Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Evoking Excellence in Others

James Flaherty’s book, “Coaching – Evoking Excellence in Others,” (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999) has been described as the ‘mother lode’ of coaching’s guiding principles. It is an essential primer for any Quantum One Life Coach because it identifies five essential guiding principles for coaching:

1. A Relationship based on mutual respect, mutual trust and freedom of expression between coach and client is the core principle.
2. Pragmatism brings an outcome based approach with a corrective feedback loop.
3. Coaching occurs on two tracks as both coach and client are engaged in learning and breakdowns may occur in either person’s commitment or competence.
4. Clients are always/already in the middle of their activity/journey and they come in with their own concerns, and commitments. They are not empty vessels.
5. Techniques don’t work but guiding principles do.

It has been the experience of this practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching that although specific techniques in session do not work, guiding principles such as the “GROW” model of coaching can be very effective. Certain tools can be very effective, such as including exercises and creative expression assignments. A case in point is a “money exercise” that was recently done by a writing coach, in which she was able to deeply explore her personal relationship with money. This process took a couple of weeks of deep introspection and she did not hesitate to “put pen to paper.” The most profound question that required a shift in her way of being was “what did she have to give up” to have a more positive, wholesome relationship with money. This exploration not only required the client to change her patterns of consumption but also her way of being in her work and in her relationships as a mature human being responsible for effective management of her time and creative energy.

Flaherty’s most profound contribution to the art of coaching is his introspection about the nature of a “human being,” which goes to the heart of the question about our fullest and highest potential. The human being is the “focus, center, and subject of coaching.” This practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching had success with a gay client who was unable to maintain steady employment because of his diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. The focus of the coaching with this client was: “can a human being be complete and whole without having a self-definition as an “economic being?” Instead of coaching this client to become employable by teaching him skills such as resume writing and helping him become more comfortable with the interviewing process, which other counselors have attempted in vain to do, this Quantum One Life Coach challenged the client to look at how he defined his very humanity, and become more comfortable with who he was rather than what he could do. One of his assignments was to watch the movie “Rivers and Tides” which is about an artist who does not work within the context of creating art for the market economy. The outcome of this was that the client was able to let him self enjoy knitting, gardening, playing the piano and volunteering as a sign linguist – all of which brought him joy and some measure of satisfaction.

Another useful analysis presented by Flaherty is to look at an overview of the coaching process, specifically the “Flow of Coaching.” This flow, he breaks down into, 1) Establish a relationship, 2) Recognize an Opening, 3) Observe/Assess, 4) Enroll the client
And 5) Coaching conversations.

Establishing a relationship is of course the fundamental foundation for a successful Quantum One Life Coach and has been addressed by most authors on the coaching process.

Recognizing an opening and making assessments are also essential to the coaching process since it is often the entry to a domain of life that needs attention and self-cultivation.

Flaherty identifies the openings for coaching into 1) performance assessment, 2) breakdown, 3) Broken promises, 4) Request for coaching, 5) Need for a new skill and 6) Business need.

Flaherty presents several models of assessment which can be very useful in planning the way forward with a client. The Five Elements model looks at 1) Immediate concerns, 2) Commitments, 3) Future Possibilities, 4) Personal and Cultural History and 5) Mood.
A second model looks at the Domains of Competence: 1) the “I” Domain which assesses self-management, 2) The “We” domain, which looks at relationships with others, and 3) the “It” Domain which looks at facts and events. A third model is based on Components of Satisfaction and Effectiveness and assesses for 1) Intellect, 2) Emotion, 3) Will, 4) Context and 5) Soul.

The enrollment phase is of course vital to the transformation of the client and the potential outcome of the coaching because it addresses the specific commitments of the client and the coach, and also the possible impediments and hindrances to meeting those commitments.

The final phase addresses the types of conversation that can be pursued in the coaching session. He presents three overviews. The first model looks at the initial coaching conversation – the possibility of coaching, enrollment in coaching, beginning to coach, supporting coaching and follow up. The second overview looks at conversations that might occur after the third or fourth session of coaching: reporting, connecting, changing, practicing, completing and follow up. The third overview is recommended for the completion of the coaching program.

In conclusion, one of the most important topics covered by Flaherty is the importance of self-development or self-cultivation for the coach. This requires a continuous honing of skills, self-assessments, personal growth and a cultivation of personal qualities, without which a coach cannot really be true to the coaching profession.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Tao of Coaching

Another excellent coaching model that will continue to inform my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is covered in the international best-seller by Max Landsberg. Although much of “The Tao of Coaching”focuses on organizational coaching for management in which there are multiple opportunities for vertical and horizontal coaching on the organizational ladder, there are also certain aspects of the model that have wider application in the Quantum One Life Coaching practice. Given that Quantum One Life Coaching does offer services in corporate coaching, Landsberg’s model is useful in a corporate environment as well as in individual situations.

Max Landsberg’s definition of coaching is a useful place to start out in embodying the Tao of Coaching:

“Coaching aims to enhance the performance and learning ability of others.

It involves giving feedback, but it also includes other techniques such as motivation and effective questioning. And, for a manager-coach it includes recognizing the coachee’s readiness to undertake a particular task in terms of both their skill and will.

Overall, the coach is aiming for the coachee to help her – or himself. And it is a dynamic interaction – it does not rely on a one-way flow or instruction.”
(2003, p. xii).

One of the key principles of this model of coaching is to appreciate the effectiveness of asking and not telling during the coaching session in order to empower the coachee to achieve a higher quality of task completion, a deeper level of understanding of the issue(s), a higher level of motivation, and a higher level of learning.

Providing positive and constructive feedback is another important component of this model of coaching. This also means discussing what the coachee might do even better next time. Clearly this is an essential aspect in the area of corporate coaching.

The fundamental component of "The Tao of Coaching" model, developed by former partner at McKinsey & Company, Organizational and business coach, Max Landsberg, in this book, is the structuring of the coaching session, which is known as the GROW model. G denotes goal, R denotes Reality, O denotes Options and W denotes Wrap-up.

In the Quantum One Life Coaching practice, the client/coachee is invited to explore and then set the goal at the outset of the session, although the term of preference for Quantum One Life Coaching is “setting intention(s)” both for the session and for the outcome of the session. This setting of intention may also be in the form of a vision or an affirmation for the individual such as

“as a result of this session, I see myself completing my Bohemian Club project in Santa Barbara, with grace and ease.”

The next phase of the session fully explores the Reality and also the context of the situation. The client is invited to make a self-assessment, check to see what has worked and not worked in the past, what the coachee’s relationship is with the issue and whether or not there is a sense of alignment with the long-range goals/mission/vision for the client.

In the Options process of this exploration, the coach is encouraging the client/coachee to identify and flesh out the various options and choices available based on past successes or the possibility of an alternative solution.

The Wrap-up aspect of this model requires a review of how viable or doable the options are, and then identifying the next steps, the support and resources needed. A time line is a valuable addition to this process.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Building New Beliefs: The Structure of Certainty

Richard Bandler, the father of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has helped thousands of people around the globe to rid themselves of "incurable" phobias, fears, anxieties, addictions, negative habits and past traumas - sometimes in just a single session. In his latest book, "Get the Life you Want," he tackles the issue of how our belief systems can often keep us stuck:

"ONE OF THE MOST important aspects of what human beings do is build beliefs. Beliefs are what trap most people in their problems. Unless you believe you can get over something, get through something, or get to something, there is little likelihood you will be able to do it. Your beliefs refer to your sense of certainty on some of your thoughts.

Most people listen to their parents, teachers, and authority figures from an early age and learn lots of limitations they supposedly have. If you were told that you were not clever enough or not good enough at a subject or at a sport, the danger is that you believed it. As soon as we believe in something, we search for ways to prove it's true. What we are looking for here is to learn to doubt your limitations and be more certain of what is possible for you.

In order to create any change, it's necessary to help the person change their beliefs and build new beliefs that will allow them to maintain the change into the future. In order to change beliefs, we first need to learn a way of finding out the qualities of beliefs.

Once again, this is where submodalities come in handy. Like any thought, our beliefs have a structure in terms of their qualities. If I were to ask you, "Do you believe the sun is coming up tomorrow?" what would your response be? Typically you would immediately answer yes, but there is an intervening process. In order to answer the question "Do you believe the sun is coming up tomorrow?", you will usually represent this belief in your mind.

It's important to note that if I asked you the question verbally, you would know the answer without speaking aloud. When I ask, "Is the sun coming up tomorrow?", typically people flash an image of the sun somewhere in their minds. They may say yes inside their heads in a certain tone of voice, and they will have a feeling of certainty somewhere in their bodies that lets them know this is true.

This internal process is a guide for our behavior. It allows us to make plans. It allows us to buy a book and know that we'll read it in the future. Having beliefs as a guide to our behavior is an important part of being a human being. It's also an important part of knowing how to change a human being - and how to change yourself in particular." (2008, pp. 19-20).

~ Excerpted from "Get the Life You Want - The Secrets to Quick and Lasting Life Change with Neuro-Linguistic Programming" by Richard Bandler, hypnotherapist and Transformation Guru

Friday, October 24, 2008

Failure is the stepping stone to Success

Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, author of "The Quantum Brain" discusses the important relationship of failure to success:

"In my years as a psychiatrist, I have treated many highly "successful" individuals who have floundered upon confronting setbacks, considering themselves "failures." I have learned the following lesson : Truly successful people, the most successful, have a very checkered track record, peppered with what they consider many serious "losses." Success for them is defined not by any external, objective standard unvarying from one person to the next but rather by that level of accomplishment that the individuals themselves experience as unequivocally satisfying (and that often happens to, but need not, coincide with what others consider successful, too).

Invariably, those with near-perfect records, outstanding by "objective" standards, suffer from two afflictions: They are excruciatingly sensitive to failure (which is why when confronted with it, should they happen to be, they fall into the tailspin that brings them to my office); they consider themselves never really to have fulfilled their own potential, even when not in crisis. And they're correct, contrary to all to kind-hearted, humane and utterly useless self-esteem building that constitutes a substantial part of "therapy" nowadays.

In reality, a decent exposure to failure, over a long enough time, not only inoculates us against emotional collapse, it allows us to try things that expand our reach: if you can't fail, you can't succeed. The steepest learning curves (measured against a standard that varies from person to person, however) happen when serious loss is allowed and not avoided. When we avoid loss, we still may do well by the world's standards, but we know we are being cowardly. We therefore can't experience the joy of genuine accomplishment - and we shouldn't." (2001, pp. 14-15).

~ Excerpted from "The Quantum Brain - The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man" By Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, practicing psychiatrist, past president of the C.G. Jung Foundation, and former Fellow in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at Yale University. He has also been a William James Lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard University.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Overcoming Perfectionitis with Healthy Striving

Award-winning author, renowned empowerment coach and fellow University of Santa Monica graduate, Eli Davidson has this to offer about how to overcome Perfectionitis in her best-selling and entertaining book "Funky to Fabulous" which should be on your reading list if you're serious about realizing your wildest dreams and highest aspirations:


What would life be like without the disease? (Yep, it is possible to live that way!) The opposite of Perfectionitis is what researchers call "healthy striving." Studies show that healthy strivers set realistic goals that are the natural next step from where they are now. You can too! Go ahead and dream big. Then lay out a set of reasonable steps that will get you there. That way you can work smarter, not harder.

Not only that. You get to acknowledge yourself for completing each step along the way. That adds up to a lot of positive internal reinforcement. The more steps you get to declare done and done well, the more you build your self-image as someone savvy and successful. And that feels great. Instead o rewarding yourself only when you reach the mondo outcome, you savor the delights of the journey. Since its a pretty fab expedition, you take the flubs and toe stubs into account as part of the adventure.

Healthy striving goes along with healthy self-esteem. And when your self-esteem is alive and well, you tend to live from the inside out. You "pick a game you can win," as my pal Kathryn Allen says. You go for things that have juice for you inside and are attainable outside. You pay attention to the smarts inside of you." (2007, pp. 109-110)

~ Excerpted from "Funky to Fabulous - Surefire success strategies for the...Savvy, Sassy, and Swamped," by empowerment expert, Eli Davidson, M.A. in Spiritual Psychology.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Living Deeply and Seeing with New Eyes

A great read, based on a decadelong research program at the Institute of Noetic Sciences is entitled "Living Deeply - The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life." The very first chapter sets the context for the field in which a Transpersonal Life Coach works with a client:

A transformation in consciousness effects a kind of double vision in people.
They see more than one reality at the same time, which gives a depth to both
their experience and to their response to the experience.
"For Richard Gunther, who tells his story in the preface to this book, transformation happened in a moment. He stepped out onto a deck and experienced the beauty and splendor of the Big Sur coastline. He felt the sun on his flesh and the wind in his hair. But he also felt something else. Something much more meaningful: a change in his worldview. In one moment he was suddenly "flooded with contentment and the joy of feeling whole, of being blessed." In an instant, he experienced a paradigm shift that changed the way he saw the world - and his place in it.
While not everyone experiences it in a moment, Richard Gunther's experience can best be described as a consciousness transformation. Consciousness transformations are profound internal shifts that result in long-lasting changes in the way you experience and relate to yourself, others, and the world. It's not so much that this successful businessman became a different person. Instead, he experienced a change in his perception of reality - and in the process discovered more fully who he really is, independent of the social expectations and cultural conditioning that had previously shaped his sense of self.
Stop and reflect for a moment. Looking back over your life, can you find pivotal moments that broadened your perspective? Have there been times in your life that you identify as turning points - moments after which you saw the world in a more open and generous light? Have you ever felt connected to something greater than yourself, and in that connection felt self-centeredness slip away? Or have you noticed a more gradual process, where over a period of months or years you changed the way you viewed yourself and the world, little by little?
Consciousness transformations happen more often than you might think. Knowing more about what stimulates them, how they work, and what supports the process can help you jump on board rather than be just pulled along, getting bashed about in the process. By understanding transformation, you'll be better able to navigate the enormous changes that face each of us every day of our lives. As a result, you may be able to shift what is difficult and challenging into opportunity and adventure. Our premise is simple, yet radical: your behavior, attitudes, and ways of being in the world are changed in life-affirming and lasting ways only when your consciousness transforms and you commit to living deeply into that transformation." (2007, pp. 14-15)
~Excerpted from "Living Deeply - The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life" by Marilyn Mandala Schlitz, Ph.D., Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., Tina Amorok, Psy.D.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Professional Magician: The Coach

Patricia R. Adson, Ph.D. is the author of "Depth Coaching" which takes an archetypal approach to Life Coaching. I particularly appreciate her identification of the Magician as the archetypal force which is accessed by the coach:

"The journey of the coach, therapist, counselor, or journey guide is the journey of the Magician. Changing consciousness and awareness - is what we do. We change others by first becoming true to ourselves. We calm others by being calm ourselves and motivate others by being motivated. As coaches we also have an obligation to become familiar with the many change strategies that connect people to their own paths and to their own powers (their archetypal forces).

The very power to name can be magic and, when used with care, can be a transforming force. When used carelessly, however, this power can be damaging. Look at how much harm some psychologists did when they named many ordinary feelings and situations as diseases and turned health into illness. Name-calling is a powerful thing. The coach can help people reframe, rename, and see things with a different perspective with amazing (seemingly) magical results. The coach does this not by working magic on clients, but by teaching clients to be magicians in their own lives. Coaching is not something you do to people but something you do with people.

The unique nature of the coaching relationship calls for knowledge of the fundamentals of change, a profound respect for the client, and a sincere belief in the client's ability to change. If you don't believe with all your heart that a client is capable of change, don't agree to work with that client.

The Magician is also trying to reveal in the ordinary world the truth of the non-ordinary dimension. A simple example of of this is helping clients discover their purpose or calling. At a deeper level this may be manifesting heaven on earth - ideal forms expressed in the material world - by finding the real nobility of the clients (deeper values and special gifts) and helping them to express these in the way they live their lives.

The coach - as generalist and change agent - must also have some personal characteristics not always required in other professions. These include intense curiosity, the ability to inspire, creativity, imagination, intuition, and a passion to help others grow and learn - to help others find their own paths. Some of these characteristics can be learned, but others cannot. If you don't have passion, you can't fake it. Find another profession. This is not your calling."

~ Excerpted from "Depth Coaching - Discovering Archetypes for Empowerment, Growth and Balance" by Patricia R. Adson, Ph.D. (2004, p. 85).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Heart of Faith

To celebrate the launch of this new blog, I wish to honor my Life Coach trainers at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Todd Zimmerman and Dr. Rosie Kuhn who has published a very useful text on self empowerment, which I highly recommend. Here are a few gems from her book entitled "Self-Empowerment 101:"

"Those who have faced issues of faith many times over, come to a place where trust and faith are not so necessary. They've exercised these particular muscles to the degree that there is a level of mastery, a confidence, and a knowing that Divine wisdom is always and everywhere. They know they will be able to handle what needs to be handled. They know by following their bliss and their passions, their calling and their convictions, they will be given what is needed when it's needed. They know they can live in patience and peace while remaining open to allowing what is, to be what it is. Each of us has a capacity to live in this knowing; in this peaceful, open, and allowing space. We will not get there by living in the safety of the known and the possible while avoiding vulnerability. We will only get there by changing our relationship to the impossible.

Three ways to learn about faith:

1. Every religion and spiritual tradition has a component of mysticism, which is really the crucible for faith-based living. This is where the heart of faith and true practice of spirituality lies. There is Christian Mysticism, Judaic Mysticism, Islamic Mysticism, and Buddhist Mysticism. My experience is that they can be extremely supportive in your endeavor to live an empowering life in many ways. If you are curious enough, I would strongly encourage you to research these aspects of your religious and spiritual teachings.

2. Ancient wisdom, passed down for thousands of years, is accessible through many indigenous cultures. There are many resources available to you to research the ancient traditions and wisdoms.

3. Acknowledging all of the times you've experienced faith firsthand and survived, perhaps coming out better.

You are being asked to consciously choose a life worth living. If you've read these words then you're at choice about your options. In service to this intention, you might find it empowering to sit with an elder as a mentor, or hire a therapist, a spiritual director, or a life coach to support you through this process.

When you live into your true personal power you face your future and desires without the survival strategies that once distorted your personal truth so as to avoid vulnerability. Nothing real can be threatened or is in peril. What is threatened is only your attachment to the beliefs and interpretations you've lived by. Experiment by letting go - just a little bit - and begin to create the impossible."

~ Excerpted from "Self-Empowerment 101 - Re-enchantment with our own capacity for empowering ourselves and others" By Dr. Rosie Kuhn, Ph.D (2007, pp. 117-118).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The small gold coins

I just had a free association re-reading my first post on this blog. I am reminded of David Whyte's poem which evokes images of those marvellous small gold coins:

The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning down to its black water
to the place that we can not breathe
will never know
the source from which we drink
the secret water cold and clear
nor find in the darkness
the small gold coins
thrown by those who wished for something else

~ David Whyte ~

Friday, October 3, 2008

To Find Ourselves in the Presence of Angels

The following quote from Virgina Woolf showed up twice this evening while I was reading about Quantum healing and it seemed to be a prompt from Beyond to get started on a new blog about the Quantum realm and the power of Imagination:

"How common illness is
how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings,
how astonishing when the lights of health go down,
the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed,
what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view,
what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals,
what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness,
how we go down into the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of angels."