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  • Part 4: Evolving as a Coach
  • Masterful Coaching: Exploring Conflicting Intentions  

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Sunday, December 7, 2003  

Part 4: Evolving as a Coach

Have you ever wondered why your most cherished goals, projects and desires don’t happen?  Or even more so, why you (and I) so easily settle for less than what we truly desire?   

Throughout this Today’s Coach series, we’ve been exploring the evolution of a coach.  We’ve identified that Masterful Coaches work with clients in three stages:  revealing the hidden truth, recognizing the conflicting intention, and resolving the core dynamic. 

In our last installment of the series, we delved into the importance of handling the truth versus working around the truth.  Big goals often cause big problems.  Exploring these problems is what often unleashes the hidden truth clients avoid addressing. 

But once you’ve identified a hidden truth in your client, where do you go from there?  How does this hidden truth reveal a conflicting intention preventing the client from moving forward?  Read on as we discuss the impact conflicting intentions have on our lives and how Masterful Coaches work with them. 

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Masterful Coaching:  Exploring Conflicting Intentions 

“Well you know it's fear, or maybe I’m lazy
I just don’t want to work that hard.
In the middle of this crazy world
I’m just hoping I’ll show up and be heard”.

- Wah, “Show Up and Be Heard” -  from the album “Opium” 

Helping another person to identify, clarify and achieve their desires in life – helping them “show up and be heard” as Wah put it - is truly a profound calling.  To be effective, we must explore the real issues of life in a deep and meaningful way – simple tips and techniques will not do.  This is because our clients’ most cherished desires often carry with them the seeds of inner conflict.  

“The difference between what we do, and what we are capable of doing,
would solve most of the world’s problems.” 

- Mahatma Gandhi 

The potential impact we can have by mastering the skill of exploring the real issues in life is huge.  As Gandhi said, if we can help others do what they are capable of doing, we can change the world. 

When our clients’ true intentions in life don’t happen the way they want, we could simply chalk it up to laziness.  Another explanation is that the actions required caused too much fear.  Either way, we’d move on to something else.  But that is not what Masterful coaches are all about.  We don’t want to give up that easily--that’s why we coach! 

Remember the example we gave earlier in the series about a client who had the opportunity to create a lucrative strategic alliance, but couldn’t push herself to make the phone call?  She was experiencing an inner conflict.  But what could possibly be at conflict with such a clear, strong and compelling desire?   How do we identify it?  And most importantly, how do we resolve it? 

At this point, the beginner coach would begin to get frustrated by a client like this.  We would wonder to ourselves, “Why won’t she make the call?”  The “solution” would be to put in an accountability structure i.e. have the client promise to make the call and then call the coach to report on the result.  The coach “motivates” the client by creating a situation where not calling – and looking bad as a result - has more fear associated with it than making the call.  The client will presumably go for the option that involves less fear.  This technique does often work the first time, but is  unsustainable because it doesn’t address the cause of the problem. 

Intentions are Energy 

Through physics, we understand that everything is made up of energy, including our thoughts, beliefs, actions, intentions, and circumstances.  You are probably familiar with the Law of Attraction, which explains that each of us is like a giant magnet, attracting situations that are energetically compatible with what we put out into the world.  If you take the appropriate action when the situations occur, your desires tend to come into reality. 

However, if you have concurrent intentions that are at conflict, what tends to happen is . . . NOTHING! 

 “Emotionally healthy, well-functioning individuals carry out their intentions unless there is a dynamic that conflicts with the stated desire.”

- From the CoachVille Absence of You program

Examples of Common Conflicting Intentions 

  • Intention to avoid the feeling of being rejected
  • Intention to avoid situations where the outcome can not be  controlled
  • Intention to avoid anything that would jeopardize acceptance by  parents, siblings, spouse, co-workers, community or friends

So when things don’t happen naturally, or when we won’t take obvious productive action, there is almost always an unseen or unspoken intention that has more energy than our desire.  That is the essence of a conflicting intention.  The energy of our negative intention (fear) clashes with the energy of our positive intention (desire) and neutralizes, or cancels out, the intention. 

What’s the result?  Self-sabatoge, status quo, more of the same—more new year’s resolutions that get recycled and dragged around year after year. 

Conflicting intentions are insidious.  They often live just under the surface of realization, wreaking havoc on our most passionate wants and desires.  Awareness of conflicting intentions takes the mystery out of coaching.  If something doesn’t happen, you can be sure that there is a conflicting intention somewhere. 

Inner Conflicts Are Caused By Conditioning 

 “Even if I told you what I’ve found and what I’ve learned  
it would all be wasted in the wind.  
Each one has a silent understanding  
Born through witness of events first hand”  

- Wah, “Show up and be heard” from the album “Opium” (visit  

I love this verse from “Show Up and Be Heard”.  It perfectly describes the problem with beginner coaching.  Until you deal with the “silent understanding”, nothing you say will make a lasting difference.  The “silent understanding” is the conditioned thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that we accumulate during our lifetime.  They become our default way of operating.  They significantly limit the number of options we have available to us in any moment.  

Conditioning occurs from childhood events, disappointments, experiences, and challenges;  some happen to us and others we merely witness.  Society and our family of origin often condition us and normalize us in countless ways.  “Don’t speak ‘till you’re spoken to.”  “Who do you think you are?”  “Don’t get too big for your britches!”, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”, “If you don’t clean your room I won’t love you anymore”.  

With our earlier example of the woman with the strategic alliance opportunity, her conflicting intention turned out to be her belief that the opportunity would cause her to grow and expand to a point where she would no longer be accepted by her family.  She couldn’t face the possible risk of losing her connection to them even though she knew it was holding her back.  She had been conditioned to play a smaller game so she would never have to deal with these fears, but of course the masterful coach “caused” her a BIG problem by bringing this truth to the surface!  

What Can a Masterful Coach Do To Help?  

This situation reveals several Core Dynamics of Common Problemssm  For one, the client’s need for validation from her family is known as “looking for yourself where you are not”.  Another, the fear of the feeling of rejection is called “resisting feeling things fully”.  The Core Dynamics comprise the language of conflicting intentions, and the coaching practices that resolve each one are based on profound but accessible spiritual awareness.  They are the gateway, or entry point, in helping your clients actually get what they want.  

We believe that this is the future of coaching, and next week, we will introduce the Core Dynamics to you, beginning with an exploration of Resisting Feeling Things Fully.