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Phenomenological Method

Working phenomenologically in coaching means that one does not primarily evaluate events via concepts, cognitive constructs and intellectual presumptions (=contents), but rather, occupies oneself, as much as possible, without prejudice and judgment with that, which the person being coached, reveals. In coaching this means that one begins with several assumptions:

• The person being coached can only talk about himself, what he perceives and can articulate about himself. What he cannot perceive or what he has no words for, cannot flow into the coaching session by way of speech.

• Nevertheless, every person reveals, in his body language, expression and gesture, his tone of voice and more, what he is not aware of in himself. Therefore, paying due attention to all non-verbal (=phenomenological) communications is the best way of gaining access to and information about that which acts in the blind spot, the unconscious of the client.

• As the problems which lead the client into coaching often have to do with limited self-perception, the phenomenological competence forms the basis of that, which the coach can offer his client in actual added value. It is exactly in the evaluation, formulation and feedback of phenomenological observations that the information is found which the client needs in order to question, broaden and change his own reference and interpretation framework with regard to himself and his environment.

• The contents in the description of the problematical situations are usually enough for the coach to become entangled in the matter, to drown in the complexity of the information, to find his own solutions (unnoticed) and to impose these upon his client, to feel overwhelmed or to put himself under pressure to find a solution himself. Through this, however, the coach can easily become a part of the (problematic) reference frame for the client and can then no longer be helpful.

• By being cautious about all hasty, theoretical conclusions and interpretations a respect for the autonomy of one’s conversation partner and his experience then develops. One remains in the obvious and therefore, one also protects the person being coached from a coach’s expert attitude, which is not helpful.

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