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  • Writer's pictureElfreda Manahan-Vaughan

Exploring Authenticity

Firstly, I want to apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I know many of you have been very supportive in the past reading my posts. This year has been taken up with study for my MSc and so my usual time spent writing on a Friday has been spent reading and researching instead. Anyway, here’s a little pondering for you this week.

I had the pleasure of participating in some new research into authenticity in coaches and coaching. Although the results of the research won’t be available until next year it did get me thinking about authenticity again and as I spoke to the researcher it helped me to clarify some of my own thoughts about my own experience.

One of the key questions asked was 'how do I know when I am being authentic?’ As I answered the question, I began to realise that I am more aware of when I am not authentic than when I am. Which reminded me of the answer I often get when I ask clients what they are thinking about when they are in the moment or are not feeling stressed or anxious. The answer is always ‘nothing’. This is the same for me when I am authentic. For me to be authentic means I need to be fully present in the moment. If I am projecting my thoughts into a situation, or if I am trying to project an image that may be perfect or knowledgeable then it pulls me out of the reality of who I am. When I am authentic, I am present warts and all. I know only so much, and I am aware of how much I don’t know. It has taken me years to be able to accept myself with all my flaws and successes.

To be genuinely authentic one needs to be able to admit your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions but most importantly know that you are enough. Being and feeling that you are enough allows us to present the truth of who we are, as we are no longer afraid of the judgements or opinions of others. For me, it also an ongoing journey. I need to be mindful of the moments of when I slip back into old patterns of defending or trying to be something I am not. I love that I am awesome and crap all at the same time.

I was asked if I had any tips for being authentic for new coaches and my answer, is the same answer I would give anyone. To be authentic you need to continually work on understanding yourself, on accepting who you are and overcoming the misguided assumptions you make about yourself and others. You need to free yourself from blame and be able to sit with the sad, angry and crappy parts of yourself. You have to thrive on the feedback that tells you who you are, even when it means you have to admit that some problems or difficult relationships are as much your fault as they are others. You also have to be present. Get out of your head and the stories you tell yourself about the world and other people. As long as you stay in a place of judgement and assumption you will miss the beauty of the moment and wonderful lessons it may bring. Working on your self-awareness, whether it is through meditation, yoga or emotional intelligence practices, is so important. If you don’t know who you are, or why you do what you do, how can you be authentic even with yourself.

It was an illuminating and inspiring conversation as we explored my thought for the research. It’s funny when we talk about things out loud how much insight we can have, I guess that is why coaching works and why I love it. I’d love to know your thoughts on authenticity and how you know when you are authentic and when you are not. Please post in the comments.

Thank you for reading. If you want to get in touch or have any questions email, phone 00353868373582 or PM.

I hope our paths cross again in the future,


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