A Coaching Model By Synnøve Thue, Transformational Coach, NORWAY
Explore the Dynamics of Transformation
I am the one who goes out whole, whose name is not known. Yesterday belongs to me, I who see a million years. (From the ancient Egyptian Book of Coming Forth by Day, Ch. XLII)
This model presents a microcosmos of something akin to a fluid, dynamic process of transformational coaching. The framework expressed in the model focuses on bringing parts of the unconscious to consciousness, although using a dynamic and updated approach.
Traditional concepts like the “super-conscious”, “middle-” and “lower-unconscious”, as well as “higher” vs. “lower” self, are all in need of modification to accommodate current scientific research, something I elaborate on further in my research paper published here at ICA.
In addition, this approach objects to a linear and largely western concept of time into past (therapy), present, and future (coaching), as described by Assagioli`s “egg” model from 1974 (Whitmore & Enzig, 2010, p. 137). This model presupposes that time can be cyclical and focuses on how we psychologically weave between different timelines to create meaning in the here and now.
As Zimbardo & Boyd emphasize:
The future gives people wings to soar to new heights of achievement, the past (positive) focus establishes their roots with tradition and grounds their sense of personal identity, and the present (hedonistic) focus nourishes their daily lives with the playfulness of youth and the joys of sensuality. People need all of them harmoniously operating to realize fully their human potential (p. 1285).
Finally, although presented visually in a circle form, this process will, in practice, shift and turn in any direction as needed by the client.
What Is a Dynamic of Transformation?
Intuition is a natural ability that allows us to ‘see’ beyond what is seen and heard. It is a type of intelligence that allows us to make connections quickly and understand complex concepts without explaining them. Intuition can be used as a powerful tool by coaches to help our clients gain new awareness and insight.
How can a coach utilize their intuition when working with clients? To access our intuition, we must be able to interpret information beyond what the client expresses verbally, relate it to what they may have said, and make sense of non-verbal cues, such as body language and signals. We may also connect nonverbal cues with nonverbal signals to gain insight into the client’s thoughts and feelings.
Accessing our intuition requires being fully present and balanced as the coach. Only then can we genuinely listen on all levels and allow intuitive thoughts, images, etc. to flow to the surface. We then need to be able to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings and provide context or meaning, if needed. It is also vital to stay completely unattached to anything that comes up for us when we have permission from the client to share it with them(Auerbach, 2019).
In addition, providing a safe space means the client can feel safe to get in touch with and share, their own intuitive insights.
The emergence of deep awareness requires an already well-established space of trust and safety.
When we become attuned to the inner workings of our client, we become attuned to spotting opportunities for a deeper conversation.
The model covers two different pathways:
- Exploring in-the-moment awareness. This kind of deep awareness is often wordless, surprising, or unsettling and requires ample safe space and an innate feeling of trust.
- The client brings a new awareness to the session – gained through a practice like meditation, dream journaling, free writing, or a “sudden realization” linked with deep emotion. Our role is to support highly self-aware clients in exploring their discoveries about themselves and their role in the world.
Both paths need an immersed, courageous presence from the coach. This is not a time for challenging beliefs or ways of thinking. The key shift for our clients is to get an apparition of the unknown, and, in their own time, put their experience into words. Exploring the mysteries of being and mind and untangling the story they tell may take time and effort (VanderPol, 2019).
We must be patient and give them ample space to see the unseen, name the nameless and give the formless form.
The focus is less on questioning and more on embodying a presence of acceptance and trust.
Who do you need to be as a coach to help them to open a little more to their own deeper realm?
How can you use your listening skills to help the client decipher their experience?
Pay extra attention to expressions, body language, and any imagery to help the client explore and slowly shed light on the unknown.
These are the moments of truly walking side-by-side with our client.
Even if we may feel ‘what must happen,’ we cannot be attached to any specific outcome and surrender instead to the wondrous curiosity of not knowing. No rush or agenda is needed; whatever needs attention will be uncovered as new layers open when the client is ready (VanderPol, 2019).
This phase is where we invite our clients to infuse the new awareness with creativity, inspiration, and new thinking. Without going forward into any specific actions, we pause in the rich open space of possibility. The focus is on the who, not the how. It is also important to stay open to the client`s experience – the field of possibility could seem positive and inspiring or daunting and chaotic. The core concept of the model rests on a holistic and dynamic approach and presupposes the client`s creative power to transform, as well as a powerful Self as Creator. This is also in line with the scientific view of consciousness – we create our reality through selective attention (Passer & Smith, 2019, p. 171).
What feels ready to unfold?
What aspect of you wants to emerge?
Who are you?
What do you choose to create at this moment?
Which experience wants to come into existence right now?
What feels most aligned with what you know to be true?
Embodiment is the powerful act of embodying our new realities in our daily lives. This can involve changing our habits, beliefs, and behaviors to align with our new understanding of ourselves. It can also involve creating new relationships and interactions with others, as we learn to trust ourselves and open up to new possibilities. By aligning with our authentic selves, we can create a more fulfilling and meaningful life for ourselves and those around us.
This phase is also a time for choosing, mindfully selecting from the vast sea of possibility, and of crafting a journey to make it happen.
Because a deep shift and new realizations have happened at the core of being, new habits, routines, and ways of doing will flow naturally and have a prolonged effect.
Here we partner with our client to craft the way ahead and ways to stay within this new embodiment. Exploring the concrete manifestations of new ways of being is not only vital to the initial coaching agreement but also helps our clients step back through the doorway into their more “solid” selves. Peterson (2017) warns against “ego inflation as a consequence of a revelatory experience” as “the dangers of erasing the boundaries between the consciousness of ego and the general consciousness, to identify as “self” with the more general consciousness as such. This is something akin to a psychotic inflation.” and calls for a “need for grounding – in embodied routines, rituals, experience”.
The embodiment phase is therefore a vital phase to bring a new experience into the physical. It is a further step in manifesting the transformation by living out new realities, as well as safeguarding the present mind and the integrity of identity.
How will these new realizations transform the world around you?
How do you want to bring your new creations of yourself into your daily life?
How can you embody your new ways of being, thinking, feeling, and doing?
Coming from this, your new, powerful self – what do you want to make happen?
This process, and any form of transformational coaching, requires a great deal of courage, self-knowledge, and trust – from both the client and the coach. My aim has been to outline some steps and a theoretical and philosophical basis that has grown from my own coaching practice while working with clients on a deep identity level.
Also, by sketching out this model I am aware that in my own way, I am transforming the intuitive, sometimes wordless and formless into words and a form of transparent practice. It is my hope that we can all dare to work with the full specter of the human condition, empower our clients to transform authentically and support them in creating a reality of their own choosing.
Learn How to Create Your Own Coaching Model
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philosophies, and beliefs and must communicate who you will coach
and the problems you will solve. Read more about creating your coaching model
Auerbach, J. E. (ed.) (2019).Professional Coaching Competencies: The Complete Guide. Executive College Press. Kindle Edition.
Passer, M. W. and Smith, R.E. (2019). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Peterson, J. (2017). Lecture: Biblical Series VIII: The Phenomenology of the Divine (1:14:12: The Hero`s Journey in Carl Jung`s Psychoanalysis).
VanderPol, L. (2019). A Shift in Being: The Art and Practices of Deep Transformational Coaching. Imaginal Light Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Whitmore, J. &Enzig, H. (2010). Transpersonal Coaching. In Passmore, J. (ed.). Excellence in Coaching: The Industry Guide. London: Kogan Page.
Zander, R.S. & Zander, B. (2002).The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. London: Penguin Books Ltd.
Zimbardo, P. G. && Boyd, J. N. (1999). Putting time in perspective: A valid, reliable individual-differences metric. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 77(6), 1271-1288.