The text below served as an “About How I Coach” from an earlier, more cluttered, version of my website. It provides a bit of background the formation of my current technique and thinking on how we make change and improve our lives – the types of things most clients come to me for.
My training and education play a major role in how I work with clients. I have a deep belief that all of us need something a little different to get from one place to the next. “One size fits all” isn’t my approach, even when working with groups or businesses. There is no magic bullet. Each client I work with has different values, goals, weaknesses and strengths. Below I describe some of the major influences on my coaching methodology and what they mean for my clients.
INTEGRAL & ISHTA
There are a broad spectrum of coaching methodologies. Much like the myriad of modern yoga schools, the roots and the forms are very similar and each method is not always appropriate for everyone. I have focused my study and practice on better understanding each client’s uniqueness. My coaching is custom tailored for you!
My training as a coach is through Integral Coaching Canada TM, an intensive program based in Ken Wilbur’s Integral Theory, Spiral Dynamics and eastern philosophy and practices developed by Joanna Hunt and Laura Divine. Wilbur’s developmental framework provides a backdrop for framing each client’s area of growth, allowing for a customized and targeted coaching method for meeting each client where they are and helping them get where they want to go. This methodology is both a recognition that one size doesn’t fit all, and it also creates a structure and path to growth and fulfillment that is more substantial and sustainable then one-off coaching “tune-ups.”
Similarly, my training in yoga and meditation was done through ISHTA yoga in Manhattan. ISHTA (Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda) focuses on recognizing and engaging each student as a whole and unique individual – with different physical, mental, and spiritual characteristics – both challenges and strengths. A slight 20-year old former gymnast can stick her toe in her ear with a lot less effort and training than 50 year old who sits at a desk for 10 hours a day. I incorporate this approach and understanding into my work with clients. Changes and challenges that one client may master in a week may be a life-long practice for another.
METAPHOR & MYTH
Story is one of the ways in which we process the world and our place in it. Opening us up to new stories is one of the ways we are able see, feel and express the limitations in our own. Weaving meaningful metaphors into my work with clients creates an opportunity for them to see their situation objectively and opens our work in a way that invites in an opportunity to see some of the unconscious patterns that hold them back. Metaphor is one of the key tools of the Integral Coaching Canada TM methodology.
Additionally, Myth can be a powerful tool for digging deeper into our unconscious behavior and patterns. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell both explored how these stories connect to our greater human story and how archetypes can support us in both our inner work and our work out in the world by externalizing our internal struggles. We connect with characters and challenges and can see ourselves, a part of ourselves, or our dream for ourselves in the roles played out within an epic story. Whether ancient myths or stories like Harry Potter, there is something that we connect to and opens us up beyond our day-to-day view of ourselves.
Whether in one-to-one one coaching or working with a group or within an organization, these tools provide a great means of effecting change.
Along with my training at Integral Coaching CanadaTM I have training in this work through programs run my the Mankind Project and apprenticeship with Sparrow Hart at Circles of Air and Stone in Vermont. I have a lifelong love of mythology, and reading, and can taylor a developmental program to large number of stories, = modern and from a wide variety of ancient traditions.
Its a loaded word. We tend to either think of our artsy friend who has no practical skills or of some undefinable magic state beyond our daily responsibilities. Or we are that artsy friend and the challenges of creating, presenting and sharing our work in the realm of practical everyday life seem incompatible with the vision we have for it. Either way, accessing it or harnessing it, many of us need to step outside the current of our daily lives in order for it have any meaning.
On one end, as a longtime “amateur” writer and musician I have experienced the ups and downs of living a creative life.The challenges of finding and making meaningful work, moving through creative blocks, and trying to find a way to make a living that honored my senses of creative passion are common problems that can seem unsurmountable.
On the other end, 12 years as an advisor and banker in the municipal bond market allowed me to experience for myself and connect with others who felt no creative urge or spark, a loss many felt quite deeply. In the office itself the challenge of inspiring creativity (when needed and appropriate) is difficult when the majority of the day is rules, spreadsheets and bottom-lines.
Through my own experience, study, and in coaching others I have developed a strong tendency to believe that we need to find ways to actively express this human impulse. It doesn’t matter if your good at it or you are a renowned painter. Self-doubt, fear and a life bogged down with task after task take a toll on both our psyche and our bodies.
VALUES, PURPOSE & EMBODIMENT
One of the greatest, and most common, conflicts I see in clients is that their lives, their day-to-day actions, do not align with what they really believe about themselves and the world around them.
Most people I meet fail in the goals they set, not because of a lack of commitment, but because their goals are not connected to their passion, values and beliefs.
“Living Authentically” is something most of us aspire to and few of us take the time to really understand and embody. We take on values and opinions we do not truly reflect on. We go through life with a half baked sense of why we are are. We have strong beliefs and feelings about things that are not reflected in our daily life, our bodies, our actions.
Bringing together these 3 elements is an important part of living a conscious life. How we hold ourselves in our relationships, work and commitments is important if we have any intention of following through on them. When they are aligned with our actions it gives us a boost – energy when the going gets tough.
WESTERN PHILOSOPHY AND THOUGHT
Over the last 20 years, in pursuit of developing a meditation practice and in becoming a yoga teacher, I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to be exposed to many eastern philosophies and practices. However, my initial pursuit of knowledge was largely based in western traditions, some very influentially. The majority of my formal education centered around the study of western philosophy, theology, and critical literary theory. There is a great deal to be learned from the thinkers, philosophers and mystics from Europe and the Americas. I offer several workshops exploring some of these themes and ideas, and am more than willing to put together a program based on a particular line of inquiry for you.
Finding what “it means to be a man” or “what it means to be an adult” isn’t solely about success and meeting the cultural milestones that we are told define our status as “grown-up”. Being a “man” isn’t about how many women we have slept with or what soap, car, beer or tacos we buy. Its not about the strength of our opinions, our arms, or our mind. The boldness of our stories and the sports we play or support don’t define us either.
Our passage into manhood, according to many psychologists and sociologist, is when we recognize our wounds, own them as part of the sacred process of life, and use them to guide our service and commitment to the larger community.
Life is not a battle, though there are battles. We cannot always control the wold around us, though there are times to lead. We will not always be loved, but we can always practice compassion. We will not always be recognized for our uniqueness, still, we can find ways to break the walls of the separateness we feel and see a connection to the world around us.
I have participated in several programs focused on helping men find their personal identities and definition of masculinity and have served as staff member for Quest for Vision’s Mythic Warrior and 4 Seasons of a Man’s Soul program since 2012. Combined with my life coach training, and what personal experience I can offer, I have worked with dozens of men struggling in relationships, career, commitment, accountability and emotional expression. Ceremony, story, myth, metaphor, and coaching tools around each man’s sense of purpose, accountability and relationships can all open the door to claiming your adult life.
CHRONIC CONDITIONS, PAIN, & ADDICTION
I specialize in working with clients who suffer from chronic illness, pain and addiction. In my own story I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, when I was 18. I was a competitive swimmer who just missed making Olympic trials for the US national team by several 10’s of a second. Bicep tendentious left me unable to compete for the college that recruited me and as time went on I developed widespread chronic pain. Going from the height of physical health to being diagnosed with a little understood, lifelong chronic pain condition was more than my 18 year-old self could understand. I spent the next 10 years alternating between pursuing what medical information was available and “self-medication” with anything that seemed to take the pain away and let me live in a way that seemed normal.
My personal history makes this work very important to me. One of the great problems that chronic conditions and addiction have in common is great impact they have on our quality of life. Even as we seek out treatment, and find some measure of success with doctors, therapists, medications, support groups and/or alternative therapies we are expected to adjust to a “normal” life.
The truth is, these conditions present lifelong challenges. With chronic illness our activities, energy and mental clarity will not always allow us do work or play as hard as we like. With addiction we need to be cautious about the food, drink and medications we use – things other people enjoy on a regular basis.
Even with these conditions we can live a full and meaningful life. Navigating the dangers though requires real awareness – of ourselves, the limits of our body or mind, of the activities, circumstances and people we bring into our lives. Coaching can help support you even as you seek out other forms of treatment.
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