Tools for Coaching Mastery

This column is provided by an IAC Coaching Masteries®-Licensed School or Mentor.

The Coaching Masteries®—Foundations for Living
by Alison Davis, IAC-CC

I’ve recently been wondering how different the world would be if we were all able to actually "live" the Masteries and use them naturally in our everyday lives. The idea intrigues me and I have begun to experiment with the concept in my own life.

As I explored how to use the Masteries appropriately in my everyday life, with others and with myself, I found that I was experiencing new levels of centeredness and confidence in myself and mastering the Masteries even better! This worked so wonderfully well for me that I really recommend you try it too.

As coaches we learn that it is important not to just coach others in everyday life without their permission, however tempting this might be at times. But I wasn't sure how I could "live the Masteries" in my daily interactions without coaching people. What I found that not only did it improve my relationships and shift them to a whole new level, it also created a different kind of energy in me, and between myself and others.

I began to wonder how the world might be different if we were all to master the Masteries and use them in our everyday lives skilfully and appropriately with ourselves and in our interactions with others.

How might our relationships with ourselves and with others be different if using the Masteries became as natural as breathing?

As I looked at each Mastery and began to explore what it would mean to use each one in my everyday life, I remembered that one of the first things we learn to do when are learning to demonstrate the Masteries is to connect fully and deeply with the client, building rapport and trust. This is what happens when we apply Mastery #1, through the way we are being, our presence and our tone of voice.

So how would our relationships and interactions in the world at large be different if we were able, using this Mastery, to get into relationship with others quickly and connect more fully and deeply, whatever the mood of the other? If we always listened actively and remained connected, respectful and engaged in order to establish and maintain a relationship of trust?

What if we were able to listen to ourselves in this way? How would this change our relationship with ourselves, our confidence and our self-esteem? What would we ourselves get from this different way of being with ourselves and others? How would others feel? What would they get out of it? How would our experiences be different?

I applied a similar line of questioning to each of the Masteries, and have had rich experiences answering them. As a mentor coach, I have also been encouraging my mentees to use the Masteries in their lives to prepare them for the IAC exam. One mentee was willing to share this extraordinary story of relationship transformation:

Whilst I can feel the benefits for me and those around me of living the teachings of the Masteries in my daily life, I would not want to become the shrink at the dinner party. You know, the one who nobody wants to be seated next to, for fear of being analysed, judged and processed!

But here are some examples taken from a situation in my life where I used the Masteries successfully. As always, I find that I use more than one at a time:

My mum and I have had a mercurial relationship made up of rare moments of bliss and peace and many more of distrust and judgement. Yet, with the arrival of my newborn son, I have made the commitment to myself to make every effort to change this to a relationship of acceptance and love.

For example, every time we see each other, she expects me to run countless errands for her, but then complains that we never have quality time together.

With the use of Mastery #1, Mastery #3, Mastery #4 and Mastery #5, I suggested that on a specific day that we were due to meet, I may not spend our time "together" running errands for her and "looking after her" but rather focus on realising her wish to spend "quality time" together.

I also acknowledged to her that I had not been honest with her about resenting being asked to be her personal shopper, driver, etc. I invited the possibility of being something else to her and asked what she would like to get out of our time together. Expressing and clarifying were both important as our conversations are very rich in subtitles.

At the end of that day, spent lunching and shopping and having tea, she opened up to me saying, "I always felt you were angry with me for divorcing your dad," a belief she had held for 30 years, but never shared with me.

That is when Masteries #4 and #8 kicked in. By bringing the feeling back to today and inviting the possibility of an evolved relationship, which I asked her to describe, we managed a real breakthrough when untainted love started to seep through.

Sustaining such a start, we used Mastery #9 by looking at what was needed to continue our journey. We committed to authentic communication when discomfort occurs, also using Masteries #5 and #6. We also agreed to have moments together at least every fortnight and arranged for my son to be looked after by his other grandmother at these times.

Mum also started to open up about her lack of self-confidence and her feeling of having missed opportunities in her life. She shared that she would have loved to teach or be in fine arts. By using Masteries #6 and #2, the conversation just flowed, opening up a realm of possibilities. The energy between us has shifted from destructive to positive.

Without the use of the Masteries in this conscious yet easy way, we would not have jumped over the hurdle of the first affirmation, "I always felt you were angry…" and might not even have gone there at all.

It is really worth considering: How might your relationships be different if you were to apply the Masteries this way? How might the way you feel about yourself be different? How might your friends, relations, work colleagues and children feel about themselves? What might become possible? What miracles might occur?

If you have a story or example of using the Masteries in your everyday life to make a real difference in a situation, please comment below or submit it to

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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