07 May Presence

Presence is not the same as charisma. Charisma often relies on fame, skilful acting or the projection of an aura of specialness. Presence arises from the depths of a person’s being.

Presence is a function of listening. It shows up in your responses to people’s questions. When you are present, your answers will fall directly into their world and they will know you have been listening. They will feel heard. When people feel heard they feel supported and valued. This is a platform for trust. Trust is a specific result of presence.

Presence is a function of sharing. People experience you as present when you share authentically from your own experience, without withholding.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Presence is not your theories, your opinions, your concepts, models or how much you know about something. These have their place, but they are not presence.

Presence is not talking about presence. This would be like trying to eat the menu instead of eating the meal.

Presence is a function of congruence. When what you say matches what you do, and when what you say and how you say it all match, then people will experience you as very present.

Presence is a function of contact. Particularly eye contact, but not only that.

Presence reveals itself in vulnerability, sensitivity, tenderness, kindness and care. Ultimately this is what it takes to be a coach, facilitator or leader.

Presence is not blaming people, making them feel guilty or criticising them. It is acknowledging them for being exactly who they are and what they offer, and then offering them the possibility of moving on.

Presence is a function of awareness. Awareness and attention are the keys to presence.

Presence is a function of allowing whatever is present just to be present: not resisting, rejecting, reacting or resenting.

Presence is not necessarily stillness. Presence for a champion tennis player, athlete or soccer player is often in intense action, focussed, committed and intentional. Presence is often enhanced by stillness, especially as a practice to be becoming present.

Presence is the opposite of absence. First and foremost, you must show up.

Presence and acknowledgement go hand in hand. When you acknowledge somebody, it’s a declaration that they are present for you, and you for them.

Presence does not rely on the past to determine who you are. Who you are is a manifestation of this moment.

Presence almost invariably means that love arises.



Mo Cohen
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