A Coach can be defined as a person who facilitates another (the client) to carry out a process of reflective discovery that seeks to unlock the client’s true potential, usually through exploring a specific burning issue. The aim is to explore the client’s situation by viewing it through different lenses, endeavouring to come to an optimum resolution that correlates with the client’s values, and at the same time providing meaning for the client.
Existential coaching is a recently developed approach to coaching, adopted from existential therapy. Its pillars are firmly rooted in existential philosophy. It seeks to help the client to reflect on their existence and what it is like to live in a relational world with others. It is concerned with paradox and finding meaning in what can sometimes feel like a meaningless world. This approach to coaching is a good place to explore and reflect on the human condition in the context of a real-life issue or dilemma.
The coach will provide a safe environment to facilitate the client’s growth and development while providing a combination of encouragement and constructive challenge.
Most of what we do is influenced at a fundamental level by existential concerns and quite often by its nature takes place outside of our awareness. As the coach “reflects back” to the client during the session it facilitates the client to re-evaluate their position and gain a deeper understanding of their existence in the world. This helps the client to access new approaches to living and acquire the insight and agency necessary to better enable them to take responsibility for their unique existence in the world. In other words, the coach is facilitating the client to explore their beliefs and values, and then to consider their choices, choices which may not have been obvious at first, and select those that best align with their values, to make meaning and purpose. It is important to note that we live in a world with limits so the fit can often only be a best fit rather than a perfect resolution.