One of the phrases I’ve used for years in promoting Supercoach Academy is “the art and science of transformative coaching”. While I haven’t particularly thought about what I meant by that phrase for a while, this past week I had the chance to reflect on it afresh. Here’s what I saw…
The “science” of coaching is an extension of the science of life – the universal principles and constants behind all human functioning. These principles are inherently impersonal – they work the same for everyone regardless of age, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
In my work, I tend to describe the science behind the human experience in terms of three universal principles and two constant implications, based on the articulations of the spiritual author and teacher Syd Banks.
Here are the three principles in a nutshell:
1. There is an energy and intelligence behind life. This is ever present but is not ‘in control’ – it has no inherent morality or apparent point of view. It simply ensures that but for the interference of external circumstance, acorns become oak trees, cuts heal, and life begets life. (The Principle of Mind)
2. The capacity to be awake to, understand, and experience life is innate in human beings. It is a universal phenomenon. Our level of consciousness in any given moment is a primary factor in the quality of our experience. (The Principle of Consciousness)
3. Our individual experience of reality is created moment to moment via the vehicle of thought. Thought is the missing link between the formless world of pure potentiality and the created world of form. (The Principle of Thought)
I would describe the two primary implications of the principles for human functioning like this:
a. The human experience only works in one way – from thought to perception to experience – i.e. from inside to out. We’re living in the feeling of our thinking, not the feeling of the world. We’re simply not designed to experience an outside world in any other way. We can’t see, hear, or feel without thought informing our senses, and we have no way of checking whether or not our thoughts are telling us about something that’s really happening or simply projecting false data which we then interpret as true.
(The Inside-Out Understanding)
b. There is an innate, adaptive intelligence within us that is constantly moving in the direction of healthy physical and psychological functioning. In other words, we are designed to thrive by adapting and responding in real time to whatever is going on inside and around us. (Innate Health/Innate Intelligence)
In my experience both personally and professionally, the more deeply one sees these principles and constants, the more beautifully and impactfully one lives one’s life.
However, there is no behavioral prescription for how to live, what to do, or what brand of beer to drink inherent in these principles. In the same way as understanding gravity neither prevents you from flying or falling, understanding the principles behind human functioning neither guarantees success or failure in any endeavor.
In this sense, how the human system works is science; what we do with our one wild and precious life is our art.
By way of analogy:
Imagine that at birth every one of us is given an unlimited supply of canvases and paints and a limited but unknown time in which to use them. Each day is an opportunity to paint another canvas.
The brushes, paints, and canvas work exactly the same for everyone (the science of life), yet no two works of art will ever be the same (the art of living).
As a coach, the potential impact of my work will be largely dependent on the depth and clarity of my understanding of the science behind the human system However, my actual impact will be as much a function of my personal artistry as my embodied understanding. And the reason coaching and training can be useful in any endeavor is twofold:
1. Truth can be uncovered
2. Artistry can be developed.
With all my love,