at what we want. Not only on a superficial level but what we want to get out of our life. What are your life dreams? By taking the time to get in touch with our longings, we simultaneously get in contact with the positive feelings that they are associated with. That gives us an instant taste of what we are looking for and gives us valuable information and motivation on how to achieve our goals. Just as with feelings you can support your client to explore the needs by asking questions and staying with the needs that arise.


A strategy is the key to enable you to implement your goals, big and small

Once we have explored our feelings and needs, it is important to put that knowledge into practice. This is where our thoughts have their greatest use. What do you want to do? Use the clarity that has arisen through your exploration to formulate a plan that will meet your needs. Make your strategy as clear and concrete as possible, neither too easy nor too difficult. Write down your strategy with clear steps and clear deadlines. This will support you to implement our ideas.

Coaching process

During a coaching session, the client will jump between these steps several times as the client gets deeper into the experience. We begin with looking at the thoughts in the mind and start exploring the feelings and needs and then jump back to thinking again. Every time we can go deeper into the experience and gain more knowledge. This process repeats itself over and over again in different intervals and intensities. During exploration, the client begins to get new insights that can change and shift the focus of the exploration. Much of the principles of Coaching can be summarized by the question – What is happening now?

The book is about to end, but your learning is not over. I recommend you to look at the entire course several times to let it sink in. If you want to learn deep communication or any other knowledge for that matter it is is not enough to just read the information once. You have to see how this information can contribute to your life and make a clear commitment to practice and use this knowledge until it becomes automatic. Try to find ways to apply it in your everyday life and make it a part of life. If you commit to practice deep communication and get back to it over and over again you will begin to create new thought patterns and eventually, the knowledge will be a permanent part of you. This will benefit not only you but everyone that steps in your way.

In this exercise, you will write a short essay on deep communication that you can give away to a friend if you like.

Imagine you are writing an essay for a friend you want to share your knowledge of deep communication with. The essay should be at least 3 pages.

The essay will address the following elements:

What is deep communication and what is it good for?
Who can benefit from learning to communicate with empathy?
Describe the basics of deep communication.

When finished, simply add the essay to the workbook. You get to choose if you want to give the essay to someone, it might be a nice way to give them an introduction to the subject.