Gestalt Coaching

Arts in HRM offers coaching services to professionals in order to enhance their awareness on professional and life issues and helps to shed light on important life questions, bringing a deeper meaning in professional and everyday life. This is accomplished mainly through:

  1. The use of the coach as instrument for enhancing awareness,
  2. The use of Gestalt Theory for Organisations and Individuals and
  3. The use of tools derived from the arts.

 Gestalt Coaching

Gestalt coaching emphasizes bringing into awareness those habitual behavioral or ideational patterns that interfere with clients’ inherent capacity to meet their needs and achieve their desired goals. Without awareness, no effective action can be conceived, articulated, or taken [1].

Coaching for professionals is significant because it has the power to transform individuals, teams and organizations. Nevis (1987) assumes that although people say they seek change, some part of them resists this so called desired change. Over time, this resistance falls out of the client’s awareness but continues to interrupt or block this change [2].

The Coaching Relationship

The coaching relationship helps individuals become more aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, the choices they have available to them to mobilize change so they can value and accept themselves. In turn, this helps them to recognize the value of such processes when engaging with co-workers or their clients.

The coach needs to be highly creative and flexible, while concentrating on the client’s process. The collaborative efforts of the client and coach often produce a fascinating process of discovery.

An Example

An executive needs to mobilize his team’s commitment and creativity to demanding organization goals. However, the executive uses his habitual model of micromanaging, focusing on controlling rather than supporting team initiative. This controlling approach has served him well in the past, and under current pressure it persists, despite its failure to achieve the desired innovation and commitment. Our executive is not aware of how his over-controlling pattern negatively affects his team members. Becoming aware of this pattern enables him to see and experience new possibilities [1].

Through a non-judgmental examination of the client’s present internal and external processing, what we describe as the “what is picture” and through exploration of and experimentation with new behaviors, the Gestalt coach enhances client awareness and co-creates digestible learning experiences. New choices are opened to the client, who becomes better equipped to access experiential resources and desired goals.

Use of oneself as a coaching instrument

A central teaching in Gestalt coaching is the “use of oneself as a coaching instrument” in the role of intervener. Through such use of self, the Gestalt coach establishes a “presence” that supports client awareness.

Experience is more than just ideas and memories, though they are certainly important. It also includes emotions, perceptions, behavior, images, thoughts, and body sensation. Gestalt Coaching aims to support experiencing in all of these ways, vividly in the present. The way to clear experience is by focusing on both techniques to heighten our awareness of experience, as well as to the awareness of the things that block us. We describe experience as to what is occurring rather than intellectualize and analyze. “Expressing” it rather than talking “about” it. Good contact is when we are most in our experience.

Presence and the “Here and Now”

Gestalt Coaching focuses on the present. The goal is to help individuals stay fully present in the moment with their experience. Grounding ourselves in such a way is more effective than going back to the past and getting lost in an uncertain future. This technique of staying present also enables what wants to be gestated to emerge. Because of our groundedness, we accept emerging events as natural. Presence is being in the experience of who we are, what we know, and where we come from and allow this to bring us fully into the here and now.

Creative experimenting with new behaviors and alternative scenarios

We invite our clients to try out potential solutions through creative experiments. Creative experimenting provides an opportunity to try on new ways of being in the world. By playing out possibilities for problem solving, we may begin to experience ourselves in new ways. Giving full expression, these new ways will create excitement and aliveness to our moment to moment experience.

The support that presence provides within the context of the coaching relationship, nurtures a safe ground for experimenting, where paths leading to profound change are effectively available. Such experiments can lead to taking effective action in the world. According to the Paradoxical Theory of Change which is fundamental for Gestalt theory: “Change does not occur by trying to be what one isn’t, but by fully embracing who one is” [3].

This experience of naming and bringing out from the interior what was unaware or invisible enables learning and change to occur; the more the client understands and accepts his or her current reality, the stronger the contact with self—”there will be a transformational shift and a new awareness of behavior” [4].

Embodying

Coaching interventions by using tools from the arts explore and bring into awareness the complex and dynamic interplay between wants and needs, values and resistances. The client is able to see potentialities that a purely cognitive or rational point of view has obscured or pushed out of awareness, and new possibilities are opened. Further, the vibrant wisdom of sensations and experience are made accessible by paying attention to one’s own experience of learning and change.

For arranging a personal coaching session, please call +2310904419 or send an e-mail at nliotas@gmail.com.

References

[1]. D. Siminovitch and A. M. van Eron (2006), The Pragmatics of Magic – The Work of Gestalt Coaching, OD Practitioner. Vol. 38, No. 1
[2]. Nevis, E. (1987). Organizational consulting: A Gestalt approach. Cleveland: Gestalt Institute of Cleveland Press.
[3]. Beisser, A.R. (1970). The paradoxical theory of change. in J. Fagan and I. Shepherd (Eds.), Gestalt therapy now. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books.
[4]. Rainey Tolbert, M.A. (2004). What is Gestalt Organization & Systems Development? All about the O, the S, and the D… and of course, Gestalt. OD Practitioner Special Issue, Vol. 36, No. 4.