Tools for Coaching Mastery

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

Yoga Life Coaching™ – Coaching to the Higher Being
by Deborah Williamson

People often ask me why I've called my style of life coaching Yoga Life Coaching™. After over 25 years working in yoga, while also mentoring and coaching both in corporate and private client settings, I've found that combining yoga and life coaching makes a whole lot of sense.

Traditionally, both coaches and counselors relate to their clients as human beings, but as a Yoga Life Coach™, I shift my focus to coaching the Higher Beings in my clients. Relating to my clients as Higher Beings has an immediate effect on their ability to receive coaching and move forward in the coaching relationship. This is the driving principle behind Yoga Life Coaching™.

So what IS a Higher Being?

A Higher Being can be described as a state of mind in which client (and coach):

  • Have no wrong understanding
  • Have no limitations
  • Have endless energy
  • Are timeless

A person who is living and acting solely as a human being is the exact opposite of the above; someone who has many misunderstandings, limits and excuses; who is always tired and short on time, money and support. Many of our clients enter coaching relationships from this perspective and will defend it vehemently.

Newer coaches inadvertently trap their clients in this state by coaching to a specific outcome or end result. This approach leads to stagnation and eventual frustration. It is our job, as coach, to "flip the switch" so that clients experience themselves and others as Higher Beings—capable of anything and already perfect—with endless choices and possibilities to pursue.

Let's take this a bit further. Have you ever gone into work early in the morning and in one short hour accomplished more than you were able to do in the entire day previous? If so, you were operating from your Higher Being with endless energy and possibility—not limited by time or anything else.

On the flip side, perhaps you have also experienced a day when your list of things to do is five miles long, and everyone and everything is deliberately standing in your way. You accomplish nothing and feel tired and powerless. This is your experience as a Human Being.

We ARE all human beings, but when we enter the inspired state of Higher Being we truly and accurately believe that anything is possible, and we make it so. As a life coach, it is part of your continuing education to practice this shift in yourself. If you feel tired and annoyed, you are living as a human being. How will you shift to the state of Higher Being?

These distinctions of human versus Higher Being are rooted in the yogic theory of TKV Desikachar and also in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. This same theory can be found in hundreds of more recent texts as well, from Wayne Dyer to Byron Katie.

It is also in the IAC Coaching Masteries®, most specifically in Mastery #2: Perceiving, affirming and expanding the client's potential (seeing the client as a Higher Being). And so as you begin to make distinctions around these two states in your own life, you have access to a fail-proof tool for coaching your clients.

Whether you use the terms human or Higher Being with your clients or not, (and I don't), you can point out the difference between the two as you see them and encourage your clients to do the same. This understanding in and of itself is instantly life-changing. As clients create from their own Higher Being, they begin to see others in their lives existing in the same, effortless state. It is impossible to stay stuck in the state of human being while recognizing the Higher Being in another.

Here's an example of how this might appear in one of your client sessions, when coaching a client through a difficult relationship.

Your client might say about her partner, "He doesn't love me unconditionally."

As a coach, you will question this statement. What makes you believe he doesn't love you unconditionally? Is this really true? Upon further questioning, the client often realizes that it is she who is not loving her spouse unconditionally instead of the reverse. If there's no truth to the original statement (he doesn't love me unconditionally) the possibilities are now endless for this couple. Now it's time to flip the switch from human to Higher Being.

You can ask: What is possible now that you know this thought is not true? How do you feel about your husband and your relationship without this old thought? How might he respond to you if you treat him like this thought does not exist? As the client shifts her thoughts away from misunderstandings and limits in the relationship (human being) to acceptance and limitless possibility (Higher Being), she is free to create whatever she desires.

This is one example out of thousands. When you recognize the symptoms of human being, you and your clients have instant access to living life as Higher Beings. We all move in and out of both states, but the continued practice of observation, instant forgiveness and forward motion (also important parts of any yoga class) will allow you more time to live joyfully as a Higher Being. This is the gift you can also give your clients.


Yoga Life Coach™ and Master Teacher Deborah Williamson travels the world to teach, speak and coach with humor and deep humanity. Debbie's signature brand of Yoga Life Coaching™ evolved from over 20 years of coaching and wellness industry experience. Visit for upcoming Yoga Life Coach™ Certification Programs and more.

1 thought on “Tools for Coaching Mastery”

  1. Thank you Deborah for a wonderful article. I really enjoyed understanding your way of framing something so important to all coaching. It reminds me of a conversation I heard with a spiritual teacher where the student said, ‘One of the things you do to help me is to see the highest potential in me.’ The teacher replied, ‘That is not one of the things, that is all I do.’

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