Mastery: Beyond Coaching Technique
The idea of being able to tune into a person’s energetic field seems far out – but Richard Strozzi-Heckler is a master at deep connection using somatic cues. In this conversation he shares his tips on how to cultivate the art of connecting and coaching from Source.
Richard is often considered the father of somatic coaching, work he’s been advancing for over 40 years. He’s worked with Fortune 500 companies and NATO, and has even featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal.
What we talk about
The space of deep knowing
Connecting is an innate impulse in us – life is always moving towards life. The urge to discover other-ness and to explore what is possible if we collaborate is a defining human characteristic.
When we drop into deep connection with another we inevitably discover a oneness; a recognition of unity, of intrinsic connection. This is something that must be discovered and experienced (rather than merely adopting it as a concept) and that, with practice, becomes ever easier to access.
In this space, we can connect with a deep knowing that is beyond the self, beyond the rational. To do this we have to let go of social conventions that we adopt and inherit; the world that we’ve formed has to be allowed to dissolve in order for us to be open to another form of intelligence and emergence. This includes, for example, letting go of wanting to do well, and “steps” or methodologies.
Relating from Source
There is a quality of attention that we can cultivate when we connect that brings out the details of the other person – these components are a doorway to feeling the energetic field that somebody lives in and how they express themselves through this field.
When we relate in this way, energy (attention) is flowing out, but this doesn’t mean we’re merging with them or that they’re the centre; it’s possible to experience a state of being present, open and connected as a felt sensation and at the same time be connected to another without disconnecting from Self.
A simple way to practice tuning in like this is spending time with something that is living (a plant or tree): stand in front of it, empty yourself and feel the life that is coming from that other living thing.
When we start to engage with others in this way, a different level of perception begins to come to the foreground. We develop an awareness of how this type of perception emerges in us – as an image, a sensation, an emotion etc. and begin to trust the experience within ourselves and what it tells us about the other person.
Laying the foundation
It’s important to have a strong foundation within ourselves in order to be able to engage from this space. Many wisdom traditions place considerable emphasis on dissolving or relinquishing the ego, or “I” – this comes with a certain amount of letting go, of change and hence discomfort. A crucial aspect in this process is to honour the pain of change and transition.
As we go further down the path of relinquishing the ego, we come to understand that our will is limited. The challenge and the gift is to see whether we can be ok with that, and what possibilities that creates space for.
Committing to a long-term practice is the most practical way to increase our ability to connect to Source; meditation is a great practice to get deeper into the Source connection. To practice being in this state while relating, any partner exercise is good (for example, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, dancing etc.) – in the reflection from the other you begin to excavate that space and become the dance, become your opponent.
This is the beginning of mastery, and a solid foundation for coaching from Source.