Article by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Mr Shawn Dwyer  ~  

Complete What We Start

Setting goals is one thing, completing them is another. Success often depends more upon persistently staying with a goal than starting. In that way, when things get tough, you persevere and complete what you started.

That’s not easy, yet it is more often than not, the key. How many times do you quit because it’s taking longer than you thought?  It’s harder than you thought?  It is requiring more time, energy, effort, money, etc. than you thought?  It is creating unintended consequences that you didn’t expect?

This speaks about planning

Being able to forecast by thinking things through and anticipating what may be difficult to anticipate. Obvious when you start, you want to complete what you started. If you have set some visionary 2020 goals, they reflect your highest values, especially your being values, then-of course, you want to see them through. You want to complete them and reach your objective. Why start something if you don’t plan to complete it? What would be the value of starting something which you later give up on and not complete it? If it comes to naught, if it dies out due to lack of resources, if it peters out due to factors that you did not plan for- how much time and energy and effort, etc. did you waste?

Let’s now assume you have done an excellent job in setting the goal, you have made sure it fits your values, and that it’s ecological. It deserves to be completed. The challenge with completing what you start is that there are so many factors that can interrupt, slow down, and disrupt the goals that you set.

And further, you cannot even anticipate all of them.

Those that you can anticipate, you can build Plan B and Plan C into your plan. That’s part of risk management. This is the famous Question #14 in the WFO questions, “What could stop you?” Here you consider the many possible things that could go wrong and the problems that could arise. Here you identify what would happen under those conditions.  In that way, you put at risk what is reasonable and appropriate and no more.  In that way, you protect yourself at risking what’s crucial.

What you cannot anticipate, those Black Swam events that can arise which no one considered even possible.  911 was such an event. Until then, terrorists had always hyjacked planes and used them to negotiate for whatever they wanted.  Who would have thought using the plane itself as a bomb? Obviously, we cannot humanly anticipate everything.

Accepting that, what then? What resources will you need to complete what you have started?  Resources -keep your intentionality strong and fresh by renewing your biggest reason why. Then develop an overall flexibility and build an inner sense of “bounce” within you so that whatever happens, you have the inner capability of resilience.  Resilience is the practical expression of being flexible and adaptable, able to keep thinking, learning, and adjusting in the moment.


Resilience means that when you are knocked down or when you suffer a set-back- you land on your feet. What this implies is something truly powerful.  It implies that you do not let a trauma traumatize you. Now, is that possible? Is that just for the super-human or can any man or woman learn that? What makes that possible for anyone, for you and for me, is that whatever event occurs, it is just that-an event. What you do with that event in your mind and emotions is an entirely different thing. 

Here you have choice.

And the choice goes to your thinking. What kind of thinking are you doing about the event? If you use the thinking patterns of childhood, what is called the Cognitive Distortions, you will make yourself miserable. That’s because by those thinking patterns you will make yourself a victim of the event. You will over-generalize it, jump to conclusions, put it in an either-or framework, personalize it, awfulize it, emotionalize it, etc. No wonder you will come out the other end feeling like a victim.

Because the choice always goes to your thinking

When you engage the highest levels of your brain functioning, your executive pre-frontal cortex, and engage in executive thinking, you can refuse to turn the event into a trauma. Ultimately, your experience, your resilience, your ability to stay flexible is a function of the meanings that you give to the event. Oprah did that when she was raped as a child. Frankl did that when he was forced into a Nazi concentration camp. The meanings you give determine the life you live. The meanings you give and the thinking that you engage in determines how you can complete what you start.

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Ego Investment and Coaching

ego investments

When A Coach’s Needs Get In Your Clients Way – Ego

Article by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Mr Shawn Dwyer  ~
It can happen. Your needs, drives, and unfinished issues can get in the way of your client reaching his or her goals or even experiencing an effective coaching session. Unlike many professions where the agent’s congruencies, beliefs, psychological state do not matter, in coaching it matters. In many professions, what the person thinks, feels, and believes is irrelevant because it does not affect her ability to apply her skills and achieve an outcome.

But in coaching, you primarily use yourself to conduct the coaching experience. And because you are the “tool,” the condition of you as the means of transformation is critical. That’s why your emotional drives and needs can get in the way. And because of that, that’s why we work on releasing judgment and getting the ego-investments out of the way as a Meta-Coach. That is also why we repeatedly say that whatever happens in coaching session, it is not about you.

Unfinished Business and Ego

In spite of that, I often hear coaches, even Meta-Coaches, worry about what they would do if this or that happened. “What if the client wants to know personal things about me?” “What if my client rejects me?” “What if a client criticizes me?” Inferentially any of these concerns implies that the coach is making the experience far too much about him or herself. That would be an example of how your unfinished business gets in the way.

One reason for you, as a Meta-Coach, to revisit our Self Leadership training from time to time, is to refresh the foundations of your own personal flow or genius state. After all, if you feel powerless in handling something, or if your self-esteem hinges on your performance or the client’s outcomes, then you are working from a undeveloped self (perhaps a false self) and your need for unconditional self-value is getting in the way.

In the coaching experience, as a coach you need to be fully present to your client and to the situation being described so that you can flexibly think, problem-solve, think creatively, and think critically. But if you have some rigid ego-investments that causes your sense of self to be needy, that will interfere with effective information processing and coaching facilitation.
Your thinking will be shallow and superficial, self-focused, and probably defensive. And when you come from that kind of place you will not be effective.

To coach you really need to get yourself clean and clear.

By clean and clear I’m referring to completing any of the socio-psycho-sexual stages of human development that Piaget, Erickson, and others identified. The person who is stuck at some earlier level of development isn’t clear and therefore will not be able to be cleanly present for their client. While a great many of the NLP and Neuro-Semantic processes in Modules I and II can take care of personal growth and development and internal conflicts, sometimes a person needs either a coach or a therapist to clear out any remnants of unfinished business.

When there are struggles within any of us- it could be as simple as two legitimate frames warring against each other. There could be a frame war in a power struggle for dominance. Or it could be the function of a limiting belief, decision, understanding, identity, etc. And because these of frequently our blind-spots, no wonder we are often the last person to recognize them.

Now your needs, especially your unconscious drives, can get activated while you are coaching. There’s nothing abnormal about that. When that happens, use that awakening as indicating a next level of development for yourself.
Get with your coaching supervisor to understand and address that need or drive. The more you work on you- the more you keep yourself clean and clear as an instrument of facilitating for your clients. You will then be able to more clearly hear your client and support them.
Gain a deeper perspective in your needs by visiting Coaching Essentials

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The Coaching Centre
Competence – The Solution


When it comes to biases— especially the social biases that dominate almost all human societies, competence is the solution. Consider how we have solved the problem of gender bias in The Coaching Centre. There is not a single activity or policy that we have the discriminates against any woman because she is a woman. For example: as a female, she can be a student, assist team member, leader, follower, NLP practitioner, NLP master practitioner, co-trainer, trainer, business associate, a member of the Board … every single position in The Coaching Centre is completely and totally open to any woman. Being female does not privilege her or disadvantage her. Therefore, if she has learned and developed the competency, if she has fulfilled the requirements, it is hers. 

Bias – Not A Distinction

The same can be said for racial bias, sexual bias, ethnic bias, etc. And we have had and continue to have people of all these, and more, persuasions as Leaders, influencers, Coaches, Trainers, on our Leadership Team, etc. If there is any policy that demonstrates or shows any of these biases — point it out to us and we will immediately change it. I know of none. Male or female, straight or gay, white or black or any other color, rich or poor— these are not distinctions that we make. 

However We Do Make Distinctions.

Primarily we discriminate on competency. We provide specific benchmarking skills on some 50+ skills (and hundreds on subskills) so a person can see where they are operating through the levels of competency and where specific behaviours can develop.Can a person do what he or she claims to be able to do? We also discriminate on character. Does the person hold to and live by the principles and values of The Coaching Centre— respect and honour of persons, collaboration, giving credit, holding up the standards and ethics, etc. 

Who Can Do This?

In fact, anyone can learn and inquire into the importance of competence through our developmental programs. And when you do that, what becomes clear is that self-passive reflection alone is beneficial, but not sufficient. To accelerate your leading edge developmentally, you need to be active in your self-inquiry and make sure you have clear input from a developmental coach who can identify your blind spots. If you don’t currently have a certified coach from the Coaching Centre, you’re putting the brakes on your own leading development.

Competence Policy and Process

Beyond competence and character, we have built a regional coaching centre right at the heart of regional NSW (Orange CBD), and we are part of national and international communities, without being part of any bias. Yes a big statement, and we are fully committed. Therefore our policies are quite unique due to taking people to higher levels personally, professionally and ethically. So if you know or experience some policy here at The Coaching Centre that biases (favors) certain people over other people — immediately let us know. We will correct that. 

How are you holding yourself back from your highest potentials? If competence is something you are really interested in, email

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The Basics Give You Depth


~ Article written by Shawn Dwyer and L. Michael Hall PhD ~

During October when when completing metacoach training – I was impressed all over again about the crucial role of the coaching basics. Over and over I found myself emphasizing- listening and supporting, questioning and meta-questioning, state induction and framing and so on. Nor are these the only basics in Meta-Coaching. I found myself reminding people-

“… think representational system, which system is the client offering his information in?”

“What predicates did you just hear from your client?”

“Did you calibrate to the shift of state that your client just experienced? Did you notice the change of breathing, and flushing of the face…?”

The Basics

The basics that are taught in Modules I and II of the Meta-Coaching System are not to be learned about and then forgotten. They are there to learn and then to over-learn so that they become part and parcel of the way you think, the way you perceive, and the way you respond. They are to be deepened by continual use of them. In fact, when you regularly and consistently refresh your knowledge of these basics and over-learn them, you begin to commission them to drop out of conscious awareness so that you have them as unconsciously present all the time.

If that is not the case with you, then you probably have not sufficiently over-learned them. If you have to recall them or if someone recalls them to your awareness, you probably need to go back to the basics and refresh them.


Years ago I found myself in a “beginning level NLP” workshop at a conference. I didn’t know it was for beginners. I entered because of the trainer, I wanted to hear her. She was well known and I had never heard her present. Upon finding out it was for beginners, I immediately felt disappointed and considered leaving. But I didn’t. And I’m really, really glad that I did not. Within the first minutes when she was presenting the most basic information and definitions- I heard something about representational systems that I had never heard or thought of before.

The speaker presented it as if it was obvious and common knowledge.

Meanwhile I was writing furious trying to get it all down! For me it was wonderful- fantastic – worth the whole price of the Conference! And that changed my way of thinking about “beginning level NLP.” It blew out any assumption that “I know it all about the basics.” I realized that not only do I not know it all- but there are depths that I have not even started to
plummet. And, I can learn new things from anyone!

The basics give you depth.

So, go back to them. Read another basic book on NLP every year. Just when you think, “I know all about that” you will find- if you have an open mind and heart that there are many, many things yet to be discovered and that what you may think of as simple has layers of depths.

When you first study NLP, you study the different models.

So what happens when you deepen your knowledge of the basics- you begin to find connections between them. That’s how I happened to discover the redundancy between the Meta-Model, the Sub-Modalities (Meta-Modalities), Meta-Programs, and Meta-States. And that lead to the Four Meta-Domains of NLP.

Therefore next time you are tempted to say or to dismiss something as “It’s just the basic,” do a second take. Remind yourself that it is not “just the basics.” It’s not that simple. It is the foundation upon which the whole edifice of your work is built. And within those basics are depths that can give you insights which are not obvious, yet hidden with those basics are often leverage points of change.

Giving feedback

Recently we concluded a triad of coach, client, and meta-person. I was the person giving feedback and benchmarking. I asked the coach, did you see him look up to his right and then to the left? “Yes, but I did not know what to do with that.” “Okay,” I suggested, “watch this.” “Joe, what were you looking at when you looked up right and then left.”

“I was comparing the two choices.”

“Were you seeing something when you look here (point to his right) and then here (pointing to his left)?”

“Yes, the choices.”

“And what did those choices look like?”

“Lists. There were two lists.”

“Was there writing on them?”


“Were both black-and-white print or any words in color?”

“Oh, the right once was written in color, the left in black-and-white. That’s interesting.”

“Interesting … because …”

“Because when I see something in color, that’s my choice.”

“Is that the case here?”

“Yes … I guess so. I didn’t realize that…”

Ah, so much in the basics. By just exploring a bit about a visual access cue, much deeper insights were probed.

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making it count

~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer ~

While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a business, a career, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can.” Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations

If Meta-Coaching, as a cutting-edge coach training, is to lead the emergent field of coaching-we have to get beyond the lame and wimpy coaching, a style of coaching which is far too common in the field. Far too many coaches today are far too wimpy in the way they coach. What is it that makes coaching lame and wimpy in the first place? How can we tell? The coaching conversation sounds like the kind of chats that go on in pubs and board rooms all over the world. Such chats indulge in whining and complaining, they analyze issues to the point of paralysis, and in the end they change nothing.

To get Meta-Coaches beyond wimpy coaching, conversations count

conversations count. Our aim is to train coaches in how to have fierce conversations that get to the heart of things. I write these as a challenge to invite you to learn how to avoid “safe conversations” with your clients and to aim for bold life-changing conversations. That will give you a distinction you can brand as part and parcel of Meta-Coaching.

How then can we get beyond wimpy coaching?

What elements can make your coaching robust and powerful, life-changing, and facilitative of transformation?

1) Delve deeply into emotions – evoke strong emotions.

2) Make the coaching experiential.

3) Get beyond the worship of “comfort” as an ultimate value.

4) Welcome issues that are tough and pressing.

5) Iterate clarifying questions to delve into what is real for the client.

6) Confront the unreal in the client as you call your client to come out behind him or herself and be real.

Read again the quote at the beginning of this post. It is as profound as it is powerful. And what it suggests for you as a Coach is as challenging as it is disturbing, is it not? “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a business, a career, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can.

What if, just what if

You adopt this premise as one of your basic frames in coaching? Suppose you entered into every coaching conversation with this idea as your governing and dominating frame? This very conversation may very well change the course of this person’s life! Would it make a difference in your coaching approach, attitude, and state? What difference would it make in how you coach?

Crucial Conversations

If you operate from the frame that this conversation may be the crucial conversation that changes the very course of this person’s life, I predict that your coaching will take on a new life, energy, and power. So I predict that you will not have just a mere “chat,” you’ll have a fierce conversation. I predict that you will be more alive to the conversation. More present and that you will really be listening, and questioning at a whole new level.

Leverage for Transformational Change

Conversations count. Therefore I think it would first motivate you to recognize the coaching conversation as a real leverage for transformational change. And that would more fully engage you so that you truly show up and show up more fully to be present to and for your client. And if you are more present, you would listen to truly understand the client on the client’s terms, not yours. So if you did that, your listening would be more sacred- truly holding the place for your client to discover and change, truly listening to understand the person’s heart and intention.

Get used to it

The danger with Coaching as with anything new, vibrant, and exciting is that you can so easily get used to it. And you can get to the place that you take it for granted. Yet when you do that with coaching, when you forget that any coaching conversation may be the very one that changes the very course of life for a client. Then you forget just how sacred and alive the coaching experience is designed to be.

Make every conversation count

Lastly, if you are ready to make each and every coaching conversation count, then imagine that each and every conversation may be the very conversation that will change your client’s course of life. Then as you set that as your frame of mind- come fully into the moment with all the courage and compassion that you can muster. Hence decide that you will be as real, as true, as honest, and as present as you are capable of. Access your coaching genius state so that you can be fully engaged and be nowhere else. Then, holding the crucible space for your client, begin the exploration:

“What is the most transformative thing that we can talk about today that will be a powerful difference in your life?”

Finally do that and your coaching will not be lame or wimpy. And now take this bold step forward and you will begin to be Morpheus offering your client’s the Red Pill to begin the adventure of mastering his or her Matrix.

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Name Calling Shuts Down Healthy Thinking

Name Calling Shuts Down Healthy Thinking

Primitive Thinking that Shuts Thinking Down

All politicians all do it. At least, I can’t think of a single politician who doesn’t do it. Yet in name-calling, they are actually practicing a very primitive form of thinking. Rather it is one that is appropriate for a seven-year old or maybe a 13-year old, but not for an adult. Actually, it is a form of pseudo-thinking that shuts down healthy thinking.

Now there’s a particular kind of name-calling that Donald Trump does. I never liked it, yet it was often funny, and sometimes incredibly entertaining. And what would you expect from a successful TV entertainer and producer (The Apprentice) or from a successful business man who knows how to establish a brand (the Trump Brand)? Mostly during the campaign, he gave names to his opponents, names that typically stuck: lying Ted, crooked Hillary, Pocahontas, etc. This simple kind of name-calling strikes me as what young children do, sometimes for play, sometimes to torment other children. And it also stops thinking. Hence once you label someone in that way, the conversation is over.

Name Calling With Judgment- A Fact Or Only Fiction

A more insidious form of name-calling is making a judgment about someone and then presenting that judgment as if it was a fact. As a result this is what many of the Democrats do in response to Trump. They make a judgment that he is unfit to be president or is mentally deranged or something else and then they use those terms to describe him. While it is also name-calling, it is more hidden. Once they describe him with their judgment terms they do not own that it is their judgment. They try to sneak it in as a fact.

Descriptive and Evaluative Information

Much as this form of name-calling confuses two levels of information- descriptive and evaluative. Yet when a person cannot make this distinction, that person can never be a professional communicator. Also you can find that statement over and over in the early NLP literature and it was made to introduce the importance of sorting out what is sensory-based (see, hear, feel, etc.) as a description. A description that is empirical versus those that are evaluative based. The first set of descriptions use the sensory predicates.
The second set use the Meta-Model distinctions that are ill-formed– unspecified nouns and verbs, nominalizations, lost performatives, universal quantifiers, etc.

Descriptive Language Predicates

Descriptive language can be immediately tested because it is empirical and available to your eyes and ears. Evaluative language cannot be seen or heard. And it is an evaluation by someone using some values, criteria, and standards. So when you use evaluative language, you are engaged in a high-level and subtle form of name-calling. “You are rude.” “She is very gracious.” “He is hateful.” “She is a racist.” “They are blind to their prejudices.”

And all of that is just name-calling. Hence it is using and imposing evaluative judgments on someone. All that it accomplishes is to prejudice people against someone that the person doesn’t like. To the question as to why someone thinks, say, or does what they do, this is the answer. Consequently it gives people an answer and thereby enables them to stop thinking. It fallaciously “explains” the person’s actions that they dislike. So this kind of name-calling offers a false answer that shuts down further inquiry.

Name-calling confuses map with territory.

The word (as a map) is then assumed to be the real thing (the territory). It is as if the word is the reality. In addition, the strange thing about this is that if the person reacts to this name-calling by vehemently reacting- that very reaction then encourages more name-calling. Whilst the reactiveness fuels the person doing the name-calling because it works in that if it galls the person, upsets him, and “gets” him.

So it is stereotypical thinking that feeds name-calling. We make a judgment about someone based on a stereotype about some classification assuming that “everybody in the class is essentially the same.” Furthermore, that stops any fresh thinking that considers the person based on his or her uniqueness. Malcolm Gladwell spoke of this in his book, Blink (2005) by quoting psychologist Keith Payne:

“When we make a split-second decision, we are really vulnerable to being guided by our stereotypes and prejudices, even ones we may not necessarily endorse or believe. (P. 223)

Reframing Effects

Therefore this map-territory confusion can seem “magical.” Because we don’t question the name calling, we take it as real. It is a negative form of reframing.
While reframing puts a positive spin and meaning on what we would normally find challenging, name-calling puts a negative spin and meaning on what we might otherwise value. In this way, name-calling creates dis-value as it attempts to set a negative anchor.

Finally, the next time you hear name-calling, whether it is overtly in the way Trump does it or more covertly as others do it- remember it is designed to stop thinking and to make robust inquisitive thinking in short supply.

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