A Somatic Approach

“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

“Soma” is a Greek word that refers to “the living body in its wholeness.” Coaching somatically simply means including the body in our work together. It is, after all, the body that allows us to take action in the world. And for most of us, there are gaps between what we know or aspire to, and what our bodies are able to do, especially when we’re under pressure. Somatic coaching bridges that gap.

So what does working somatically actually mean? It can include:

  • using simple partner exercises to reveal your physical and mental patterns under stress
  • using self-observation to deepen your awareness of how your patterns affect your leadership
  • practicing with a process of centering to deepen your ability to shift out of your patterns when you recognize them and make different choices
  • using physical exercises to explore fundamental leadership skills such as listening without getting defensive and taking strong stands without being aggressive
  • incorporating the centering practice into role plays of your most challenging interactions

The power of somatic coachingThe power of somatic coaching is that it actually leads to the sustained ability to take new, more effective action as a leader in intense and challenging situations. We all have physical and mental patterns of constriction that kick in when we’re stressed or under pressure, and when we’re stuck in those patterns it can be very difficult to effectively use the skills we have. With somatic coaching, instead of falling back into the old habits of constriction you are able to stay open and relaxed. From that state, you will respond much more skillfully to the challenge in front of you. As Bruce Lee said: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”

If you want to explore how somatic coaching can enhance your leadership and help you resolve team-related challenges, I invite you to learn more about my Centered Excellence Leadership Coaching Program.