Living the Masteries – Finding the Friend Within

by Alison Davis and Louise Le Gat

You may remember from last month that Living the Masteries is a new regular column, where we invite coaches to share about living the IAC Coaching Masteries® in their everyday lives. People are realising that once they become aware of the Masteries, so much more becomes possible. The Masteries enable life, relationships and understanding to move to whole new thresholds.

Here is this month’s inspiring story from one of our coaches:

Finding the Friend Within

In search of Spring rebirth

Over the Easter period, my partner went off sailing and I was left to my own devices for a few days. All was going well until I decided that it would be great to do a bit of internal work whilst he was away. I mean it was Easter after all, probably a good time to clear out some old cobwebs and make the most of the whole "resurrection" theme.

I like to work from the "inside out"—to clear out my internal clutter so that my life and business can be in flow. As I am about to re-launch my business, I thought that I might as well check in on my ability to attract abundance and to express who I am in the world authentically. A little bit of internal "spring cleaning" wouldn’t hurt and I could then ride the renewal wave over the long week-end. So off I set.

Succumbing to the voice of doom

Things didn’t quite go according to plan, however, and instead of a springtime rebirth I ended up in a swamp of self-doubt. By the time my partner came back, I had effectively single-handedly managed to completely destroy my own sense of confidence and motivation—courtesy of my own inner dialogue.

My partner got one look at the whining shadow of the woman that I had become and kindly took me out to dinner. With concern in his eyes and having given me sushi, he empathetically listened as I explained to him that I might as well give up on my business as "nothing was worth doing" and "I was going to fail anyway."

After finishing my advocacy for my own doom, I looked up to find an amused look on his face, as he said: "Gosh I thought that you really had found a reason to be worried—who have you been listening to all weekend? You are just a little scared and that’s ok." As the clouds parted, the voice of doom receded into the background and my sanity slowly returned. I really wondered who was the coach out of the two of us. I also wondered who I had been listening to all weekend.

Supporting my own greatness

The answer came a few days later as I was looking through the lists of effective and ineffective behaviours for each one of the Coaching Masteries, and an amused realisation came over me. As I looked at the list of ineffective behaviours, I recognised the voice of doom that I had been listening to all weekend. It had basically done everything on that list!

As a coach, I know how important it is to use the Masteries skilfully in my sessions with clients. Especially when it comes to helping them remember their dreams and believe in themselves enough to take their next steps towards them. As a human being, though, I forget to apply them to myself when I'm going for my own dreams.

We all have it, that inner voice of doom, our own special "inner critic"—that old friend who means well and wants us to be safe. But in its quest, it uses judgment, makes us wrong and stops us from taking action on what is deep in our heart. Even as we progress towards our goals, it focuses on how far we still are from the end point and how little we have achieved. It beats us up for not having done enough.

It is the voice that fails to remember our own humanity and how important it is to listen and hear our deepest need. It is the voice that is oblivious to the cry for our own tender loving support. It is the voice that forgets to care.

It is the voice that mirrors the voices from our past. They also meant well. But they didn’t have the tools to communicate with us in the way that we needed. They didn’t know how to nurture and empower us, and help us grow in a gentle supportive caring manner. They didn’t know how to stretch us and challenge us in a way that was "just right" for us.

And it is because we all have that voice inside of us that we all need coaches, in whatever form they take—a partner, a mother, a colleague, a friend. Just someone who understands enough about how to listen and ask questions to get us back on track when we have forgotten who we are and what we are capable of. And over time, we can train our own inner coach—the inner voice of doom can transform into our own inner best friend.

So how would it be if you trained your own inner voice in the Masteries? How would it be if you learnt to speak to yourself in a way that was caring, deeply respectful, supportive and empowering? How would that help you to embrace the reality of your own greatness?


Louise Le Gat is a coach, workshop facilitator, writer and speaker who specializes in personal transformation and life transitions. She runs workshops in both the UK and Switzerland on how to generate more sustainable positive energy in life and work. For further information, please see


Louise’s piece beautifully illustrates two aspects. The first is how a gentle space for release and transformation can be created by the use of the Masteries in everyday conversations. Louise experienced a glimpse of what it’s like to have someone gently use some of the Masteries.

Her partner created safety for her to share with him (Mastery #1), he reassured her and let her know that it was okay, she was just a little scared (Mastery #2). This shows how important it is to create safety and what is possible when it’s present. She also saw how good it feels to be listened to and truly heard by another (Mastery #3). And thanks to his gentle challenging about who she had been listening to all weekend, she began to gain clarity about what had actually been going on (Mastery #6).

The second is how important it is to use the Masteries in our relationship with ourselves. Once we understand the Masteries, we begin to see how valuable they can be for us in our relationship with ourselves. We all need to become aware of how ineffective our inner dialogue is and how easy it is for us to get lost in the world of our inner critic—to make assumptions, get pulled into and distracted by our own internal chaos and confusion, try to "look good", make judgments about ourselves, limit ourselves, make ourselves wrong, rush to find a solution or allow our stories to limit possibility.

Once we train our inner voices in the Masteries and use these effective behaviors on ourselves, we can learn to master life feeling nurtured and supported. As we strengthen the gentleness of our internal voice, our external voice—the one we use when we’re coaching or supporting others—is more able to create the safety others need on their life journey.

This is your column, your experiences of Living the Masteries. Please tell us how the Masteries have enhanced your life. You will inspire others by your sharing.
Submit your contributions to Alison Davis via, so she can share them for you in the Living the Masteries column in the VOICE each month.

Alison Davis, IAC-CC, is a certifying examiner at the IAC, coach, mentor coach and founder of the IAC–licensed virtual coaching school Foundations for Living. Discover more at


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