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So how can a Coach help you?


"All miracles involve a shift in perception"

(A Course in Miracles)

People hire coaches for one simple reason: they want to get more out of themselves and their lives than they seem to be getting on their own.

For example, why are you reading this?

Chances are that you're looking for something to help you change your life for the better - to improve circumstances, or make you feel better, or bring you closer to essential nature. You're thinking to yourself, There has to be a better way of being in the world than the way I'm going about it. You're hoping that what I'm going to share with you will give you more of a sense of meaning, value, and purpose and help you enjoy success in multiple areas of your life.

As a Transformative Coach, I began with the premise that the starting point for all life-enhancement projects is a deeper understanding of the nature of the human experience. People will naturally get more out of themselves when they understand more about who they are and how the human system works. They'll automatically get more out of their lives when they gain more insight into how life works. Because when we really understand how something works, from a sliding door to a car to gravity, we don't have to think about it anymore and can just get on with it. We slide, drive and even fall to the ground with a sense of ease and simplicity.

In the same way, when we know who we really are and where our experience comes from, we don't have to overthink things. We can live our lives and follow our wisdom knowing that when we're up, we're up, when we're down, we're down, and love, peace, connection, and insight are available all the time, regardless of how we're feeling.

In other words, if there's something you want to create or do in the world, knowing how things actually get created and done is of universal benefit. All boats will rise with the tide of that deeper understanding.

Traditional coaching takes place primarily in a horizontal dimension - coaches assist their clients in getting from point A to point B. Yet lasting change nearly always happens in the vertical dimension - a deepening of the client's ground of being and greater access to inspiration and inner wisdom. While this has generally led to an either/or approach to success and personal growth and a sharp division between therapy and coaching, transformative coaching uses the vertical dimensions to facilitate change on the inside even as you continue to move toward your goals on the outside.

The kinds of changes that transformative coaching leads to can be usefully viewed on three levels.


Often people will hire a coach (or go to a counselor, therapist or friend) to get help with a specific situation they're struggling with. They may want to deal with a difficult person at work, succeed at an important negotiation or job interview, or stay motivated as they train to beat their personal best at a sporting event. This kind of performance coaching has long been a staple of the industry, and long before life coaching and executive coaching became common terms, people were using coaching in this capacity to help change their points of view, states of mind, or actions. At this level, people go from fear to confidence, from unease to comfort, or from inaction to action. The impact of this kind of coaching is generally project-specific. Once the difficult person has been handled, the interview completed, or the race run, people get on with the rest of their lives in much the same way as they did before.


Sometimes we're less concerned with a specific event than we're with a specific event than we are with a whole category of events. This is why we find coaching specializing in any number of life areas: relationships, sales, parenting, confidence, presentations....the list goes on and on. People hire these experts to help them increase their skills and develop their confidence in the area they are having difficulty with.

Like performance coaches, these coaches will help with specific situations, but they tend to measure their impact not just by how one situation changes, but by how a whole category of situations changes.


The ultimate level of change is transformation, or what I sometimes call "global change" - a pervasive shift in our understanding and way of being in the world. At this level, it's not enough for us to develop a skill or change a feeling. We want to see our higher potential and wake up from the dream of thought, because in so doing our experience of everything changes and we begin to walk in a different world.

Each of the three levels maps across to a certain way of working on ourselves or with others. When we want to make a change in a specific situation, we apply a new technique. When we want yo make a change in a broader context, we apply a new strategy, other than techniques or strategies p we need to see what's true about life so that we can live more in harmony with how things actually work.

How else do the three levels of change differ?

Well, the first two levels are primarily intervention based. Level I interventions take care of the presenting problem, while Level II interventions aim to take care of whatever is seen as the underlying cause. This can be helpful, but it can also lead people deeper into the morass of their own psychology. For example, people heavily into personal development sometimes get fixated on finding Level II solutions for Level I problems - they've got a headache, but instead of taking an aspirin, they want to analyze the lifestyle changes they need to make to become the kind of person who doesn't get headaches. Its an interesting idea, but its a lot easier to do when your head isn't hurting.

At Level III you're simply looking to see what's true for all human beings, regardless of individual differences. And while you may still take aspirin, knowing that everyone gets headaches and they invariably pass takes the pressure off you to fix it.


Let's look at an example in more depth.

Bob is a customer service rep for a medium-sized manufacturing firm, and he's having a really bad day. When I ask him what his biggest sticking point is, he tells me its a phone call he needs to make to a supplier with whom he's been having difficulties.

If I were to approach this on Level I, I might work with his frame of mind by helping him get into a more confident state. We might role-play a phone call with his supplier and I might offer him tips and techniques to better handle the call and get the outcome he most wants. We might even choose to script the call, or at least the beginning of it, to help boost his confidence and resolve the situation.

But let's say I want more for Bob - I don't just want to assist him getting through this one situation, I want to help turn him into a more effective employee, one who can handle a wider variety of customer service situations. So I have given him books like How to talk so People can listen. I teach him rapport skills like "matching and mirroring" so he can use body language to effective allow others to feel more comfortable around him.

What then? In time and with practice Bob might be able to turn things around and maybe even become the best customer service guy in the whole company. But in another way, nothing will have really changed. Because in order for something change at a fundamental level, that change has to happen via an insight - a sight from within.

So the level of transformation, our conversation will no longer be about the supplier, or even about customer service. Our "transformative conversation" might be about the nature of satisfaction and dissatisfaction - what they are and where they come from. Or we may go even deeper to look at truths. Bob will get insights and fresh thinking that change the say he sees himself, the way he sees his job, and the way he sees other people. And through those insights, he'll not only become more effective in his job, he'll also become more satisfied and effective in his life.

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