Living the Masteries

by Alison Davis, IAC-CC

Living the Masteries is a regular column where we invite coaches to share their experiences of Living the Masteries in their everyday lives. As we become aware of the Masteries and really understand and use them, we realise just how powerful they are and how, used effectively, they can truly make a lasting difference to the world. This month Alison Davis shares some of her own experiences and her belief in the power of the Masteries.

The Power of the Masteries

My belief in the power of coaching dates back to research I did many years ago for a PhD thesis titled "H.G. Wells, the modern Comenius." Both H. G. Wells and Comenius were humanists in their different ways and believed in the power of human potential. This was when I discovered the idea that anyone can do anything, as long as the desire is there and they have the right environment and support.

I have seen that idea in action many times in my volunteer work over the years. One place where I saw great coaching skills applied was Youth at Risk, an organization that originated in the U.S. and has been designing and delivering transformational coaching programmes for young people and the volunteers who support them in the UK for more than 17 years.

Youth at Risk has a strong, simple belief: all young people can have a worthwhile future. It’s a groundbreaking charity dedicated to making positive and lasting change in the lives of disaffected and vulnerable young people, who lack self-esteem, aspiration and motivation.

The coaching approach enables them to form a different view of themselves and the communities in which they live. They realise they have potential (Mastery #2 and #8). They take responsibility for the choices they make and as a result they also take control of their lives (Mastery #9).

They learn trust in themselves and those around them (Mastery #1), a crucial value for communities to hold and share. If the young people allow themselves to trust, trust will show up in their relationship with themselves and to those who support them.

The young people are encouraged to release negative personal patterns and constructs (Mastery #4) and reframe their views of themselves (Mastery #2). They explore their possibilities and choices (Mastery #6 and #8) and then take responsibility to act (Mastery #7 and #9).

This was the environment in which I learnt my first coaching skills. I was so touched and inspired by what became possible for these young people, that I went on to train formally as a coach. If those young people could benefit from coaching to the extent that they did, then coaching was a force to be reckoned with and I wanted to become masterful in that skill. First I learnt the Coachville Proficiencies and then, when they became available, I went on to study the IAC Coaching Masteries®.

The potential of the Masteries

I am excited to see the Masteries used more and more worldwide in different contexts, even as a resource for communities facing issues such as violent conflicts and political and religious tensions. I will use the Masteries in mediation during upcoming videoconferences with people in conflict in Israel and Palestine. I look forward to witnessing the empowerment that is possible for these communities through the use and application of the Masteries, and I will share my experience in a future column.

Would you be willing to take a few moments to consider how you might invite the Masteries into your life more fully and by using them in different contexts? If you have been inspired by this article, perhaps you would be willing to share your experiences of the Masteries in action and the remarkable changes they can facilitate.

This is your column, it can only continue if you share your experiences of Living the Masteries and their amazing power. Please send us your stories, you will inspire others by your sharing. By talking about the Masteries, we create an echo chamber where their power takes on new meaning.

Send your contributions to Alison Davis at, 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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