The Emergence of Integral Coaching


As I think about the evolution of coaching, I see an evolution of consciousness as well.  It has to happen.  Sport actually pushes the evolution of consciousness in a curious way.  Everything is whipped-up in sport, faster in every way.  The athletic environment is a competitive, problem-solving, fast-moving, decision-making environment that mirrors daily life – only faster.  And consciousness underlies all of it.  We are consciousness taking form and reflecting back on our own consciousness.  Reflecting back not only on who we are but what we are at our deepest level.  And what we are is consciousness – a consciousness that is not just limited to us as individuals, but a consciousness that is unlimited and universal, a consciousness that interconnects us all, is us all, is the universe, and we are all of it.

Flow in sports gives people an experience of evolutionary wholeness, at whatever stage of development, whatever age, gender, skill level, or cultural background.  Wholeness is not stage dependent, nor is it skill dependent.  Wholeness in the relative domain of space and time is just that – relative.  And the interpretation of that experience of wholeness changes according to the person’s developmental altitude.  Mostly the SEC Group works with coaches and athletes who are looking for something new and different in the way they play their sport and the way they coach their sport.

An approach to intentionally playing in the zone generally gets athlete’s attention in that a zone experience, at a higher level, is an experience of temporary wholeness, temporary oneness with the universe, and temporary unity of body, mind, and spirit.  That’s a heavy experience, even if it’s only temporary.  But the zone is just that.  It comes, hangs out a little while, then goes away and you are left back in your normal state of being; a state of separation rather than wholeness.

But here’s the best part of any practice of wholeness.  Through practicing wholeness, wholeness can be stabilized and even developed.  That’s huge!  Oneness of body, mind, and spirit;  wholeness between you and all that is arising in your present reality. Sounds pretty good to me!  Even as a temporary experience, this unification of body, mind and spirit sounds a call to your deepest level of being, and that call is to keep coming back to your essential nature – the nature of wholeness.

Wholeness has a way of grabbing your attention.  Playing in the zone grabs you and holds you in its unified embrace, then releases you back into your normal performance state. Only once you’ve experienced the zone’s embrace, you will long for more of the same.

 But what are you longing for if not the wholeness that is your authentic nature?  What do we seek if not to be whole?  Whole as an athlete, whole as a coach, whole as a human being.  That wholeness calls to us from deep within; it is a driving force of evolution, the power of consciousness calling us ever onward toward the wholeness that we experience only fleetingly when we are in our peak performance state.

But now that call to wholeness can be answered in a way that allows us to stabilize and develop our own wholeness as athletes and coaches, and, in so doing, stabilize and develop our wholeness as human beings.  This call is the call of consciousness as it emerges in the structure and process of Integral Coaching.

I find it ironic that a bunch of jocks and coaches are on the leading edge of the evolutionary emergence of integral consciousness.  Yet it makes sense that integral consciousness would begin to stabilize and develop in those humans who have had the most experience with wholeness in their lives.  What segment of the human population better fits that description than athletes who have been in the zone again and again over the span of their athletic careers?  And then, those same athletes turn around and share these experiences as coaches and mentors.  Who better to build integral consciousness into a stabilized structure and process than those who have lived it?  And those who have lived it are the coaches and athletes with long-term experience in the zone.

So here we are on the leading edge of coaching consciousness.  Ahead lies a vast territory of discovery and challenge calling us ever onward while, at the same time, the gravitas of mainstream coaching excellence calls us to stay where we are, to stay in the proven structure and process of conventional coaching. 

What do you do with that?  Where do you go when the path ahead is uncharted territory and the path behind no longer calls to you? There is really no other path than forward into uncharted territory.  Evolution moves ever forward as does the consciousness of coaching.  So it is that some of us choose to venture out from the well-known territory of conventional coaching into the emerging territory of integral coaching.  And it is our calling as integral coaches to lay down tracks in this unknown territory so as to build and stabilize the underlying structure and process of integral coaching consciousness.

That’s the call of integral coaching.  It is the evolutionary call to build the foundational structure and process of the next stage of coaching and competitive consciousness, which is to say, the next stage of consciousness itself as it moves ever onward toward greater and greater wholeness.  We can mirror that wholeness with our coaching practices.  Reflect that oneness with practices that unify body, mind, and spirit.  After all, what is wholeness if not the unity of body, mind, and spirit?  The same unity of body, mind, and spirit we experience when we are in the zone.  Call it what you will: the zone, flow, peak performance, the ideal performance state, but by whatever name we give the zone, it is a state of oneness, of wholeness, of body, mind, and spirit unified with and within the flowing present dimension.

It is to that end that we develop our integral coaching practices.  Not just to accelerate the evolution of athletic performance, but at a deeper level, to accelerate the evolution of consciousness itself.  Ever onward toward greater and greater wholeness.

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