Unique Beliefs In 4 Gateways Coaching

All sides of an issue are essential and belong to the system. Even parts of individuals or systems that are denied, hidden, and projected must be included to produce long lasting, healing resolutions.

When we make a place for all aspects of an issue, we can clarify their meaning and importance to us and learn from them. Using the 4 Gateways we embody and explore all parts of the individual or system. When all parts of our inner world or any system we work with are recognized, honored, and given their rightful place, change and healing are possible. In fact, meaningful change begins by giving all parts their rightful place.

If we want to coach ourselves or coach someone else at the soul level we have to begin by including the marginalized parts that have been denied, hidden, or projected onto others. We deliberately search for those shadow parts, the marginalized and the missing, such as a part that perhaps feels rage or jealousy or the part of us that tries to control others, or the many other parts of ourselves that we don’t want others to see.

When we exclude any aspect of ourselves or a system, that energy will hover as a ghost and cause problems. When all parts are recognized and honored there is a sense of respect and peace. Love and energy can flow more freely.

Acceptance sets us free. When we can own and respect our Shadows, the alienated parts of ourselves, we have the possibility of change.

This belief is a variation on the one above. We assume that we can’t really change something in our lives until we really see it, know it, own it, and accept it as our own. As long as any pattern remains in the unconscious, it will continue to influence us in unpredictable and often uncomfortable ways. With awareness we can see how we behave and then truly have the option to change. That power to change happens in the moment, and can’t occur without knowing that all sides of us belong and that we have real choices about which ones we identify with.

Resolutions often come from unexpected directions. The Gateway we have the least access to often becomes the best place to look for solutions.

We have observed that people often do quite well in accessing one, two, or even three of the Gateways to wisdom, but the fourth is little used and undeveloped. Coaching can help us bring that underdeveloped Gateway into consciousness and thereby give us access to much greater depth. The most under-utilized Gateway in each of us is often a door to the soul and an access to satisfying resolutions for our issues. Both in individual and group processes the key to coming to a new awareness and creating a satisfying resolution often comes from the seemingly “weakest link.”

Recurring, persistent issues, and addictions are ways of keeping us connected to someone we love.

One of the most startling and gratifying gems of wisdom we have learned from going through this process is that we are all deeply loving beings. In fact, we are so loving that we will suffer almost any pain and dysfunction, even to the point of becoming addicted, seriously ill, or even dying to prove our love. This assumption that we take on burdens to connect to those we love is one of the cornerstones of 4 Gateways Coaching.

Armed with this awareness, the 4 Gateways Coach can offer a choice:
1) To continue the pattern, knowing that we do so out of love and that change might be too risky,
Or 2) To make a conscious choice to love differently, less painfully.
In the second case the changes may either come quickly and dramatically or come slowly and gradually over a number of years. In either case, the context of the persistent pattern is seen for what it is…an attempt at love and connection, often to heal an old wound or to keep from repeating a painful experience. This knowledge in and of itself can be healing and transformative and release us from the burdens of the past.

All feelings, emotions, and body sensations are allies.

In this work we use body wisdom: movements, gestures, and sensations from the body, including any pain or physical symptom, as essential gateways to wisdom and deeper understanding.

All great coaching makes use of feelings, emotions and body sensations. We all have a profound emotional and physical intelligence that is often overlooked by conventional education and training.

We attack and wound others out of our own woundedness. Real strength comes from knowing and honoring our wounds and then owning our projections.

The 4 Gateways process is often about embracing the unloved, the wounded and shadowed parts of ourselves that we deny and project onto others. Our assumption is that no one is inherently evil or bad. Our ways of being arise from our physical, familial and cultural context. Our darkest potentials and our brightest gifts come from this same source. Recognizing our power to hurt and be hurt gives us a foundation of self-awareness and courage to face life’s issues directly and potently. When we can bring these seemingly unlovable parts to light we can stand with a true strength that comes from honoring our total being.

Story, archetypes, and metaphor are food for the soul.

Human beings are storytellers. Language began out of our deep desire to tell each other the stories of our lives. The stories we tell are the process of using our creative imagination and engaging archetypal energies. Archetypes are fundamental formative patterns universally recognized as underlying everyday reality. In this process we primarily use the four archetypes recognized by Robert Moore and Gillette, the Magician, the Warrior, the Lover and the King & Queen. The archetypes are access points to our deepest wisdom and provide nourishment for our souls that only seeing the whole story can provide.

Awareness of all our potential is the key. In this model we connect with four primal archetypal circuits to access the wisdom of the soul: We determine how the energy of each of these four archetypes might inform us and guide us. We put on and take off these archetypal energies, as we would costumes in a stage play. It is important to note that this archetypal energy is high voltage and can become dangerous when one gets too identified with a single archetype. For example, there is a big difference between being “The King” and using healthy kingly energy in your life. So we step into the wisdom of these archetypes temporarily and ask for their gifts. We do this in a spirit of humility that knows we are part of a much larger system.

Working with Groups and Teams

Dynamic Dialogue: Practices for Learning from Experience

“There are only two sources of learning: others and experience,” writes Russell Ackoff in a recent commentary in Reflections: The SoL Journal. He continues, “All learning originally derives from experience.” However, “there is relatively little literature about learning from experience and making it available to others in and out of an organization.” The overemphasis on learning from others worries Ackoff because “no amount of sharing of ignorance can produce knowledge.”

To address this concern, we have evolved flexible processes for groups, teams, organizations and communities to learn from experience via experiential simulation and modeling. We have found that groups can get beyond sharing opinions and create opportunities where we can test and observe the likely consequences of proposed ideas, decisions, and actions. This is possible without the use of computers or language proficiency with Systems Thinking. These learning processes involve a set of repeatable practices for getting through the often overwhelming complexity and conflict in organizational life in order to generate and try out new solutions and ways of working collaboratively. We call this kind of experiential learning practice “Dynamic Dialogue.”

By incorporating various techniques for helping groups explore systemic structures and their often unspoken and unexamined perspectives, Dynamic Dialogue allows participants to:
• Define, reframe (if necessary) and resolve complex issues and conflicts
• Design and build breakthrough models, products, and services
• Surface underlying assumptions and hidden agendas for greater clarity
• Appreciate different and even competing perspectives
• Satisfy the longing for meaning and connection to greater wholes
• Move to deeper levels of understanding and collaboration
• Test new ideas to explore the consequences.

The dictionary defines dynamics as the physical, intellectual, and moral forces that produce motion, activity, and change in a given sphere. It is in the full sense of the term that we define Dynamic Dialogue. In Dynamic Dialogue, participants don’t just talk about the patterns and energies present in the organization—they enact and experiment with them, using a wide range of methods, activities, and tools.

For instance, group members may act out the various voices in a situation to demonstrate people’s diverse perspectives without becoming overwhelmed by intense emotions. Or they may use mapping tools, such as simple causal loop diagrams or three-dimensional representations of their business unit, to help them recognize the underlying structures and mindsets that keep them stuck in old habits that limit innovation and perpetuate dysfunction. Through these techniques, teams experiment with innovative approaches or practice new behaviors and see the implications of these actions for the larger system.

The Processes
The principles of Dynamic Dialogue are readily learned and reproduced in many settings. Essential practices include:
Setting the Group Field
We begin by creating a common purpose and time frame (90 minute minimum for a whole Dynamic Dialogue), establish simple ground rules, and emphasize the importance of suspending (e.g., to surface and inquire into) individual and collective beliefs. We ask participants to remain open to the possibility that any perspectives, voices or roles that appear may be useful. We also encourage an examination of intangible group dynamics such as its “emergent story,” “rank,” “resistance,” and ”shadow.”

Drawing Out the Voices
In this step, participants take on the roles of the key stakeholders in the system. Group members also listen for “ghost voices”—perspectives held by contributors who are not present, or voices that are unrecognized by the mainstream within the system. Ghosts can also be “undiscussables,” or issues that no one is comfortable bringing up. These voices are often central to resolving difficult issues.
Simulating Interactions Among the Parts
Role-playing is a powerful tool for exploring the dynamics in a human system. Reenactments or dramatizations allow the group to see how the group’s parts interact and shed light on the functioning of the system as a whole.
Tapping the Vantage Points of the Four Gateways
Distinguishing key features of any living system can be difficult when confronted with the enormous complexity and paradoxes that often arise when simulating the life of a team or organization. To help the group respond productively to this information, we encourage participants to view the system from four different vantage points:

Perspective (Magician): Here we look for different beliefs, judgments, and dynamics at work in the group. We look for repeating cycles or patterns.

Boundaries (Warrior): Here we reflect on who is in and out, what the system is serving and protecting, and what risks there might be in changing things (or not changing). We look for hard truths and factual data.

Affect (Lover): Here we assess the feelings at work between different perspectives and in the dynamic as a whole. We look for connections that might facilitate the process, and particularly to whom the whole dynamic connects.

Purpose (Sovereign): Here we look for what the system is designed to learn and what its underlying purpose might be. We attempt to discover what new capacity is trying to emerge.

By inquiring from these distinct vantage points, the participants begin to notice the impact of the assumptions that drive their actions. In surfacing these previously unexamined assumptions, group members begin to see what roles they have played in perpetuating patterns of misunderstanding and ineffectiveness.
Testing New Ideas for Ripple Effects
Participants explore the impact of the many decisions and actions occurring simultaneously at multiple levels within and beyond the organization. Most methods for working with complex systems break the issues or system into smaller parts and attempt to optimize the individual pieces. The practice of Dynamic Dialogue focuses on illuminating the increasing levels of complexity in the system and on examining how local actions can have unanticipated consequences for the organization as a whole.
Translating Lessons Learned
As the group members test new ways of being together, they begin to make plans for how to support and sustain this altered method of working. With guidance, participants collectively manage the transition from the old as they envision and move on to designing the new. An important aspect of this process includes sharing learnings with others. By honoring the past, the group avoids recapitulating past habits as they design ways to move forward together. Key to success is establishing an ongoing forum for reflection and continued learning that Dynamic Dialogue provides.
The ultimate objective in working with these processes is to enable groups to deal with complex, systemic issues and generate structures for achieving their goals. Indicators of success include signs of collaboration, the capacity to co-create and adaptability. Big breakthroughs are less important than evidence of increased resilience and creativity.

Distinguishing Features
Dynamic Dialogue employs many of the concepts commonly used in organizational development approaches. But typical Organizational Development interventions focus primarily on remediation of current problems. In addition to addressing immediate challenges, Dynamic Dialogue offers an opportunity to:
• explore all parts of an existing system, including interaction effects,
• examine the functioning and emergent nature of the system as a whole; and
• generate and experiment with something entirely new.

For instance, a management team found itself struggling when the charismatic founder announced that he was stepping down from his position as CEO. The organization would have to design and implement a new management structure. The change from a system driven by one person, to one managed by a team, disrupted relationships among staff members throughout the organization. Conflicting priorities, personality conflicts, and turf building moves wreaked havoc on morale and productivity.

The management team used role-plays to examine the issues involved in making this transition. They found that their old patterns of interaction—with the executive team designed to check the authority of the founder/board chair—would not serve them in the future. They realized that their struggles went deeper than personality conflicts or the wrong people in the wrong roles—their problems resulted from trying to conform to a poorly designed organizational structure. This understanding helped them to reframe the problem and heal the rifts that had been dividing them. They then focused on creating the kind of management system that would position them for future success and be one they wanted to work in.

When team dynamics are illuminated through role-playing or creating a model of the system, the process often triggers intense emotional responses in participants. Many OD interventions bypass these dynamics. Alternatively, some facilitators steer the group into psychotherapeutic interventions. Either way, many group processes get bogged down here and are unable to deal productively with the intensity of emotional energy often present.

Giving people a time and place and tools for working with the powerful systemic forces and emotions that exist allows them to simultaneously resolve current issues and learn new practices for integrating emotional energy in healthy ways. These distinctive capabilities—to both heal and create anew, and to channel energy productively—make it more likely that teams will generate and share true knowledge, instead of recycling ignorance. (LEVERAGE, July 2000, # 43)

How Dynamic Dialogue Differs
from 4 Gateways Coaching

Dynamic Dialogue uses the same process of looking at an issue that we have outlined for 4 Gateways Coaching. There are several key differences.
• We spend more time in the introductory phase of a Dynamic Dialogue in laying out the various perspectives that are coming to bear on the issue in question.
• We establish a place at the beginning of the Dialogue for all important perspectives in order to get a realistic picture of the whole dynamic.
• We invite volunteers from the group to represent the different perspectives and move from one perspective to another to get the experience of seeing the issue from different points of view.
• We often allow time for the different perspectives to develop and interact before we jump out of the box and look at the situation from the 4 Gateways vantage points.
• We encourage participants to go back into the dynamic and test possible alternatives gained from the insights arrived at in looking from the Gateways.

4 Gateways Questions to Use
in Dynamic Dialogue

Some of the questions we use for Dynamic Dialogue follow below. You will see there are many similarities and some differences in how we phrase the
4 Gateways questions for groups. Again, we try to fit each set of questions to fit the group or team with which we are working to make them most relevant to their issues, time constraints, and desired outcomes.

We begin the inquiry with the first set of questions are perhaps the most fundamental and often lead to a clarifying insights and critical perceptual and emotional shifts. The sequence of posing and answering the questions is not as crucial as completing the full circle.

In responding to these questions, group members will begin to notice the impact of bringing awareness to the whole dynamic. They will be able to see the consequences of the interactions of the parts and the functioning of the whole. They will develop an understanding of the influence of the deeply embedded dynamics in the system.

Magician – Perspective & Analysis:
• What are the underlying beliefs and assumptions of this dynamic?
• What are your thoughts and judgments about what you see?
• What cycles or patterns are you aware of?

Warrior – Boundaries & Action:
• What is the system serving or protecting?
• Who should be included (or excluded)?
• What hard truths could be spoken?
• What boundaries could be set?
• What are the risks to change?

Lover – Affect & Connection:
• How does this feel?
• What connections between perspectives could be made?
• How could more emotional intelligence be brought into play?

Sovereign – Purpose & Blessing:
• What support could be given?
• What is this system designed to learn?
• What seems to be its purpose?
• What is trying to emerge?

Additional Questions to Use in Each Gateway
Listed below are additional questions that can be used to catalyze deeper inquiry when time and/or conditions allow.
Magician – Getting Perspective, Analyzing, & Generating Options
• What options are available?
• How else could this be framed? What could this pattern be called?
• What information is missing, not being heard or not being used? What other resources are available?

Going deeper still:
• What part does fear play in this dynamic?
• What manipulation do you see occurring?
• What does your wise inner facilitator have to say about this?
• How might a trickster intervene to transform this situation?
• If a repetitive pattern or cycle is happening, where might the group have learned this?

Analyzing the bigger picture:
• What are the fundamental beliefs and assumptions underlying this dynamic?
• How is this dynamic or pattern a reflection of: larger company-wide or system-wide dynamics? local community dynamics? US cultural dynamics? world dynamics?
Warrior – Taking Action, Using Power, & Boundary Setting
• Where is the power? Who or what is in charge?
• What makes you angry about this situation?
• How are some voices being marginalized and/or not heard?
• What edges are showing up?
• What happens in times of conflict?
• Is anyone being hurt or abused? If so, how is that happening?
• What strategy might a martial arts master employ here?
• Are agreements being kept?

Further Action:
• What do you most want to do about this situation?
• What is the risk in doing that? Is it worth the risk? What could make it less risky? Is that a possibility?
• How can power be better distributed or channeled more efficiently & effectively?
• Could a more (or less) democratic system work here?
• Are all time and space boundary agreements being upheld?
• What other “rules of the game” could be named and clarified?
Lover – Feeling and Connecting

• Are certain feelings dominating? How is that happening?
• What personal relationships in the group are dominating? Can these personal patterns be acknowledged and addressed?
• How could more emotional intelligence be useful in this dynamic?
• How could body awareness, movement, play, song, and other arts be brought to the situation?
• How could compassion be brought in?

More Connections:
• What compulsive patterns do you see?
• Who does this dynamic connect the group to?
• If this dynamic was seen as honoring a certain person or relationship, could that person be honored differently?
• What might need to be grieved here?
• What other healing connections could be made?

Sovereign – Meaning & Purpose, Support, and Motivation
• How is rank and status influencing the situation?
• Can the rank be named and respected? If not, why not?
• How can praise, support, guidance, encouragement, and blessing be brought into this situation?
• How could this support motivate transformation?
• Does the meaning and purpose this dynamic reflects align with the group’s goals and objectives?
• Is a greater purpose and meaning being played out here? Is there something more important than the original objective coming through?

Furthering the Support:
• How would a benevolent sovereign bless this dynamic?
• How can what is being learned here be helpful beyond this situation?
• Could it be taken to the whole system/community/world at large?
Working with Edges and Hot Spots
Working at edges, hot spots and uncomfortable moments takes the utmost in skill and makes facilitation a high art. To go over an edge or through a conflict together is often the key to deep insight and powerful transformation in any group process. Being able to work effectively at these critical junctures is essential to the health and evolution of a group.

Many of the “going deeper” questions listed above are very effective interventions when the going gets hot and difficult. Listed below are further suggestions for working with edges, grouped by archetypes for convenience. They may be used in any order that is facilitative to the process.
• Identify and separate out the different levels at which different roles are operating. (Levels we identify: personal, relational, social, cultural, global, & transcendent.)
• Engage everyone in finding healing and strengthening movements by looking at the issue from the outside together. Pose and answer the 4 Gateway questions listed above as a group by going around “the box” together.
• Encourage role players to exaggerate the parts they are in. Can they imagine and act out what is over the edge, beyond the risk, or beyond the hot spot?
• Set up a role that can assess risk, “Risk Manager or Protector”. Several group members may take on this perspective sequentially or simultaneously. Ask the Risk Manager/Protector role some or all these questions: What is at risk at this edge? What is the risk in knowing something more? What is the risk in going further? What is at risk in leaving things the way they are?
• Identify the conflict, resistance, or edges as clearly as possibly.
• Clarify where the whole process is now and where it is headed. Identify how a win-win might look.

• Switch to a more consciously embodied mode of expression. Try moving, singing, making music, drawing, sculpting clay, or sitting quietly.
•Draw out underlying feelings and give them a place.
• Identify and engage more deeply in any relational issue that seems to be core to the dynamic at hand. Determine who the issue most deeply connects to.
• Get support for the differing sides. Make sure no one is defending or advocating a position alone. (Reiterate that every role has a rightful place and that individuals are representing roles within the group and are not advocating personal positions. If a participant cannot separate him or herself from a role it may be wise to invite them to give that role to another person.)
• Enroll specific supportive voices (ideal roles) such as: a Mature Warrior, who knows what action could be taken and when, a Benevolent Sovereign or Elder who can find a way to give support and bless the whole process, a Creative Magician who can come up with imaginative new ideas or a sustaining ritual, or a Mature Lover who can bring in connection, beauty, music, movement, stillness, and play.