A Coaching Model Created by Vladimir Bog
(Business Coach, ROMANIA)
People are in search of happiness. Unfortunately, sense gratification is too often mistaken for happiness. So many are on a path that does not lead to happiness. As sense gratification is temporary people often meet their “targets” or objectives only to very soon become discontent again and seek “happiness” elsewhere.
Only the pleasant is desired and accepted. The unpleasant is avoided, kept far, eliminated as soon as possible when already there, put out of the side or minimized. Many are in an obsessive race towards reaching or creating that perfect moment in which only good exists and no bad at all.
Yet, life is of a different nature. Things are in continuous movement and change. The perceived good things come and go and so do the perceived bad things. In reality, every moment is a mixed experience of good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant.
As everything is actually perceived in the way that our sub-conscious filters it, certainly a way to make this look better is to make the balance between positive and negative look better. By adopting a more positive attitude, for instance, one may perceive more positives or fewer negatives in the very same situation. But how about not choosing between a positive vs negative angle and instead chose a neutral, realistic one? If every moment is a mix of good and bad, things coming as they come and often out of our control (health, natural events, economic events, other people’s actions, etc), a realistic way of looking at every moment is as an actual balance of perceived positives and negatives.
In accounting, the balance of every moment is kept in a T-shaped balance sheet. I propose to look at the objective realistically, using a T shaped tool, similar to that developed in 1458 by merchants’ accountants in Italy. This helps clients look at the target and understand that the perfect moment they search will not be really perfect but it will have its positives and negatives, instead.
By doing this the client is less prone to dissatisfaction when the target is reached and that moment is “spoilt” by the inherent imperfections that will be there, too.
Moreover, it is helpful to realize that the present moment itself is also a mixed bag of good and bad and therefore of exactly the same nature with the aspirational moment.
The Coaching Model T puts side by side two T-shape balances which are equivalent in the sense of their identical nature.
This model helps clients develop a more balanced and realistic perspective, a better appreciation of every moment.
The Coaching Model T uses the existing coaching tools and skills but places more emphasis on certain aspects, as follows:
Values and Purpose
Values and purpose tend to be in an area closer to that more silent and balanced self and hence more likely to provide a north star when everything seems to be moving around. In the Coaching Model T, a sufficient amount of time is spent by/with the client to identify the core values. A Wheel of Life is developed according to the client’s identified values and used through the process as a North Star. This reduces the “background noise” and puts what is desirable and what is not from a different perspective. Where possible, defining the life-purpose is of help. One way of doing that is by asking the client to write down a short proposition or phrase that describes their purpose and re-write it to resonate more and more. A sign of getting close to that zone of truth is getting chills or tears in the eyes. Values and purpose are, however, still mental creations, concepts and therefore not the true self but perhaps getting closer to that. Everyone becomes a repository of sensations acquired through life experiences that determine the way in which reality is seen. It is like the white lite hitting a prism and being split into the entire spectrum of colours. Regardless of how those colours would be put back together, they will never result in white light again; in other words, pure reality once entered one’s subconscious interpretation it will never be the same.
Often the client wants to be in a different place or moment just as a means of escaping the current moment. This is usually because the current moment is perceived as painful or unpleasant. Like any moment, the present moment is of the same nature as any other moment, coming and going and made of good and bad. In Coaching Model T we pay attention to defining the current moment realistically. In fact, some clients chose not to react to it anymore and to act instead and appreciate the present moment for what it is: presence.
Here is an example of a dialogue:
Coachee:…and I live on this island with 1000 people which is probably less than you would have at any moment in a metro station in NYC. I want to know people more deeply but here everyone knows each other.
Coach: what is it that you have on your island that does not exist in a metro station in NYC?
Coachee: Oh, I guess here I can go and talk to anyone and it won’t look weird…
Coach: how is that relevant to what is important for you?
Coachee: I don’t really want to be surrounded by a lot of people. What I want is to be able to have meaningful conversations
Coach: What does this bring to the surface?
Coachee: I am actually thinking I may be lucky… If I was in the metro station in NYC I may feel and actually be more lonely than I am on my little island. I did not have meaningful conversations with anyone but at least here I can start somewhere…
Truth vs Fraud
As everything comes and goes, so do the pleasant and unpleasant sensations that every moment generates on a person. When one looks at every such (pleasant or unpleasant) component as a wave, a vibration, a repetitive up and down, then one knows it is going to change and does not get so caught up in the situation. Some things take longer to change and others just a fraction of a second and still, one thing is for sure: they all will change.
So then, taking any two moments in time T1 and T2, they will be composed of perceived negatives, positives and neutrals. T1 in the picture above is composed of a -, another -, a neutral, and two positives. T2 is composed of a plus, a minus and three neutrals. They are basically the same. And any attempt to “create” a moment Tp (T perfect) becomes clearly futile. And even if that moment could be created it will last not more than a fraction of a second.
In Coaching Model T we assist clients to develop their own perspective of what this looks for them by helping them create a realistic view of the present moment with its good and bad and of the desired moment with its likely good and likely bad.
This is a very important element as the model is built around the fact that our subconscious is in permanent contact with the environment, that through that contact sensations arise on the body and in the mind, sensations that are permanently perceived by the subconscious and reacted upon, with the conscious part of the mind coming in later to only justify with logical arguments decisions already made by the subconscious (Kahnemann). So mindfulness of sensations and of thoughts is of great importance. As the sub-conscious has built automatic reactions to sensations throughout one’s life, it is not in a coaching session that such constructions can be dismantled. However some clients are more in tune with their body sensations and in such cases, with client’s permission, bringing awareness to the actual sensations is something that may bring results.
Example of a dialogue:
Coachee: … and everyone in that coffee shop is judging everything I said.
Coach: how does that make you feel?
Coachee: it makes me feel exposed, like wanting to run away.
Coach: I would like to propose a little exercise, if I may. It would involve closing your eyes for a few minutes…
Coachee: Yes, sure, why not?
Coach: then let’s close our eyes. Breath in and exhale deeply three times at your own pace. Try to relax your body and keep it that way. Try to get in tune with your sensations.
Now, go back into that coffee shop and see how everyone judges everything you said. What are the main one or two sensations that you feel in the body?
Coachee: oh, there is a very strong tension in my stomach…
Coach: ok, then if it is not too painful, just observe it and see what it does and allow it to do what it does. It may move, it may change, it may transform into something different, just observe it and let it do what it does.
Coachee: now it moved through my throat right on the back of my had.
Coach: hmmm… just observe it and allow it to do what it wants
Coachee: and then it went down on my right hand and then seemed to just go out through my fingers…
Coach: so you are still in that coffee shop with all those people judging what you said. How do you feel now?
Coachee: …I don’t feel anything…hmmm, none of those sensations is here anymore…
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemann, 2011; RevivreSensoriellement, by Luc Nicon, 2013; Co-Active Coaching third edition by Kimsey-House, Kimsey-House, Sandahl, Whitworth, 2011; The Experience of Insight by Joseph Goldstein, 1987, The Noble Eightfold Path by Bhikkhu Bodhi 6th edition, 2016, The Art of Living/Vipassana Meditation by William Hart, 1987