What are The ICA Power Tools?

The Power Tools are concepts based on dualities – things that are the opposite of one another e.g. good/bad, empowered/disempowered, negative/positive.They were created from the idea that at any given time our perspective on a given situation or event is a choice. It may not be a conscious choice, but nonetheless it is a choice.

For example, we can choose to approach a new job or relationship with fear and trepidation, or we can choose to approach it with confidence and curiosity. And that choice will affect the happiness and satisfaction we feel.

ICA Coaches study the 8 Core Power Tools as part of their certification, and then they create their own.

Responsibility vs Blame

Action vs Delay

Action is essential to creating change in our lives. We can spend our entire lives dreaming, thinking, planning and preparing to accomplish our goals, but without action we never leave the dreaming realm. Taking action creates movement necessary to make things happen! Being in action doesn’t just mean ‘big ticket items’ like running marathons, starting a businesses, or finding a partner. A small action or moment of mindfulness can create a huge shift and change your whole life. Reading, thinking, meditating, reflecting, writing, talking, coaching, walking, mentoring are actions that create forward momentum. These achievements are not one action step, but rather an accumulation of action steps. You don’t win a marathon by waking up one day and trying to run 42kms. It takes vision, planning and training.

Delay can manifest in many forms. We are very creative in the excuses that we make to ourselves to justify delaying action. Delay is a form of procrastination, which means putting things off until we can put them off no longer. When we procrastinate, we are in delay mode and may even become reactive, rather than being proactive which can impact the quality of a completed task or goal. There are many reasons we delay, including fear of failure, imposter syndrome, limiting beliefs or excessive perfectionism. We may become expert at creating excuses to justify delay.

Commitment vs Trying

One way to break free from trying is to consider that there actually is no such thing as ‘trying’. There is never a time, not even a split second, when we are not committed to something. You might say, ‘What about when I’m lying on the sofa watching television? I’m not committed to anything then.’ Actually, that is exactly what you are committed to at that very moment: lying on the sofa watching television. And maybe that’s OK. Becoming aware of what we are committed to at any time can be a liberation in itself!

‘Trying’ can be a very disempowering. It can be exhausting to feel stuck in a cycle of never ending attempts to change something. With each attempt comes failure. Maybe people around you are sick of hearing about your issue, maybe you are even sick of talking about it!. It is easy to feel helpless when you’re in ‘trying’ mode; like there is no hope and that your only future is more failure.

Respect vs Invalidation

Most of us learnt about respect delivered to us as a set of rules as we grew up – ‘Respect your elders’, ‘Respect your teacher’ etc. Respect is much deeper than that. Respect is the recognition of a person as an autonomous, unique, and free individual. It means that we value and acknowledge their right and capacity to make their own decisions. Self-respect is similar – it involves releasing judgement and allowing ourselves to be who we want to be and live how we want to live, free of judgement. It also means deeming ourselves worthy; worthy of attention, care and support.

Validation allows another person the emotional space to exist. By listening, acknowledging and respecting someone we are supporting, empowering and boosting their emotional life. When we invalidate someone, we do more than just disagree with them, we communicate to them that they or their feelings do not count in any way. The same applies when we don’t listen to ourselves or negate our feelings. We invalidate ourselves with negative self-talk and by the actions we take guided by this self-talk. Invalidation is insidious, often barely perceptible. One way to know if we are invalidating is if there is extreme judgement at play. Judgement is often at the base of all invalidation.

Lightness vs Significance


Having a light approach to life does not mean you don’t care, or are unable to recognise serious situations, it is more about being free from the past whilst walking into your present. Imagine carrying around an old, heavy suitcase of life. When you open it, you see hurt feelings, betrayals and failures. This suitcase is very heavy. Do you want to drag it around for the rest of your life? What if you approached each situation and new and different context, and took on a perspective of curiosity, and even play.

To have lightness is to have freedom, flexibility and curiosity about life.


The significance we give to the happy events in our life is empowering. We relive the moment so we can hang on to the joyful feelings. However, when we give this same significance to life’s hurtful or disappointing events, there is no lightness – it feels heavy, burdensome and draining. Imagine carrying around an old, heavy suitcase of life. Significance shows up most often when we are attached to a particular outcome and can only see one possible pathway and allow no flexibility within that.

We also become significant when we bring our baggage to a situation. We carry it around, weighing ourselves down with beliefs, notions and learned behaviours.

Truth vs Fraud


The question of what is true and what is not has been the subject of philosophical debate throughout human history. Your truth as an individual is derived from your beliefs and life experience. This is the lens through which you see your world. Your judgments are shaped by your interpretation of your truth. There is no actual objective, total truth. All truth is conditional on its context.

Take for example, a car accident. When police officers interview witnesses to a car accident, they often get different accounts of what happened. Although each person witnessed the same accident, their version, or opinion, of what actually happened varies depending on where they stood, or their point of view.

A fraud is a person who is an imposter, acting like someone he or she is not. We may recognise ourselves as a fraud when we are not in alignment with our deepest values. Because this can be uncomfortable, we can over time convince ourselves that what we’re are doing is right and the truth – without thoughtful attention to the fact that it may not be.

Have you noticed two people talking about a topic that they do not agree on? Embedded in this discussion are emotions and experiences subconsciously brought into the conversation influencing their viewpoints and perspectives. They have difficulty grasping the others point of view because they perceive their opinion as undeniable truth, or fact.

Responding vs Reacting

When we react to a person or event we have taken the focus off them and what they are saying or doing and placed it on our own feelings. Often hurts from the past have been triggered and are driving our response. Imagine you are white water rafting and are constantly being splashed in the face. After a few minutes you’re annoyed, frustrated or even angry. You are in a REACTION - triggered by a lack of control, even though logically you could expect to get wet in a raft heading down rushing water. In this reactive state you might even misplace your annoyance by yelling or snapping at your guide or your fellow rafters. Sound familiar? When faced with a real or imagined threat our rational brain is hijacked by our emotional reactions. When this happens, our complex thinking, creative insight, and long term planning are affected.

Where reacting is automatic and limits possibilities, responding is a choice that creates opportunity and the ability to act with a sense of responsibility and trustworthiness. When we respond, we focus solely on the situation or issue at hand. Unlike reacting we are not hurried, or in the moment, rather we take our time to consider the options, to look consciously at the situation before we reply.

Trust vs Doubt

One of the reasons we doubt is because we believe that for something or someone to be worthwhile or have value they must be perfect. Ancient Greek tragedy had at its centre the ‘agon’ which was the conflict that engaged the protagonist – the main character in the play. Without an antagonist - one that challenges, throws obstacles
up and generally makes life miserable the struggle of the main character was meaningless. What if we choose to see our doubt as the Antagonist? And what if we took on the idea that everything is, in fact, perfect. And the ‘bad’ or negative’ elements are ‘antagonists’ or ‘life lessons’? Taking this a step further, what if we said that all trust comes from self-trust? To trust ourselves we need to know what our beliefs are, our values and our purpose. To lose self-trust is to lose sight of these. When we . are clear about who we are and know it to be right then we implicitly trust what we are doing and where we are heading. The whole world seems to open up and we can see everything more clearly.

Having doubt can sometimes be the first step in creating change. It can also come from our judgments about ourselves or others. If we believe there is a right way to behave, we will be concerned about behaving in the wrong way. If we believe certain things are good, we will be concerned about the bad. We all know those glass half empty people, the ones who are always on the lookout for something to go wrong. For these people doubt can make change of any sort quite confronting. At the end of the day though, it doesn’t really matter whether our doubt stems from pessimism or lack of self-belief. Doubt can be extremely limiting.