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What Is Radical Presence?

Aug 30, 2022

Radical presence is the foundation of The Moment Institute’s approach to working with clients and supporting their growth.

At its core, radical presence starts with unburdening yourself of worrying about how the client should be thinking, what you should be doing, and where the conversation should be going. This enables us to be present with our clients with a nonjudgmental attention, welcome whatever is present in the moment, and notice more of what is actually happening. Radical presence is recognizing and honoring each moment for exactly what it is.

Radical presence is less of a tool for your coaching and more of a way of being while you are coaching.

It will enable you to sense what needs your attention in the moment rather than getting caught up in the formulas in your head. It is also essential for identifying the readiness of your client and the potential that is available.

Learning how to be more radically present often requires unlearning and undoing. It may be challenging at first, but we’ve found that radical presence is the most effective way to support clients and the outcomes they are seeking.

Keep reading to discover:

  • What radical presence looks like in practice
  • Why it’s so important to work this way
  • How you can access radical presence as you work

Or, to experience what it’s like for yourself, join The Threshold Lab’s Open House on the last Monday of each month.

The Role of Radical Presence in Your Coaching Sessions

From Member Meet Ups inside The Threshold Lab to mastermind groups inside the Narrative Coach and The ID Way programs to sessions with your own clients — we always begin with a deepening of our radical presence.

When you can stay radically present with your clients, you will gain more insight into how they see themselves and their world. This will give you a better sense of where they are, what they are seeking, and what they need most right now.

It gives you space to fully attend to the human being in front of you and to become aware of the path they’re already on. As a result, you can walk alongside them in their own natural process of change and notice what arises that is calling to be addressed.

What Does Radical Presence Look Like?

Radical presence looks incredibly simple. It involves no handouts, no slides, no workbooks. It requires absolutely no external tools. If you didn’t know better, you might think that radical presence looks like doing nothing (although this is certainly not true).

David gets this feedback often, “You hardly said anything . . . yet the client seemed to have an amazing experience and results! How did you do that?” The key is that the power of coaching is not in what we say or do, but rather in the sense of fertile safety we create in which the client can do their work.

Radical presence is based in the belief that silence is not what you do after you stop talking, but the very ground from which to speak. Silence offers the spaciousness to deeply listen — to receive and notice what is already present rather than try to make things happen.

Radical presence uses all your senses to tune into the present moment. It asks that you…

  • Listen with your whole body and being to what is said
  • Pick up on the variations in their tone and pitch
  • Watch their body language and facial expressions
  • Feel their energy and the energy in-between you and them
  • Empathize non-judgmentally with their experiences

When you are radically present, you allow the silence to reveal what wants to be said without trying to fill it. You trust that everything you need is right in front of you.

In this work, your job is not to drive clients toward outcomes. Instead, it’s to walk with them as they come to see the truth of where they are, what they truly want, and what needs to shift for them to step more fully into a meaningful outcome.

How to Access More Radical Presence

Radical presence requires setting down much of what you’re used to carrying. Most of us have been conditioned our whole lives to believe that we have to DO more in order to BE more. Radical presence starts with putting down this backpack overloaded with tools, agendas, buzz words, and more — in exchange for a simpler and more powerful mindset.

For example, what if you released your need to feel in control? To be certain? To be in charge? What if, instead, you embraced the need to feel compassionate? To be conscious? To be a witness?

If you’re not sure where to begin, start with this question: What do you need to put down in order to free yourself from the expectations you carry?

What would it feel like to imagine you are emptying your proverbial teacup before each session so that you can more easily remain radically present for what emerges? What if you could help your clients to do the same and to strengthen their cup so they can hold the work to be done?

It all begins with radical presence. . .

Practicing with Radical Presence

When you stop trying so hard to make things happen and focus instead on being courageously human, you can coach with more grace and power.

It can be hard to embody radical presence. And . . . it is the most important work you can do to become a more masterful coach.

One of the ways that students learn how to do this at The Moment Institute is to focus on one core question, “What is the client needing and ready for right now?

The answer to that question is seldom found through your questions or analysis. Instead, it arises from your presence and what you and the client can notice as a result. That discernment is crucial to the work of Narrative Coaches and Integrative Development practitioners because it’s what guides our support for structured emergence.

You must become attuned to what your client is willing and able to do right now. Small, in-the-moment steps that clients take lead to the big, meaningful transformations we’re all so passionate about. And, it all starts with radical presence . . .

See Radical Presence in Action

The best place to see radical presence in action is by joining The Threshold Lab’s Open House on the last Monday of each month.

They are an opportunity to experience The Moment Institute’s methods (like radical presence), engage others this way, and find out more about how you can learn this work for yourself.

Sign up for the next Open House here.

To learn more about The Moment Institute’s signature programs, take a look at The Narrative Coach® Program and The ID Way™ Program.