Coaching Concepts

Coaching provides a powerful approach for helping people bring change to their lives by partnering them with a professional facilitator who helps them discover, refine, and manifest their agenda.  Below are definitions and value statements for some of the concepts used in this process.

INSIDE-OUT – Living from our essence, and the vision, purpose, values, and guiding principles that ensue.  Letting our choices and actions be determined by these rather than by outside circumstances.Peaceful and Centered

Value: If we honor our truth—who we truly are at our core—then we will be in integrity, we will feel whole, and we can experience real joy, happiness, and connection.  In contrast, if we allow circumstances, which are not perfectly aligned with our being, to dictate part of how we show up, then at some point there will be a collision of our intent as it moves from our core outward and our manifestation as it moves inward.  The experience of holding that conflict internally, especially if it's common and accumulated over years, will deny us inner peace.

To me, this is one of the most important concepts in coaching, and in living consciously.  My business name, Seize Truth, is inspired by exactly this—discovering our truth, seizing that knowledge, and living from that place.

WHOLENESS and BALANCE – A holistic approach to coaching in which you are encouraged to consider your life as a whole, supporting each of the different aspects with an intent to bring them into balance.Yin-Yang With Self

Value: When life is lived in balance, inner conflict is reduced as each aspect is receiving deserved attention and having expression.  Focusing on particular areas to the exclusion of others leaves you with a lopsided, clunky "wheel of life", which makes for a bumpy ride!  When consideration of the areas is in balance, the ride is much smoother as choices honor equitable compromises in expenditure of limited resources (time, money, and energy).

Balance of the intellect, emotional self, spiritual self, and body leads to a sense of well being and fulfillment.  Ignoring any of these can lead to unhappiness or dissatisfaction that pervades the entire being.  Addressing the ignored area, even when it doesn't seem to be the immediate issue, can restore balance and improve clarity about the issue at hand.

CHANGE – Causing one's understanding, circumstances, or way of being to be different, hopefully in service to moving these toward a desired state.  Transformation and transition are significant forms of change.Cogitate

Value: Change is a requirement for successful coaching: without it, everything stays the same so the coaching relationship has had no effect!  You can change by deepening your learning, which increases your understanding of yourself and the world in which you live.  You can also bring about change to your circumstances, which can improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual environment in which you live.  You can change your way of being and showing up, which allows you and others more access to your authentic self.

Claiming the ability and power to change, and the commensurate responsibility, can lead to the self-directed transformation that coaching can provide.

ACCOUNTABILITY – Ensuring your integrity with regard to your commitment to action and your follow-through.  It's a win if either you are successful in your commitment or you deepen the learning around any obstacles you encounter.

Value: Accountability ensures the action is forwarded or the learning is deepened as a result of your commitment.  I've observed exceptional learning during accountability as a client brings out of the shadows unconscious choices they were making.  There's also an opportunity for celebration and acknowledgment, both of which are positive reinforcements for action and learning.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, the probability of completing a goal jumps from 65% if you've committed to someone else you will do it, to 95% if you have an accountability appointment with that person!  That makes the follow-up of accountability pretty valuable.

PARTNERSHIP – The form of relationship that exists between coach and client, devoid of judgment and having the shared goal of achieving the client's agenda with a sense of cooperation.  This alliance is asymmetric—all the focus is on the client.Heartfelt Handshake

Value: Two heads are better, and more fun, than one!  The coach brings to the relationship knowledge, skills, and aptitude that can serve you on your journey of personal discovery and the formation and manifestation of your vision.  The partnership provides you with someone devoted solely to assisting and supporting you.  By virtue of the partnership being an ongoing one, you can rely on time dedicated each week (or other period) for the purpose of your learning and growth.

As a professional partnership, in which the coach has made the promise of ethical behavior, you have assurance that you can trust the coach, thus creating the safe space necessary for deep, vulnerable work.

BREAKDOWN – Things have stopped functioning—in coaching, it's old thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and habits—and change is occurring to replace them with new ones.

Often, the client is mired in circumstances, narrowly focused by an outside-in perspective, and unable to see a way out.  A breakdown can lead to aAaaargh! breakthrough when it's followed by an internal shift in which the client expands their thinking beyond immediate circumstances and consciously chooses a new perspective, and then takes action from this new place.

Value: Acknowledging that there's a problem and the current "solution" isn't working opens the door to possibilities.  Increasing consciousness around what's being tolerated and the emotional effect it's having redirects attention inward, which is the origin for inside-out.  Shifting focus from circumstances beyond our control to what we can be responsible for empowers us.  Incorporating vision, values, and guiding principles into our consideration of the issues restores integrity to self.  New choices and actions from this new perspective put us back in charge of our life.

All of this added together constitutes a breakthrough.  The client is moved toward wholeness and balance.

CHAMPION – (verb) For the coach to fight for, encourage, and support you (the client) and your agenda, believing in you as whole, capable, and resourceful.

Championing the Client

Value: You have a partner who's focused solely on you as you bring change to your life, which can make doing so easier and more fun.  You have someone to hold you big—to recognize your potential as well as who you are—even in moments when you can't do so yourself.  You are assisted in balancing your life as the coach champions all parts of you, including aspects you may not be owning fully at present.

There's something amazingly supportive about knowing that we have someone in our corner, who will be there for us no matter what we do or how we're feeling.  This can especially be the case in tough times or when we're taking significant risks, as when we let go of old structures that used to provide security, and embrace change.  Having a champion provides this value.

COMPLETION – Bringing an issue or situation to resolution.  One place this applies is to the work done in a session, "What else do you need to feel complete about this?"  Another is in the Retrospective carried out at the end of one coaching series before beginning the next series or concluding the coaching relationship.

Value: Completion allows you to tie up one thing taking your attention so you can fully refocus that attention on something else.  Issues that remain open consume significant emotional energy.  Multi-tasking is much more expensive than we often realize.  When we finish one thing, we can begin another one fresh and effectively.

An additional advantage of a Retrospective session is the opportunity to look back and take stock of what change has been accomplished and what obstacles have been overcome.  This serves to acknowledge and celebrate, as well as to gain clarity and balance through perspective.

INTENTION – The focusing of your desire (born of your essence, vision, and purpose) in a particular direction in service of your manifesting change.  Intention is more about the aim than the particular result.Heart Intention

Value: Intention is the first step toward change.  From the impetus of desire, you bring your focus to a particular issue or area.  That act itself is very powerful in beginning to create shifts.  As you bring to bear your essence, vision, and purpose to formulate intent, you ensure that the direction of that intent is aligned with who you are, gaining the benefits of inside-out living.

Being clear about your intention, and having it be more about aim than a particular goal, supports your staying on target for manifesting change that will be aligned with who you are, even as the specific result changes.  This flexibility allows you to accommodate the inevitable unforeseen elements that present as you embrace the process of planning and moving into action around your intention.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTFlowingRecognizing the qualities of being which you have manifested in what you've accomplished or how you've dealt with a situation.  It is about characteristics you exhibited—such as courage, tenacity, or insight—rather than the specific thing you did or how "good" the coach might judge the result to be.

Value: Acknowledgment serves as positive reinforcement for your showing up in ways that are aligned with your essence and that support change you desire.  Acknowledgment lets you know that what you did was witnessed and appreciated for its service to you, which can be especially welcome when the process you endured or chose was challenging.  Acknowledgment can also bring to your attention the ways in which you are being true to yourself when you may not be able to see it, thus promoting wholeness and balance.

PROCESS – The journey that you take as you move toward a particular goal, or as you flow through life in general.  It is filled with learning and the experience of life, and should garner focus in preference to the destination.Journey

Value: By focusing on the process, you increase your presence; focusing on the goal would be directing attention toward the future, away from the present.  This supports redirecting along the way as circumstances arise during the journey that were unanticipated initially or are beyond your control.  These factors contribute to processes seldom going exactly as planned, so focusing on the process allows you to be more adaptable than if you remain rigidly focused on the initial goal.

And the journey is where life happens!  Focusing on the process keeps you from missing it!

Seize Truth
Dan Craft
San Francisco Bay Area