Being present is something I have always struggled with. When your mind and body are travelling at 100 miles per hour on another planet or spiralling into a tornado, it’s nearly impossible to calm down the mayhem! Well, I had deemed it as completely impossible until I came across the theory behind an emotionally safe place…
Close your eyes and imagine a huge willow tree amidst endless tiny lakes. A mountain in the distance; its tips snow-capped. The Sun glowing in the sky in harmony with the gentle breeze. On the willow tree is a branch that’s long and wide, offering the best view of the scenery. Welcome to…
Indie’s emotional safe place!
This is where I go whenever I need peace of mind. I climb inside my mind and sit on this branch to take in the tranquillity and stillness of the surrounding. At times of need, I imagine people I’m most comfortable with, sitting by my side and accompanying me. No one knows of this place except for myself and the best part is that I can revisit whenever I need!
I head over to my emotional safe place during meditation, in the evenings when I’m trying to sleep, whenever I need an escape and to refocus my thoughts when I am distracted. It’s a means for me to ground myself and bring my mind back to the present moment when I find my thoughts drifting away or certain thought patterns forming. This is always a helpful method, especially in the presence of others because as you may already know, my ADHD brain is prone to easy distraction by stimuli. This method has saved me in a variety of different situations that could have otherwise turned out differently!
Among the International Coaching Federation’s (ICF) Core Competencies – a set of coaching ethics and standards that apply to coaches – is maintaining a presence. When I first caught sight of this on the list, I panicked! How on Earth was I going to be able to remain present for a whole hour during a coaching session with my unpredictable, ever-imaginative and overactive mind!? Then it hit me…
My Coaching Safe Place
My safe place in coaching is a place to be; no expectations, no rules and where no one else is. I jumped in the air with excitement as I was able to create this for myself! A “safe place” in coaching is where a coach and client can both be imperfect humans, feel heard, maintain confidentiality, establish trust, feel secure, project their strengths, form a healthy partnership and most of all, make room for true acceptance of who each other is.
This means that when a coaching session takes place, both the client and coach can form this place in their minds just like how a safe and secure environment is established in reality. Of course, how it appears in one’s mind may differ from how it appears in another’s but what I suppose someone else may envision is simply a little modified version of my haven. While everything else is up to the individual’s imagination, the mutual aspects of a calming safe place may include natural components like hills and trees, as well as the coach and client momentarily escaping their daily lives to explore the wonder of discovery through coaching.
A safe place is a point where both parties meet in the middle. The primary goal is to assist clients in getting out of their surroundings and thinking clearly. This also means phones, distracting thoughts, or any other external stimuli will be put aside for the time they commit to. Going to a safe place that’s devoid of all sorts of distractions makes it easier to view our lives from another point of view or fresh perspectives, which is otherwise difficult.
After I created a safe place in my mind, I had utter confidence that I’d be able to keep to all the ICF Core Competencies. The best part is that I was able to let myself do it in a manner that works well for me!
Do you want to be able to maintain a mindful presence in your life or during a coaching session?
Here are my top I’s or the benefits of having a “safe place” in coaching:
I: It’s yours and yours alone. Use your imagination to create a place that’s exactly how you want it to be. It does not need certain rules, does not come with expectations and best of all, no one can dictate any of these. It’s up to you to decide who and what you want there with you. You, the client, take the lead and the coach is available to assist you in any manner you require.
I: You can use it in your personal life. An emotional safe place can ground or anchor you in such a way that you can redirect yourself to the present. I, too, use this concept on a daily basis! Pay a visit to your safe place anytime you need to restore your concentration, even if it’s outside of a coaching session.
I: It’s a place where you are accepted. It’s very difficult to find places where you could let your guard down without the fear of judgement. If you can create a safe environment for yourself, you can unmask and be vulnerable in a place where there’s no space for unwelcome criticism.
I: You can step back from reality. Being in a neutral atmosphere might assist you in taking a step back, breathing, and taking it all in. With the hustle and bustle that conquers our everyday life, it can get quite hectic. Stepping back from reality may make it easier for you to open your mind to new ideas and see the bigger picture.
I: It is a confidential and safe place. What happens in the safe place, stays in the safe place. You will be guaranteed safety, trust and 100 per cent confidentiality.
I: It is a place where true discovery and growth can happen. Having a safe place allows you to self-reflect, engage in productive discussions and enhance your awareness. When your safe place feels secure enough, it allows for the most important factor to occur: growth and discovery!
So, why not close your eyes and envision a safe place or a place you can “visit” during your coaching sessions? The best part is that no one needs to know about it yet, you always have it with you. Just take a step back, breathe and let your mind wander.