How to Remember Mastery #9 Before It’s Too Late!

by Ed Britton

For the task-oriented among us, there is nothing quite like IAC Mastery #9 – helping the client to create and use support systems and structures. This is where we help the coachee to make it happen. Coaches who feel the need for action just can’t do without our ‘support’ mastery.

All that said, most of us have experienced running out of time in the coaching session before doing an adequate job of adding support. Without support, action can suffer.

Mastery #9 is at the end of the list of masteries. It seems logical that support systems and structures would come into play after intention and action is decided. There is so much to talk about in the other eight masteries that we may suddenly wake up with only five minutes left and feel we need to cram in some support, muddling many a magnificent coaching session.

Yes, I’m speaking from sad experience!

However, as I listen to recordings of Path to Mastery coaching sessions, I notice that my coachees often speak about support systems and structures that they had, or wish that they had. I sometimes miss hearing them because we are not to the ‘creating systems and support’ part yet! (Where was my Mastery #5 – Engaged Listening?!)

Determined not to let these nuggets fall unnoticed, I invented a simple tool. I drew a line down the middle of the paper I used for session notes. In the left column I recorded the progress of the session. The right column I reserved exclusively for supports/systems as they came up throughout the session. With this big blank space on the page, I was constantly reminded to listen for the systems and supports at all times during the call, building a store of natural resources arising organically during the session.

Finally, I added some solid questions that could be used to fill in the gaps:

  1. What have you already in place that supports this?
  2. Outline a plan that will take you to our goal.
  3. Who can help you? How can they help?

My page with the line down the middle has evolved to include all nine of the IAC masteries, along with a few more questions that help nail down the session’s value. This simple tool helps to provide a balanced coaching session – and most of all to give full credit to Mastery #9!

Mastery 1 – Trust
Mastery 7 – Intention
Mastery 6 – Clarify

Mastery 2 – Potential

Mastery 3 – Listening

Mastery 4 – Presence

Mastery 5 – Expressing

Mastery 8 – Possibility (present)


Mastery 9 – Support
Mastery 2 – Potential
Mastery 8 – Possibility (future)
  • How has this session served your intention?
  • What are you taking from this session?
  • Where could this session take you?
  • How have you grown from our conversation?
  • If there were no barriers, what could you envision?
  • If you really commit, what are the possibilities five years from now?


Ed Britton 
Ed Britton is a career and leadership coach who lives in Calgary, Canada. He also serves the IAC as the Director of Development and leads the Path to Mastery coaching triads program. Ed has a background in the physical sciences, in adult education and leadership development. After living in China for 10 years, Ed looks forward to a Canadian winter and cross country skiing! If you would like to participate in the Path to Mastery coaching triads program, please contact Ed at


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