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Integrating Somatics with Coaching

What is Somatic Coaching? 

Our bodies are a source of great intelligence, and can tell us a lot about what we’re feeling. In coaching, it’s easy to forget about the body’s role and what it can teach us. The focus can land heavily on mindset and cognition. 

Our curriculum doesn’t just use approaches that are all about the mind. We look at the nervous system with neuroscience, we look at emotions, and we look at the body. The whole person counts. In fact, the word ‘soma’ means ‘whole.’ With somatic coaching, you’re considering the entire person, and that means exploring physical sensations. 

Why focus on the body? Because physical sensations are inextricably linked with our thoughts and emotions. For example, when you have butterflies in your stomach, this can mean you’re feeling nervous, or perhaps excited about something. We can explore physical sensations to get a sense of what we’re feeling and to understand how we’re being affected at a physical level. 

As coaches, it’s important for us to tune into our own bodies before sessions too. Where are we holding tension? Where is their stiffness? We want to get ourselves into a relaxed and open state. When our cortisol levels are low, our clients are more likely to have lower cortisol levels too – it’s all about the magic of mirror neurons! 

Often, what we experience can be the result of anticipation. For example, the actual act of smoking might not be pleasurable for us when we do it, but the anticipation of smoking can drive up our dopamine levels. When we look beyond cognition, we look at all these other elements and we can explore what our bodies are responding to. 

With this awareness of what’s happening with our bodies, we can tap into what we need. Things like shaking (we encourage you to read more about this!), breathwork, yoga and breathing exercises. In turn, these exercises can help us feel better on an emotional level, and even lead to clearer thinking. 

Did you know one of the ICF competencies involves helping create an energy shift? This can mean at the physical level too! And another competency involves exploring what isn’t being said. This means looking at body language, exploring tone, and exploring physical responses. 

Somatic coaching provides a holistic approach and lets us look at the person beyond their thoughts. There is so much to a person than their thoughts. There’s so much more going on. 

Did you know we teach elements of somatic coaching on our programme? We do! In fact, we teach a range of evidence-based approaches. Why not find out more about our training, our approaches, and what you need to transform your coaching practice (or start one!) by signing up to our Coaching Experience Week