Coaching from the ‘Inside out”

Michael Neil is an internationally recognised coach and I have followed his work for many years. I recently read a post from him on his coaching approach where he speaks about ‘Coaching from the inside out, becoming an expert at nothing’.

At first read I was puzzled but there was also a resonance somewhere for me. How can you be an expert at nothing? The act and skill of coaching is most definitely something rather than nothing. However when I read further I think I could get a sense of what Michael meant and also where it fits for me.

Michael describes ‘being comfortable with sitting down with anyone from anywhere and talking about anything’. He maintains that ‘something happens in that space’. Is Michael just being himself: relaxed and at home with who he is as a person and coach and how he relates to other people?.

Simply put Coaching is a process that enables individuals to achieve their full potential. Unpick that process and you will find a number of more complex elements: listening, observing, positive regard, exploring, questioning and encouragement being only a few.

A coach has to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the process as it sounds fairly complex. Coupled with that experience of applying a range of skills and techniques is required, in order to enable the coachee to tap into their own resources and realise their potential within the context in which the coaching takes place. So how does that match up with my interpretation of ‘Coaching from the inside out, becoming an expert at nothing’?.

My feeling is the coach has to be comfortable with the coaching process as well as their own skills at working within that process. More importantly the coach has to be a ‘people person’, they have to enjoy communing with people generally never mind when coaching. There is a sense of magic within that people connection and that is the ‘something that happens within the space’ that Michael speaks about. It is a liking for and generosity towards other people and their world that they are kind enough to share with you.
Working from that base as a coach you are ‘tuning into’ the coachees world, being yourself as you would be when speaking to anyone. That is not an effort and perhaps that is what Michael means ‘coaching from the inside out, becoming an expert at nothing’.

From my more limited experience if I get that ‘inside out’ feeling then the whole coaching process is a joy.

About the Author

Jane Ormerod
Jane Ormerod is an independent coach and educational development consultant with 39 years of diverse experience in clinical, educational and Practice Development roles within the health service. Demonstrating strong and effective skills in practice development, facilitation, project management and negotiation that have been used to good effect in many settings to both lead and collaborate in a range of successful initiatives locally and nationally.