The Three Levels of Coaching

In general, business coaching targets three different levels, all of which strongly differ in their level of difficulty and in what they demand from the coach:

  • the first level is the reflection of the manager’s role and tasks as well as the system in which they are moving;
  • the second level is behavioral training;
  • the third and most difficult level is to identify and resolve blocking patterns.

Usual business coaching approaches start with reflection. It is important to reflect with the executives whether the way they deal with their employees is effective, what tasks they perform and which of those tasks are actually part of their job, what exactly their role is, or what implications are an effect of them being a part of a particular system which features a highly specific set of rules. Coaching at this level can prove effective for example if the client has a problem with re-delegating tasks to his staff and understands that it is neither useful nor his job to do his employees’ work or solve all their problems. If the problem turns out to have simply been a misunderstanding of the coachee’s role and functions and he has now come to a new realization and changed his behavior accordingly, then the coach’s job is done – the coaching was successful!

However if the client finds that he cannot put his newly learned insights into practice because he has no idea how to communicate to his staff that he now has different expectations of them, it takes a further actions than merely reflection. If a manager knows his role and responsibilities, but does not know how to fill it because he does not know how to reject re-delegations or how he can promote more autonomy in his staff, if he has no idea how to motivate people, or how to lead a discussion about professional relationships, it is useful and even necessary to work on the behavioral level. This requires a few more skills from the coach in contrast to working exclusively on the reflection plane. He needs to know how he can support his client in acquiring new behavioral patterns, and he must be able to serve as a role model to some extent.

The coach may, for example, develop new behavioral options through role-playing with his coachee, so that the client can try out behavior patterns formerly unknown to him until he feels comfortable with them within the protected setting of the coaching situation. This should serve as an efficient prerequisite in order for him to effortlessly implement them in real-life situations. Generally, the “quality of implementation” is very good in people working in executive positions. Once they have grasped what they should do differently, and once they know how to do this, they find it easy to change their behavior in most cases. And as soon as they realize that this new behavior shows success, the respective pattern is reinforced so that they are highly motivated to continue down this path. This is another outcome which validates a successfully completed coaching.

But then there are those cases where the situation was serenely analyzed and reflected, new behavior was subsequently developed and successfully established through role-playing, but in real-life the problems persist because the new behavior simply cannot be accessed. When that happens, the coach may assume that there are inner blockages within the client which date back to older patterns and which prove resistant to both reflection and interventions on the behavioral level. For this reason, many coaching attempts fail while encountering such blockages. The given behavior is highly consistent and all attempts to change something about this through “reasonable” measures prove to be ineffective.

This is where the third level of coaching comes into play, because when it comes to dissolving internal blocking patterns other methods need to be employed. Introvision Coaching has proved a sustainable and effective method for this. Because if a manager has detected a new behavior as useful, if this behavior has also been successfully applied to the task through role-playing, in other words, if the client is basically willing and able to follow the coach’s path, there must be an internal blockage, an internal alarm that prevents the application of the trained behavior in real-life situations. Once the imperative which triggers this alarm has been extracted and deleted through the Introvision method, the client will experience an increase in serenity and in consequence regain the inner freedom to decide in which situation he wants to show what kind of behavior. Without the underlying imperative, the client’s behavior is no longer determined by internal stress reactions which are triggered by internal alarms in the amygdala with all the associated symptoms such as the release of stress hormones and all the ensuing unpleasant sensations which in the end prevent the client from doing what he actually wants to do.

Once the imperative in question has been deleted through Introvision Coaching, no alarm will be triggered in the amygdala – and then, sometimes surprisingly, the client can instantly implement the means and measures that have been developed and trained in the coaching process. He knows what to do, he has successfully tried it, and he understands how it works; now, unhindered by the alarm, he can transfer his knowledge immediately.

This amazing experience can be pretty intense: a businesswoman who often deals with contractors in her professional life was frustrated to find that her emails were ignored time and again and that she by no means had the resounding success she actually hoped for in personal dealings with her contractors. They neither corrected their mistakes nor followed the contracted schedule. The client had to realize again and again that the contractors would simply not accept her. Her husband, with whom she shared the management of her company, had already frequently given her the feedback that she should change the way she approached them and try to formulate her emails differently; she could see his point. However, any efforts to reflect and reason and all practicing role-playing did not help her to establish a position from which she could approach the contractors on site in a meaningfully different way; she just wasn’t able to voice her opinion or to provide clear demands.

After she had been working on the imperative, “I must not be rejected by others!,” through Introvision Coaching, resulting in the vanishing of the ensuing alarm, she received spontaneous feedback from other people how different she suddenly presented herself. Even her husband, who did not know that she had been working on this issue, immediately perceived a different tone in her emails.

In one single session, something had fundamentally changed which had resisted obstinately all former efforts like reflection or practicing. A problem that is based on an old pattern – an alarm which was installed at some point in the past within the amygdala because there used to be a corresponding imperative – cannot be solved at the level of the conscious mind alone, because the amygdala is always faster. But you can employ Introvision Coaching to eliminate this alert – as a result, insight and reason can take hold once more.

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