About Coaching and Personal Growth

We are all coaches. Great coaching is an art to be learned.

When we support others or ourselves to learn new things, we are coaching. When we assist others or ourselves in problem solving, we are coaching. When we guide others or ourselves in making transitions, we are coaching. When we empower others or ourselves to take on challenges and work through them, we are coaching. When we encourage others or ourselves to go for excellence and wholeness, then we are coaching. We all find ourselves coaching and being coached daily.

Good coaching is an art. Even when a coach is very skilled and has mastered a certain coaching system, has the best tools and maps, coaching is still an art. Coaching is a unique connection between unique people in a unique time and place, never to be repeated. Each coaching session stands alone as a piece of living art that serves as a catalyst for change. No model or formula will fit every situation, including 4 Gateways Coaching.

We are OK just the way we are.

Even with our issues, problems, judgments, projections, addictions, limitations and “flaws,” there is nothing we need to get rid of or change. This notion is paradoxical given that we usually begin coaching looking for a change or wanting to be different in some way. How can we simultaneously be OK and have the desire to be different?

In 4 Gateways Coaching we assume that our perfection includes the marginalized or victimized parts of us as well as the inner critic or judge who feels superior and puts us or others down. We believe that the whole spectrum of parts is perfect for us to learn life’s lessons. All parts of us have something important to offer when we discover their essence. By giving those parts airtime in the safety of the coaching environment, we clarify their importance, and prepare to receive their gifts.

Inner work is as important as outer work.

We live in a culture that highly values the “just do it” mentality. Specifically, we are often asked to do it better, do it bigger, do it faster, and do it more efficiently. We look at results and bottom lines; we look to the material world for feedback about how we are doing. In such an environment it is sometimes difficult to remember that our inner world even exists.

The inner world of the soul asks us to take it slower, watch the process, pay attention to the small things, appreciate beauty, bless and savor our relationships, and care for our bodies and the earth.
Obviously we need awareness of both inner and outer worlds to be whole. The
4 Gateways model assumes that what goes on inside is just as important as what happens on the outside. One of the seminal works in the coaching field, The Inner Game of Tennis, by Tim Gallway, changed how people viewed the inner world and outer results. Since sport is such a powerful metaphor in the business world, many enlightened leaders today have begun to see the value of inner focus for outer results. Not just for improved performance but also for the greater well being that comes from balancing the two realms.

It is important to note that while inner work can often improve external performance, that is not our only or the most important goal in 4 Gateways Coaching. We are not out to make the inner world a slave to greater efficiency, productivity, and the “fix it” mentality. We value the inner world as having its own sovereignty, structures, symbols, and importance for its own sake.

What we resist persists. Blame, anger, resentment, revenge, resignation, Withdrawal, and self-righteousness keep us stuck.

Paradoxically, our most persistent issues are often the very ones that we try hardest to push away or ignore. These strategies keep us in the conflict. There are always good reasons why we got into a particular conflict in the first place. Our very survival may have depended on it. We reacted or defended, or turned away from the issue because we thought we lacked the tools or were unwilling or unable to ask for help. It made perfect sense at the time to do so.

Unfortunately, the strategies that helped us survive in the past often don’t work so well in the present. The patterns lock in and then we get stuck. The more we fight, the deeper our stuckness becomes. To get the freedom to make new choices we must step out of our old default positions; we must get out of “The Box.” As expert mediator Bill Ury describes in his book, The Third Side, “going to the balcony” gives us the perspective to see many sides of any problem or conflict so that viable choices are possible.