What Is Integral Coaching?

integral coaching Aug 27, 2020

I get this question a lot, so I wanted to give you a succinct answer to capture, at a high level, what Integral coaching is and why I think it's so powerful for bringing about real transformation.

There are many kinds of coaching, just like there are many kinds of therapy. Integral coaching is different from other forms of coaching because:

  1. Many schools of coaching are not grounded in a model of human development. Integral Coaching is based on a model of human development essentialized from Integral Theory and developmental psychology (see: Ken Wilber, Robert Kegan, Jane Loevinger, Jean Piaget, & others). Integral coaches use these models to assess the most effective approach to your development.

  2. Many schools of coaching emphasize specific dimensions of experience, such as emotions, relationships, or productivity. Integral Coaching pays attention to all dimensions of your experience: emotion, cognition, language, behavior, your body, culture, spirituality, creativity, purpose, relationships (etc). Rather than over-broadening us, this approach allows Integral Coaches to hold the big picture while intervening in the dimensions of highest impact for you and pivoting when necessary.

  3. Many schools of coaching focus on developing competencies in specific domains of life, such as leading productive meetings at work. Integral Coaching focuses on developing qualities and competencies that are transferable across domains of life, such as "fearlessness," "formidability," and the ability to quiet your mind. 
  4. Some schools of coaching suggest that a coach's responsibility is to ask powerful questions and withhold their own opinion. Integral Coaching believes that while questions are wonderful, limiting ourselves to just asking questions reduces the transformative potential of the coaching relationship. After getting to know you, Integral Coaches design a developmental plan for you based on a rigorous assessment, and we recommend customized self-reflections and practices aimed at opening up new awarenesses, qualities, and ways of being. We adjust these based on your feedback and make additional recommendations throughout a coaching engagement.  

So, Integral Coaching is not your typical brand of coaching.

Integral coaches...

  • Rigorously ground assessments of you in developmental models
  • Attend to your whole personhood
  • Cultivate qualities and competencies that are transferable across domains of life
  • Make specific recommendations for growth
  • And, work with you over a period of months to facilitate deep transformation

If you want to learn more about Integral Coaching, check out this article and this article from New Ventures West, the Integral Coaching School that certified me.

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