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Holding The Environment


A - Z Coaching and Mentoring - This week's extract explores the importance of 'holding the environment/space' in the coaching environment. 

Don't forget if you have a special request for a definition of a coaching term or principle, just let us know! Perfect for anyone studying for an ILM Coaching & Mentoring qualification, or as a refresher for experienced coaches.



Holding the environment (also known as holding the space) is a key component of coaching, whether it be a short coaching moment or a full coaching conversation. Holding the space is the foundation for all effective coaching. It is the cradle for everything we have to offer as coaches.

The ‘space’ is psychological as well as physical. It means letting go of yourself (e.g. your ego, judgements, solutions or outcomes) so that you are still and ‘there for the other person’. A warm, gentle and peaceful approach is a good start in making this happen.

Being fully in the moment with the client requires a high degree of awareness not only of the client, but also of what’s going on for you as the coach.

By holding the space, the coach gives the best opportunity for the following to flourish: ?

  • Curiosity
  • Flexibility
  • Playfulness 
  • Reflection 
  • Clarity 
  • Focus 
  • Decision-making 
  • Thoughtfulness 
  • Honesty
  • Trust

“The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking” – Nancy Kline

Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.
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