What Is Integral Coaching?
Integral Coaching is an ongoing, evolving methodology intended to be the most comprehensive response to life.
Integral coaching practitioners reach into the past, gathering wisdom from East and West, while still staying current with the frontiers of new discovery in cognitive science, genetics, and other disciplines.
We call our work integral because we include everything about the client and the client’s world in our coaching. This includes what the client is aware of along with her potential—what could be brought about through focused, skillful methods.
Coaches bring forth a view of the client that includes how the client represents him or herself and also investigates his or her social world, habits, relationship with the body, the quality of self-care, the amount of attention and energy available to take on change, and much more.
The method attends to the individuality of the person as well as the social context in which the person is always embedded.
Our individuality includes our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and intentions as well as everything that is happening to us physiologically.
Our social context includes the language(s) we speak, the culturally specific practices we engage in, the relationships we are a part of and the history of the groups we belong to.
Additionally, we are always in a shared physical environment that includes nature and human artifacts, and our background, sense of possibility and our mood are shaped by the physical space we’re in.
In the most straightforward terms, coaching means building someone’s competence to better face their life circumstances. Practically speaking, successful coaching leaves people with the following outcomes:
- Long-term excellence
- The ability to self-observe and self-correct
- Competence in being self-generating
In action, this means coaches understand their clients with great depth and scope, converse with them in a way that opens up insights and possibilities, and offer a path forward that includes activities designed for them.
Addressing the inner and outer world of the individual and the inner and outer world of the groups of which they are a part opens up a huge template in which coaching can occur.
Working this broadly requires coaches who can understand how each of these human domains operates, both singularly and in their combinations.
Competence is a capacity that endures. It is distinct from a goal, which is something you achieve, like getting a promotion or losing ten pounds. Competence helps us achieve particular goals but it stays with us afterwards. For example, speaking in a way that moves people to action can contribute to a promotion. We are fulfilled when we are held deeply by life, when what once burdened us has lifted. For the individual, the value of fulfillment is self-evident. For organizations, fulfillment is valuable because it promotes long-term commitment and superior outcomes among those working within the organization.
When we are self-correcting, we have the capacity to observe discrepancies between what we intend and the actual outcomes, between our espoused values and our actual actions, and then bridge the gap. When clients become self-correcting, they are no longer dependent upon a coach.
When self-generating, we have the ability to continuously renew ourselves by drawing upon resources from without and within. When clients are self-generating, the development of competence becomes not a final end state but a continuous process.