Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coaching the Whole Person

Transpersonal Life coaching is more holistic than other styles of coaching in that it includes an integrated approach to developing the whole person, it addresses the emotional (feelings), cognitive (thinking patterns), physical (body connection) and spiritual areas of development. Because it operates at a deeper level, it effects how people experience themselves and experience the world.

Transpersonal Life Coaching allows clients to become more competent in relationships, in their professional lives, in understanding themselves, and in affecting the world around them.

Does coaching really work? Yes! This is why:

1. Some of us don't know where we're going, what our lives are about, and how our values affect us each day. Coaching helps clarify our purpose, values and goals.

2. We may know where we're going and what we need to do, but we forget or simply get stuck in our limiting belief systems, ineffective habits or inability to focus. A well-trained coach gets us back on track by helping us identify those limiting beliefs or negative self-narratives and ineffective habits; then we may find more effective ways of living and enjoying life.

3. Many times we resist "sustained" change because it's so much easier and more comfortable to stay the way we are. Any change we make causes resistance and backlash within ourselves as well as from other people in our lives, often resulting in a relapse in behaviors or a way of being. A coach helps us move beyond that resistance with greater ease and flow. In the coaching relationship you may decide to work on all areas of your life at once or just focus on one.

Some Distinctions between Coaching and Counseling/Therapy:

Psychotherapy deals with disruptive emotional and behavioral problems. The underlying assumption is that clients come to therapy with some kind of deficiency or impairment. The goals of therapy are to remediate the dysfunction with face-to-face therapy, psychotropic medications, or a combination of both.

Coaching deals with well functioning individuals who want to move toward a more fulfilling and effective life. Coaching is a process similar to solution-focused methods that therapists use for less serious psycho-emotional problems and life stresses. However, coaching is qualitatively different from any mental health services. The coach does not assume that he/she has a specific kind of expertise, which must be taught to the client. Rather, the coach provides a relationship that focuses on the following characteristics:

1. Exploring and perceiving the specific needs of the client.

2. Exploration of the goals that would facilitate the client in reaching his/her potential.

3. Collaboration with the client- taking the client's lead rather than imposing the coach's philosophy and values.

4. Supporting an atmosphere of encouragement in which there are no failures; rather, each step the client takes helps him/her to know more about them and to take the initiative to move in a more effective direction.

5. Reaching into ways to help the client truly know his/her "Self" better and to find more meaning.

6. Using methods that are relevant to the client's personal, vocational, social, emotional, financial and possibly spiritual goals.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"The Power of Now"

If there is one book that profoundly informs my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach, it is the book by Eckhart Tolle entitled “The Power of Now.” Although it’s sub-title is “A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment,” it is also an essential guide for a Life Coach and a guide that I would recommend to any committed coachee at the outset of our coaching practice, especially if the coachee is seeking Spiritual coaching.

The transformational coaching approach to which I subscribe maintains that 80% of our work comes from our “being” and 20% is about what we know as coaches. “The Power of Now” addresses this experience of “being” and offers principles and practices on how to be “present” in the Now.

Presence is a quality of being that is essential to my practice as a coach. It informs the way I listen to my clients and what I listen for and at the same time allows me to listen from essence and purpose. But it also informs how I embody this presence with my clients. The Quantum One Life Coaching process is founded on “co-creating our wildest dreams and highest aspirations with the Power of Imagination.” Hence it requires a quality of being and presence that invites the clients to also come from their own being. “The Power of Now” encourages one to move deeply into the Now and this is where the deepest connection is made with the client/coachee and the One. The relationship between Presence and Imagination is one that Ekhart Tolle does not fully explore, but it has been my experience that Imagination is most successfully evoked and cultivated through our quality of being and Presence.

This process of Being uncovers what Tolle refers to as the Inner Body. Not only does the Coach connect with his or her own Inner Body but Tolle also addresses the somatics of coaching:

“Transformation is through the body, not away from it. This is why no true master has ever advocated fighting or leaving the body, although their mind-based followers often have.”

The ability of the coach to be in his or her own inner body and also be present to the inner body of the client is paramount in creating this experience of presence for both coach and client. It is from this experience of Presence that the coach is able to discern what it is that wants to emerge for the coachee.

Tolle also writes with profound depth about enlightened relationships. This applies both to the Coach/coachee relationship as it does to the relationship issues that the coachee may be struggling with. Tolle differentiates between “romantic relationships,” and addictive relationships or co-dependent relationships from relationships that are based on the client’s wholeness. He advocates for a suspension of judgment and a move towards acceptance of what is, which make us free of the mind: “You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.”

Tolle identifies relationships as “spiritual practice,” which is entirely in alignment with the principles of Quantum Life Coaching because underlying all relationships is the Oneness of all being. This is not just limited to persons but also to all of creation, events and phenomena.

“The Power of Now” implicitly addresses the question of one’s relationship with Time. This is valuable both for the coach as well as the coachee. In situations where a coachee may be identifying with the past, with their story, the coach can facilitate an awareness of the Now and the possibility of choices in the Now, choices that let go of the stories in the past and focus on the field of possibilities in the present.

Tolle makes important distinctions between inner purpose and outer purpose as well as distinctions between one’s life and one’s “life situation.” This is a vitally important distinction to make in Quantum One Life Coaching because often clients may be focused on their outer purpose and have no sense of their inner purpose. Such clients are then at risk of losing their centeredness if their outer purpose is not fulfilled, whereas clients who are more focused on their inner purpose are in the position of identifying an outer purpose in alignment with their inner purpose. And if their outer purpose is unfulfilled, they are more apt and prepared to accept a change of course in their life situation:

“The outer purpose belongs to the horizontal dimension of space and time; the inner purpose concerns a deepening of your Being in the vertical dimension of the timeless Now. Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now. As you become more deeply aware of this one step, you realize that it already contains within itself all the other steps as well as the destination. This one step becomes transformed into an expression of perfection, an act of great beauty and quality. It will have taken you into Being, and the light of Being will shine through it. This is both the purpose and fulfillment of your inner journey, the journey into yourself.”

This awareness by the client may take time to cultivate but it clearly provides for an enduring experience of well-being, which in and of itself can inspire the client to define the scope of their outer purpose with more clarity. Ultimately, the quality and manifestation of the outer purpose can be greatly enhanced when it is alignment with one’s inner purpose. What Tolle brings to the coaching milieu is an ability to identify effective spiritual principles for transformation without over-loading the content with “spiritualitis.” Hence there is an opening here to connect with one’s inner body, inner being and inner purpose especially for those who may not follow any particular spiritual tradition.

“The Power of Now” concludes with the meaning of surrender, emphasizing that no transformation is possible with an “unsurrendered state of consciousness.” It is only when we can fully accept what is that we can contemplate the next realistic incremental action steps. This is fully in alignment with the Quantum One Life Coaching practice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"The Power of Intention"

Another work that will always inform my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is the book by Dr. Wayne Dyer entitled “The Power of Intention.” My experience as a coach thus far has been to invite the coachee to set an intention at the outset of the session so that both coach and coachee can collaborate on ways to fully realize that intention.

Since Quantum One Life Coaching’s vision for its practice is “Co-creation with the Power of Imagination,” Dyer’s sub-title, “Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way” is very much in alignment with my “come from” on coaching. As a coach, I think it is essential that the coach and coachee are on the same page about both the intention for the session as well as the coachee’s intention for the general coaching topic/goal since this also requires the client to assume direction and responsibility for manifesting the outcome of the coaching.

Dyer’s break down of the notion of intention into its seven faces is very useful to both coach and coachee.

1. The face of creativity calls on the creative energy of both coach and client.

2. The face of kindness speaks to a positive energy in the universe that effects the immune system and an increased production of serotonin in the brain which itself makes one feel “comfortable, peaceful and even blissful.” Hence this is an essential quality for the Quantum One Life Coaching practice.

3. The face of love speaks to the energy field of intention which is nurturing and creates a supportive environment in which one is able to flourish and grow. It is out of love that the Quantum One Life Coach is able to see the fullest human potential and possibility in the client.

4. The face of beauty is very much aligned with the Eco-psychological orientation of the Quantum One Life Coaching practice because it invites one to attune to and be receptive to the beauty of the natural world and our elegant universe, our overflowing source of life in all its myriad forms.

5. The face of expansion speaks to the ever-expansive evolutionary process of our universe and invites one to reflect and contemplate the infinite field of possibilities. It is both an agent of change as well as a liberating force from “stuckness,” which is very often what may be presented by the client.

6. The face of unlimited abundance challenges our limiting beliefs about what we can experience in our lives both in material and spiritual terms. Connecting with the generosity of the Universe is one of the keys to unlocking and tapping the vast potential of each being on the planet, opening the floodgates to the psychology of gratitude

7. The face of receptivity speaks to the open arms with which both coach and client may encounter the secret suggestions from the field of intention. Often these secret suggestions far outshine any notions we may have had about possible outcomes.

Dyer invites us to connect to this Field of Intention by being the seven faces. This creates a very powerful field for manifesting dreams and possibilities. He uses a quotation by Thomas Troward which creates a powerful frame and context for Quantum One Life Coaching:

“The law of flotation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things,
but by contemplating the floating of things
which floated naturally,
and then intelligently asking why they did so.”

Very useful to me as coach and one that I have already used as a coach is to examine
some of the obstacles to connecting to intention. Dyer identifies five levels of energy, moving from the lowest and slowest to the highest and fastest frequencies. These are the material, sound, light, thought and spirit worlds. I completely concur with his prescription for raising one’s energy vibrations by

1) making meditation a regular practice in one’s life,
2) becoming conscious of the foods one eats,
3) retreating from low-energy substances,
4) being conscious of the energy level of the music one listens to,
5) becoming aware of the energy levels of one’s home environment,
6) reducing exposure to the low energy of commercial and cable television,
7) enhancing one’s energy field with photographs,
8) becoming conscious of the energy levels of acquaintances, friends and extended family,
9) monitoring one’s activities and where they take place, and
10) extending random acts of kindness, asking for nothing in return.

However, clearly not all of my clients espouse these principles and the most I can do as a coach is to encourage my clients if they are willing to look at the potential obstacles in connecting to intention. One of my clients in therapy was intrigued by Dyer’s book until she read about his prescriptions about avoiding alcohol. Being a frequent user/abuser of alcohol, she became very cynical about the power of intention. Hence, even though she was willing to set intentions in our sessions, she was not able to follow through on the intentions she set for herself.

Dyer looks at the relationship between purpose and intention as “beautifully and naturally intertwined as the double helix of your DNA. There are no accidents.” A very significant point he makes is that “purpose is not as much about what you do as it is about how you feel so that one’s feelings of being on purpose flow through expressions of the seven faces of intention.”

This is in alignment with Tolle’s perspective in “The Power of Now” (my next post) as well as the orientation of the Quantum One Life Coaching practice. My own experience in creating a collage on Eco-psychology was that my own fascination and intentions in this area became clear when I wrote out my inner and outer purpose statements.

Finally Dyer invites a Quantum One Life Coach to reflect and act on Maslow’s assertion that “Self actualizing people must be what they can be.” On this historic day, when Barack Obama, the first African-American (or as I would prefer to call him, the first Kenyan-American) has been elected as President of the United States of America, one can no longer under-estimate the Power of Intention or the Power of Imagination. It is clear that each of our clients is already moving in this direction and as coach it is vital to observe what is emerging.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"The Last Word on Power"

The most profound coaching model that will continue to inform and permeate my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is covered in the work of Tracy Goss, a foremost expert in the field of transformational leadership and executive re-invention, and author of “The Last Word on Power.” In fact, the essential approach of this coaching model speaks to the quantum aspect of Quantum One Life Coaching because it challenges the coachee to aspire to achieve the “impossible,” (Yes! Our Wildest Dreams and Highest Aspirations!) not by any incremental improvements in the various domains of one’s life but by declaring the destination and moving into it and towards it.

This model of coaching is intimately familiar to me because it is the approach that my own father took - out of bankruptcy into financial wealth and stability. It happened in 1961 when my father had to declare business and personal bankruptcy much to the chagrin of his immediate and extended family because in the “British colonial” context and culture of his time, there was much shame attached to the decision to file bankruptcy, period. It was a time when an individual had to repay a percentage of one’s debts in order to be discharged from bankruptcy.

On the day that my father filed bankruptcy, he caused a sensation and a stir by declaring to the local press: “I am a bankrupt today, but I will be a millionaire tomorrow.” This was the front page banner headline of the newspapers the next day. There was no escaping the power of his words even though his son, that would be moi, was too embarrassed to go to school that day. As I write these words my father has a net worth of over a million dollars.

Almost forty years later, I also filed personal and business bankruptcy and declared that “this was not an ending but a beginning and an opening to something new” to a cohort of 200 plus students in spiritual psychology. Not knowing where this journey would lead me, I took the next steps, completed two advanced degrees in psychology and back in 2005, I declared that

"I will live, work, study and flourish as a therapist/life coach as a “citizen” of Santa Barbara, California with all the rights and responsibilities that go with such citizenship."

Up to the moment of my first declaration in June 2000, this author had cultivated a winning strategy of thinking positive and taking incremental steps towards some measured success in all my life domains. However, the financial success that was my primary goal continued to elude me, and with it, my dreams of a sustained intimate relationship. My winning strategy had - at the most - allowed me to survive with a smile. I wanted a bolder vision of life to step into and the experience of “dying” before going into battle, which Goss describes as an essential precursor to the success that has followed me since then was a way of “hitting bottom without giving up.”

I was thrust into a re-invention paradigm by the very fact that I was at ground zero with no cash, no income, no credit, no career and no intimate relationship, finding myself in a place of “accepting hopelessness – as a gift.” From here on, I had to take a stand. I was on my way to get my PhD, find a life partner and live in Santa Barbara because that is what I want in my life. My several visits to Santa Barbara since August 2001, less than a year after filing business bankruptcy, was my way of “honing my declaration.” Back in 2005, I wanted to “be “in Santa Barbara and this I have been “doing” consistently, but once I declared I wanted to "be" a Santa Barbaran, I was able to take the steps to make that a reality! This has much more power in it than wanting to be in Santa Barbara!

From this declaration, I am now ready to complete the expressive: “Who I am is the future of engaged citizenship.” And “I declare the possibility of being very happily married, while flourishing as an international authority and expert witness on authentic embodied well-being in all its spheres, both personal, transpersonal and systemic, and as a model citizen of Santa Barbara.”

Goss identifies these declarations as the process necessary for designing and inventing an impossible future, without regard to the possibility of failure, acknowledging that one may even fail. She develops a formidable Re-Invention Master Paradigm that focuses on an ontological system of committed speaking and listening, and achieving transformation by how one is being by altering the context. In my own case, the context of living, working and studying in Santa Barbara changes radically by being not only an engaged model citizen of Santa Barbara but an international authority and expert witness on embodied well being in all its spheres: personal, transpersonal and systemic.

Goss further emphasizes a different set of leadership skills between the Universal Human Paradigm and the Re-invention Master Paradigm which are 1) Declaring a future based on no evidence and no history, 2) Creating Context, 3) Taking a stand, 4) Fulfilling realms of possibility, 5) Making bold promises one does not know - in advance - how to keep, and 6) Acting from the future.

The Context for this new paradigm is “There’s no such thing as should/shouldn’t, right/wrong. They are always and only an interpretation.” Or as Rumi says “Beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field, I will meet you there.”

The Action required for Re-Invention is a series of conversations that one engages in to transform a possibility and build a bridge in to reality. These conversations generate commitment and bold promises, and a way of assessing the steps in this movement towards this reality by simply asking 1) “What happened?” without assigning any meaning to it, 2) “What’s missing?” without assigning any judgment to it and 3) “What’s next?” by answering this with taking action from the future based on declarations already made. Hence, there are no problems but merely one’s personal relationship to these conversations and inquiries.

Finally, Goss asks us to let go of all our limiting beliefs and let go of using our Winning Strategy in order to win and control so that life turns out the way it should, and doesn’t turnout the way it shouldn’t. Instead she invites us to the high stakes game of life of making the impossible happen, and taking quantum leaps by freely engaging in risk-taking in a game one is impassioned to play, while life turns out the way it does! There is no fall back position!

The one dimension that Quantum One Life Coaching adds to the Re-Invention Master paradigm is the transpersonal realm which invokes the One to co-create the game with us from the moment these declarations are made by adding the following phrase to each declaration:
“This or something better for the highest good of all concerned!”

And so it is.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Act of Will

The work of the founder of Psychosynthesis, the renowned Italian psychiatrist and friend of Carl Jung, Dr. Roberto Assagioli that will continue to inform and inspire my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is explored in his book “The Act of Will.” (Penguin Books 1974). This work is essential reading for anyone who is contemplating a career in coaching because it addresses the issue of the development of one’s inner powers.

Essentially, one must appreciate the very nature of the will because it this understanding that can empower the coach to look at what the obstacles as well as what the opportunities may be for his or her clients to actually manifest their intentions and goals.

Assagioli begins his work by breaking down the different aspects of the will into 1) the strong will, 2) the skillful will, 3) the good will and 4) the Transpersonal will.

Strength is only one aspect of will, and when dissociated from the others, it can often be ineffectual and even harmful to oneself and others. The skillful will consists of the ability to “obtain desired results with the least possible expenditure of energy.” But without the ability to choose the right goals, the other two aspects of the will may be devoid of any ethical consideration, or sense of love and compassion. Hence it is vital to cultivate a “good will” to foster the most virtuous or benign actions.

Finally, Assagioli speaks to the importance of the Transpersonal Will which is the will of the Transpersonal Self. This is the field of the relationship within each individual between the will of the personal self or I, and the will of the Transpersonal Self which can lead to the fusion of the personal and the transpersonal self to the point that one experiences being “in the flow, ’ or “wu-wei.”

Next, Assagioli looks at the various qualities of the will. These are:

1. Energy – Dynamic Power – Intensity
2. Mastery – Control – Discipline
3. Concentration – One-Pointedness – Attention – Focus
4. Determination – Decisiveness – Resoluteness – Promptness
5. Persistence – Endurance – Patience
6. Initiative – Courage – Daring
7. Organization – Integration - Synthesis

It is important for the Quantum Life One Coach to consider the combination of all of these qualities when supporting the client to cultivate their will if they are to achieve their highest and fullest potential. In assessing how a client may be moving forward in manifesting their goals and dreams, it is vital to look to see whether there are qualities of the will that need deeper cultivation. Is there a willingness to amplify or regulate and manage the energetic component and focus on the task at hand or to cultivate self-discipline? Is there a willingness to act promptly or decisively, or to take risks? Is there a willingness to persist in the face of obstacles, rejections and curve-balls or integrate all of the qualities and aspects of the will in order to achieve the desired outcome or results.

Assagioli has created a number of exercises to support the client in cultivating each aspect of the will. These range from “faking it ‘til you make it” to active visualizations, from intentionality to practices for the cultivation of a Transpersonal Self in which individuals align their lives with transcending values.

The act of will receives considerable elaboration by Assagioli. He identifies six sequential phases or stages of the act of will that can empower the client to move from intention to realization. The desired outcome will be a result of how successfully and effectively each stage of the act of will is carried out: There are five clearly written chapters on all of the six stages which are:

1. The purpose, aim, or goal - based on evaluation, motivation and intention.
2. Deliberation.
3. Choice and decision.
4. Affirmation: the Command, or “Fiat” of the Will.
5. Planning and working out a program
6. Direction of the execution.

A striking and very significant feature of this first stage is to explore the motivations of a purpose, aim or goal. This gets into the fine line between coaching and therapy. A well-trained Quantum One Life Coach will want to explore the motivations of each goal to assess whether there are unconscious motivating factors that may not at first appear on the surface. Lower and higher motivations may actually be embedded in a goal and there may be a multiplicity of motivating factors. It is important for a Quantum One Life Coach to tease these out to see if a goal is meeting a lower drive or urge. Assagioli takes the position that the “advantage of directing the psychological tendencies toward creative purposes accrues from the manner in which these tendencies, the very energies themselves, become transmuted and sublimated through being directed to higher ends.”

Assagioli completes his work by exploring the potential force of a “joyous will,” which, he considers, can often be intrinsic to the act of will. He goes even further in suggesting that there is a difference between joy and bliss, and that this difference is at the level of the Transpersonal Will because there is the potential for a harmonious union between the personal and Transpersonal Will, the potential for harmony between one’s Transpersonal Will and those of others, and “highest and foremost, the bliss of the identification with the Universal Will.”

The Quantum One Life Coach will always seek “to co-create your wildest dreams and highest aspirations with the Power of Imagination,” and in the process may empower a client from a place of joy to an experience of bliss. The question then arises: how does a client who may have no sense of the Transpersonal, attain a Transpersonal Act of Will.

Assagioli, and this practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching would concur that this is an aspect of the will that may reveal itself in the process of identifying those unconscious higher motivations and also in the process of cultivating the other three aspects of the will.