How do the realizations behind the IAC Coaching Masteries™ unfold into
a life after ten years or more of working with them? They unfold differently
for different coaches. Some coaches say they’ve changed in fundamental
ways and it shows. Other coaches say they’ve changed fundamentally but
it appears they have only become better organized and have better boundaries.
What does it mean to change fundamentally? The IAC Coaching Masteries™,
and before them, the 15 Proficiencies, can be taken at two levels. The deeper
level is the more fundamental.
The realizations behind the Masteries refer to how much you can see regarding
who you are and what life is all about. Trust, potential, expression, listening,
etc. aren’t just coaching tools. They are ways of being in the world.
They reflect how you see the world. The deeper you live with the Masteries,
the deeper you live in harmony with what is… without resistance. The Masteries
point us in the direction of seeing everything that’s going on in life.
There is the level of appearances, the way things appear to be. And there is
the level of appearances plus a whole, unadulterated, expanded life, behind
the appearances. It's sometimes helpful to differentiate appearance from
reality by thinking of appearance as a semi-transparent level (or veil)
distracting us from reality.
Level One is the level of ego and appearances. Ego is something that has been
much referenced and now means something different to just about everyone. For
purposes here, I define it as a function in the mind, that seeks physical safety
and psychological comfort and pleasure, in whatever way is necessary. When the
mind is free of concern, ego plays a small role in the personality. However,
when pleasure and safety are threatened by events (real or imagined), ego kicks
into high gear. It focuses and contracts the mind. It can’t see beyond
its needs for pleasure and staying safe. It associates what is going on in the
moment with every possible similar scenario it has ever experienced in the
past (real or imagined) in order to regain equilibrium…So things tend
to appear much worse than they are.
After stress emotions (often irrational ones) have been released, ego looks
to repair the damage it’s done to itself and others as quickly as possible.
Defense and rationalization are what ego does best to return to the experience
of pleasure and safety. Life is reduced to an “it’s a good thing
or it’s a bad thing” duality. And if it’s a bad thing, it
needs to be fixed, now. Ego is about manipulating life, resisting and changing
anything that doesn’t immediately bring pleasure, comfort and safety.
When coaches are identified with the ego, and most of us are, whatever is happening
to the ego is what is happening to us. If the ego function is scared, we say,
“I’m scared.” If the ego function is “going nuts,”
we say, “I’m going nuts.” Essentially, in our mind, we are
ego…and nothing else. So, we can only feel pleasure and safety when life
happens to be going well for ego. The truth is, we can feel pleasure and safety
even when ego isn’t happy, if we seek a deeper level of awareness.
Level Two is getting down to all the other stuff that’s going on, beyond
ego’s view. While ego is reacting to the appearance of life, there is
an unperceived, deeper response that is possible. Without the ego's drive to
seek pleasure and security and to search the past to understand the present,
Level Two is characterized by a lack of drama. At Level Two, life events are
often seen with simple openness and curiosity. There is no baggage, so the normally
unperceived reality can come into view. It reflects another level of knowing
that all is well, even when it doesn’t appear to be. It’s an intuitive
knowing that spontaneously arrives as a coach lives more deeply into the Masteries.
Humility and surrender to life are always present in the deeper realizations
about life. They are the mark of a fundamentally transformed coach.
A coach who is living into the Masteries understands coaching in fundamentally
different ways than the regular coach. To the regular coach, the words and frameworks
won’t make much sense. Most regular coaches don’t really want to
become transformed coaches. Even those who say they do. Until it happens, most
of us can’t imagine giving up our conditioned way of being and stepping
into this vast unknown space. It’s such a wild ride. So different from
anything anyone has ever told us. Additionally, it’s so very difficult
to articulate this vast space. I never get the words to match the reality. Words
are just pointers. You have to live there to know the place. To those who have
come all the way I say, welcome.
Postscript: I pen the name anon not for the sake of disguise. I am anonymous
because the name I go by is not who I am. I am, as you are, no-one.
Editor's Note: The author of this article is a long-standing member of the
IAC and was one of Coachville's earliest faculty members.