Three Pursuits of Coaching

Here is the BIG Vision of our Coaching Philosophy

A quick story…

The Three Pursuits Venn Diagram depicts our philosophy of coaching

Click on image for larger view

At the 2008 ICF Conference I attended several live coaching demonstrations. Overall the Conference was very good. The theme of coaching and social responsibility was compelling and well-timed. The coaching demo’s however, in my opinion, were just OK and left me wondering: what was missing?

Now, I always give LOTS of credit to anyone who coaches in public. It is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. There is always this little tug of war between where you want to go in the conversation and what might be too personal to reveal before a couple hundred new friends.

At the same time, what occurred to me was that the dynamic between support and challenge was WAAAYYYY off.

In this case there was TONS of support and almost NO challenge. While it feels nice at the time, it often leaves the player feeling a little empty. (and the observers too!)

The important thing is this… support and challenge is dynamic. This means that in the pursuit of greatness the player needs both support and challenge from their Coach. And the Coach has to read the players’ situation – what the universe and their game is providing them – recognize the dynamic and then provide was is missing or most needed in the moment.

In the demo, the player was really comfortable in their situation so the Coach needed to provide challenge. The Coach did not provide this and this is why the session went flat.
While walking back to the hotel my mind started flowing with a model to explain what coaching is all about and the key dynamics that can make a coaching session AND relationship so powerful. The diagram you see at the top of the page is what I came up with.

The Diagram

The Venn diagram has three components:
A) The 3 Pursuits (eg. Human Greatness)
B) The Key Dynamic for each pursuit (eg. support / challenge)
C) The 3 by products of these pursuits (eg. Mastery)

1) The Pursuit of Human Greatness
The Dynamic of Support / Challenge

This is the primary pursuit of coaching and where all coaching begins: with the desire to do something – or as I would say: “Play your game better, and win on your own terms”.

Most people who hire a Coach begin with an achievement in mind. This is a great place to start AND greatness is more than achievement, it also includes mastery.

Another way of describing this is the distinction between what your player is doing and who your player is becoming. Greatness requires both doing and becoming.

The essential dynamic is support and challenge. Human greatness is only arises in the face of challenges. AND challenges are only overcome with lots of support.

The biggest job of a Coach is to keep your player tuned into the Human Spirit of Play within them.  When you are in “play mode” you seek challenges because they make the game fun AND help you become a better player.

As I mentioned in the story, the Coach must constantly monitor the players situation to know when to support and when to challenge and this can change from one to the other over time OR right in the middle of a session.

Human greatness is such a beautiful and moving thing to behold. Life is sweet. And as more people have a Coach in their life inspiring them in the pursuit of greatness – it will be even sweeter.

As you learn more about our program you will see that we have a method for the pursuit of Human Greatness. It is called: the Play Two Win Method TM

2) The Pursuit of Inner Freedom
The Dynamic of In and Out of the Comfort Zone

The state of “Inner Freedom” is the Holy Grail of playing and Coaching; the place of fluidity and grace where the desired results occur as the natural byproduct of full self- expression. You are resourceful, resilient and responding to the moment. Ahhhh.

In any challenging and worthwhile game these moments happen once in a while and they are made precious by lots of other moments of where the flow is blocked and there is the experience of “Inner Resistance”.  If we were in the flow all the time it wouldn’t be so sweet when it happens anymore!

A simple formula: Skill X Flow = Results

An essential purpose of Coaching is to help your player experience Inner Freedom more often. We do this by providing them with awareness to notice when they experience Inner Resistance and the tools to get them back into the flow – RATHER THAN the typical approach which is to “Power Through”.

The thing that is flowing is energy in the form of thoughts, feelings and actions. Flow happens when your thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned on a clear intention and there are no resistance,blocks or leaks.

The essential dynamic is In and Out of the Comfort Zone.
When you are IN the comfort zone you feel at ease and fully capable – However it can get boring.
When you are OUT of your comfort zone you feel uncertain – However you are growing

As a Coach you help your player stay right on the edge of the comfort zone.  Challenging them to step outside of it to take on bigger challenges and then helping them reach ease in the bigger game by EXPANDING their comfort zone.  Rather than what we typically do on our own which is to try new things and then quickly fall BACK to where we are comfortable.

The experience of flow is such a delight that all of the moments when it is NOT flowing pale in comparison. We cherish those moments and then we keep playing so that we can experience it again and again.

We have a method for the pursuit of Inner Freedom (or Flow): we call it the Inner Freedom Method TM

3) The Pursuit of Personal Evolution
Reflect and Adapt to the 9 Environments of You

Personal evolution is the “Big Picture” pursuit of the coaching industry. Our ultimate purpose as a community is to forward humanity one person at a time. It is a extremely compelling and passion sparking notion. This is what Thomas – the Coaching Industry and CoachVille Founder – was playing for every day in everything he created..

This pursuit speaks to the interconnectedness of all things. We know that humans are both adapting to the world around them AND creating the world around them as a reflection of who they are. As a Coach we help our players find their place in the world. Then we help them design there place in the world so that the environment pulls them toward the vision of who they wish to become.

Other ways of describing this pursuit are:
conscious evolution and transformation.

The key dynamic is the interplay between our adaptive and reflective relationship with our Environments.
The Adaptive relationship – we are constantly adapting to the world around us – ESPECIALLY AT AN UNCONSCIOUS LEVEL!
The Reflective relationship – over time the world around you becomes a reflection of you you are – MOSTLY BASED ON YOUR UNCONSCIOUS CHOICES about the people, places and things that you place all around you.

One of our coaching mantras is: the Environment ALWAYS wins
(so its best to have it on your team!) As a Coach you help your player become highly aware of the obvious truth: What we can do sustainably is a function of our environments AND who we become is a function of the way we adapt to environments. With this truth as a backdrop they begin to notice that everything around them matters.

We have a method for designing a winning environment : We call it the World Power Method (TM).

The key is to recognize the difference between:
Willpower – where you overcome your environment
World Power – where your environment pulls you forward

4) Mastery
When you combine the pursuit of human greatness with the pursuit of Inner Freedom you get the experience of Mastery. A Coach is always aware of helping the player become more masterful with the skills and strategies of the game

5) Awareness
When you combine the pursuit of Inner Freedom through energy awareness with the pursuit of personal evolution through environmental awareness what you get is expanded awareness. The more you are aware of, the better you will play in any game.

6) Sustainability
When you combine the pursuit of human greatness with the pursuit of personal evolution you get sustainability; where the player stays connected to the world and continues to play at a high level.


When you set out to become a Coach, you sign on to support people in the pursuit of the things that matter most to them. Along the way you help them become the person they have always wanted to become. It takes dedication and courage to Coach, and the rewards are truly priceless.