Animal Reiki Source Newsletter: Winter 2014
Professional Coach and Reiki Practitioner: A New Hybrid?
By Diane Houde, MA
Can professional coaching blend with the practice of Reiki to create a new way of coaching? That’s the question that surfaced for me after completing the Reiki III and Animal Reiki Teacher Training with Kathleen Prasad.
I’ve been a professional life coach for ten years now, and a Reiki practitioner for twelve months. While I’ve acquired relevant experience as a coach, I feel like a newbie in my Reiki practice. Last spring, I began the six month journey of the Animal Reiki Internship. It was during this time that I discovered that my coach training and experience had prepared me well for the Reiki practice. But how could two seemingly different disciplines blend so easily?
How do they differ?
Let’s start with some noticeable differences. The coaching relationship is based on an exchange through conversation and a commitment on behalf of the client to take action. Coaches offer their services usually in a field where they have a solid knowledge base and acquired years of experience. Coaching is very much goal-oriented and solution-focused with an eye on the future where hopefully, with hard work, the client’s aspiration becomes a reality. Individuals usually engage in coaching when they are ready to change something that has not been working either in their personal or professional life. Today, there are as many reasons to hire a coach as one can imagine. While wellness and health coaching are gaining in popularity, I can say that I’ve never heard anyone identify energetic healing as a coaching goal but I haven’t dismissed the possibility that someone has and I’m just not aware.
My experience of Reiki has been that it is very much focused on the present moment. It is my ability to put everything aside in order to connect with the Universal life force that sets up the space where healing energy can flow. There’s a component of letting go and allowing rather than trying to control by jumping to action. In terms of a goal for the treatment, how does a practitioner know what is really needed to heal at this point in time? I may see an injured limb but is the healing needed at the physical level only? The willingness to let go of any expectations or desired outcomes increases the likelihood that Reiki will go precisely where it is needed most. Being a Reiki practitioner requires that I depend less on past experience and personal knowledge to open up to whatever will emerge. I’ve discovered that in offering Reiki, less effort is generally more effective, and what seems like a problem may in fact be related to something much deeper and not necessarily identifiable by the client. And one of my favorite aspects of Reiki is that there is no talking required during a session!
While there are literally hundreds of coach training programs that introduce different methods and approaches to coaching, practicing Reiki as I have learned it with Kathleen has five elements and specific techniques that make up the system of Reiki. To progress through the three levels of Reiki, a student must dedicate herself to the daily practice. To progress through a coach training program, a student must demonstrate specific competencies which are deemed relevant by a particular program and which may never be evaluated again.
Why did Reiki seem so familiar?
Much to my surprise, I discovered that my coach training program provided a basic skill set that is transferable to how I interact with clients during a Reiki treatment. At first glance, it’s more about how I’ve been trained to set up the coaching relationship rather than similarities to the practices that support the development of a Reiki practitioner. Things like how to create a safe space between the coach and the client. In Reiki, we know it as the Reiki space where both practitioner and animal (or person) are now connected through the receptivity and openness of their hearts to the Universal life force. We don’t talk about it as such in coaching, but it has always been how I have entered into a coaching relationship with a client. I know it as a space where something new can emerge, a space that is held in partnership with a client and at the same time, where each individual is being held in a unified field by something larger than both of them. I recognize that not every coach will describe the coaching relationship as such and perhaps this is something that is unique to my approach because of my own spiritual journey over time.
Similarly to Reiki, in coaching I ask permission before probing too deeply or taking the client in a direction they would prefer not to explore. I withhold judgment and respect the client’s choice as to how far they want to go in a conversation. The client is in the driver’s seat, and the coach is not the expert trying to tell the client how to drive. Rather the coach acts as a possible conduit for the client’s transformational learning process. In my opinion, being a conduit for someone else’s growth or healing process is only possible when the practitioner is herself doing her own inner work and acknowledges that everyone’s journey is unique to them. So whether I am coaching or offering Reiki, it is never my intention to have readymade answers or try to “fix” the situation.
While coaching can be quite rational and strategic, coaches are often encouraged to develop and trust their intuition by paying attention to possible information coming from elsewhere than the spoken word. Reiki also encourages listening in a way that requires one to pay attention to the subtle energetic changes that may occur during a treatment. Listening to the guidance I receive during a session and having the confidence to act on it is something that has been extremely useful in both coaching and Reiki.
Living my way into the answer
So back to my original question, can professional coaching blend with the practice of Reiki to create a new way of coaching? I don’t have a clear answer yet but I’ve had some indication that there’s a pretty good chance that it might…at least for me.
I see it as the quality of presence I bring and how I can be present to a coaching client as an open and loving channel. When I bring this intentionality into a coaching relationship, the possibility of transformation for the client seems to increase. More focus on being and less on doing in combination with an enhanced awareness of my connection to the Universal love and healing energy, and a greater trust that the client is receiving what they need are all part of what I bring to coaching now. I would say that practicing Reiki has allowed me to become even more aware of the connection and flow because I can now experience it energetically through my spiritual heart.
There’s no doubt that the idea of coaching through the heart of Reiki rather than the mind could fall under the label “simple but not easy”. Would I ever talk to a coaching client about any of this? I haven’t yet but perhaps there will come a day when such a conversation will not seem so out of place. For now, Reiki has put me on the path of mastering the art of coaching through the heart. What an exciting adventure and it’s only the beginning!