What is the value of an integral approach to coaching? And why might it be fun and/or exciting?
A friend of mine asked me recently “What is the value of an ‘integral approach’ to coaching?” She actually drew “air quotes” in the air when she used the term ‘integral approach.’ Her air-quotage got me thinking about the term itself. I don’t believe we can understand a thing’s value unless we first understand the nature of the thing itself. “Integral Coaching,” which I will heretofore no longer put quotes around, is, of course, not a “thing,” (now I can’t seem to stop using them) but a practice. And it is a practice that is not easily described within the confines of human language. But, given that this is a blog, puppetry, mime, and expressionistic movement would fall short, so I will endeavor to enjoy the challenge of language-ing that which is difficult to language.
Every human being on the earth is as complex as the previous paragraph. Furthermore, every human being is a distinctly sophisticated intermingling of thoughts, feelings, experiences, beliefs, needs and desires. If, as a coach, my desire and intention is to support the greatest fulfillment of the distinct individual; if I desire to increase the joy of every individual with whom I work, as an integral coach, it becomes my duty to design a process of working with my client that integrates all parts of that individual. I cannot treat an individual as a mind sitting on top of a set of shoulders. I must see him as a heart/mind/body/spirit.
Counter to common thinking, it is not an individual’s circumstances, which limit him. It is his interpretation of his circumstances, which create limitation. An integral approach to coaching takes into account all of the aspects of the individual that have come together to form the client’s current mode of thinking and operating. It then asks the question “How do we support each of those facets in evolving to their next phase? How do we support the peaceful and joyful forward movement of each aspect of this individual?
Another way of saying this is to say that integral coaching is an Ontological approach to working with people. It concerns itself with HOW we are BEING, rather than WHAT we are DOING. I want to support my clients in having a satisfying and fulfilling life experience each and every moment they are awake on this earth.
I am interested not only in supporting the human being in becoming more effective in the world, or at checking more things off of their to-do list. Rather, I want to support them in experiencing more freedom and ease AS they interface with their to-do lists.
So, to answer my friend’s question, integral coaching is valuable because it’s very nature takes into account the complexity of the coach-ee. My coach, for example, deeply understands the significance of the fact that I am someone who would invent, freely use, and then put air quotes around the word “coach-ee.” And his understanding of that fact makes me feel seen, heard and honored. And when I feel seen, heard and honored, my heart lightens, my outlook lightens, and I become excited about bringing my gifts to bear!
So here’s hoping you’ll dive in to the experience of being seen for who you really are, of feeling the full radiance of your own being, and of living each moment of your life in joy, freedom and ease! I bet you’d make a great coach-ee!
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