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

In One Way, And One Way Only, Can We All Be Considered Equal

We are equal in terms of human value. Now that statement is an assertion of a belief or a premise. Legally in the United States we use that premise as an assertion for treating each other as equals in the eyes of the law. “All men (which includes women) are created equal…” Religiously or spiritually, this is a belief premise in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam given that the Bible says, “we are made in the image and likeness of God.” Therefore we can say that in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of faith, we are all equal.

Then Equality Ends.

In every other way, we are not equal. Rather than being equal, we are all different in multiple ways. Biologically, we are different in our genetic wiring and capacities and that leads to being different in innate abilities and talents which then leads to differences in the skills and competencies we have developed. We are also different due to growing up in different homes, with different parents, different environments, etc. So while we are all the “same” in that we are human and share a very similar neurology, we all differ mentally, emotionally, verbally, and behaviorally. Thereafter, we are all equal and unequal; same and different.

Now while what I’ve written here about equality and differences is obvious, surprisingly it is an area of tremendous confusion. There are some who equate equality with being “equal in all aspects” and therefore find the above paragraph about differences offensive. They want to think that we are all equal in our understandings, competencies, abilities, etc. Yet even a superficial observation of the facts reveals that we are not and when we to try to treat all children as equal, we only set them for tremendous disappointment later.

The fact of differences leads to another important sociological fact

When people get together to cooperate in doing something, in achieving something together, hierarchies of competence emerge. The reason for this is that not everyone is equally good at everything. Some are better at some things and worse at others. Consequently, when people collaborate on a project, as those best at any given task compete against each other they generate a hierarchy of competence. Those who thrive in math compete, those who thrive in language compete, those who thrive in athletics compete, and so on.

Trying to equalize everyone out in any given area of competence and pretend that all are equally informed, skilled, and/or competent denies the differences reality. In the political realm, Jordan Peterson has been speaking out about the critical role hierarchies of competence play in any society. He says this term from biology is used by biologists to refer to
any social animal group which competes. They inevitably create hierarchies of competence and not “dominance hierarchies.” He aruges that human organizations are sufficiently complex so that dominance by itself is insufficient to create a sustainable hierarchy. Among chimps, for a hierarchy to last over time, the top chimp had to be quite social so he can have companions who help maintain order. Stable chimp groups have friendships among the top ones. That’s because pure or raw power is an unstable basis for a stable hierarchy. In using the idea of a hierarchy of competence, Peterson contrasts it with the idea of equality-ideas which show up as capitalism against socialism and Marxism.

Within Any Area Of Competence In Society

It is smart to identify those who are competent and especially the most competent, and to reward them. After all, isn’t that what you want when you are looking for someone to do something? If you need a plumber, you want someone who is competent in plumbing. If you need a mechanic for your car, you want someone who knows what they are doing and has the competence to do it.

An effective society (or community) encourages hierarchies of competence and reward them.

This creates capitalism. If you’re going to be a plumber, be a good one! Find a genuine hierarchy of competent and climb the ladder to its top. Learn everything you can, practice the required skills, and make something of yourself. If you want to be an architect, be the best architect you can be. If a coach, be the best coach. If a trainer, be the best you can be. To all of this Peterson adds two of the predictors of success in Western Societies-intelligence and conscientiousness. Study what you need to study and put in the hard work needed to become fully competent.

Collaboration In Community

Now given all of this, a community of people who collaborate together are both equal and unequal. They are equal in having equal value as human beings. They should all be treated with honor and dignity as persons. They should also be treated as unequal in knowledge and skill. Some are more competent in managing the finances and others are terrible at that. Some are highly competent in running trainings, managing events, and others suck at that. Some are skilled in delivering a training or seminar and others are not sufficiently competent to do that. Therefore everyone’s voice is not of equal value or weight in every decision that arises. Because I do not have knowledge, experience, or skill in architecture, medicine, IT, and thousands of other areas, my voice in those areas cannot and should not carry equal weight to those who do.

These facts naturally lead us to recognize and give more prestige to those who have developed expertise in a given skill. We recognize that they have developed superior understanding and skill so we defer to them when a debate arises. After all, shouldn’t the most informed about a subject provide information as well as an example for us? It is precisely because we are not equal, not the same, that collaboration works as it does to enable all of us to win- to win more than if we worked by ourselves.

Learn more about collaboration and equality from The Coaching Centre contact us today

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To Coach Effectively, You Have To Match And Lead

coach effectively
∼ Co-Written by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Shawn Dwyer ∼

To Coach Effectively, You Have To Match And Lead

As a leader how do you coach effectively and interact with work colleagues and clients?
This article will explain by using coaching skills that we are able to support other people to get what they want in support of their outcome. Can you persuade your clients? Lets discover how some of our coaching strategies work slightly differently to how you might communicate at work now.

One of the key concepts from Milton H. Erickson was the idea of “pace, pace, pace, lead.” I don’t know anyone who stressed the importance of entering into your client’s world more than Erickson to coach effectively. He even went so far as to say that with each new client you have to invent a new theory of human nature. It was his way of saying, “Drop your assumptions about people, release the judgments that you have spent a lifetime developing, start with a beginner’s mind, meet your client with an attitude of know-nothing.” Therefore when you lead, you are in the mode of persuading.

Coach Effectively With The Mode Of Persuading

Start “pacing,” that is, matching your client’s way of being, talking, interacting, thinking, feeling, etc. When you do this, you enter into your client’s mental and emotional space so that you can now begin to understand that person on his or her terms. You meet them at their model of the world. All of this is designed to support the person so he feels safe, listen to the person so she feels heard.

With this base, then you can lead. “The coach can lead?” Yes, of course! In fact, that’s why your client has hired you – they need your facilitation skills in order to achieve what they want. That may involve getting clear,
making a decision, creating a plan, finding and accessing resources, making a change (these are the first five basic coaching conversations). Your job as the professional coach is to lead and guide your client by facilitating what the person wants.

Frequently in the supervision and benchmarking role, I interrupt and ask to the coach, “Are you in charge of this session? Whose leading, you or your client?” Typically I ask this when the coach is “chasing words” and going
round and round in circles and the session is not going anywhere. It’s the coach’s job to make sure that the session is going somewhere. Sometimes when I interrupt, I say to the coach, “Are you not going to lock down the
subject that your client has given you?”

Leaders Lead

• As a coach facilitating a coaching conversation, what does leading mean? It means many things, here are key activities that are involved.
First lead your client to get the subject of the conversation. As amazing as it is, a great many clients will sit in your client chair and not know what they really want. They kind of know. They may think they know. But as the conversation begins, they spin around here and there- they do not know! Your leadership is needed at that point.

• Next, once you identify “the subject,” then lead by facilitating the client to get a clearly defined outcome of that subject. That’s why the well-formed outcome questions gives you a powerful template.
Use it to lead the person to develop an outcome that is well-formed. Do you know those questions by heart? If not, memorize them. Then practice getting through the questions in 12 minutes. Practice over and over completing them in twelve minutes..

• Along the way, your client will frequently respond in such ways as to sabatoge things, not purposefully, but it will happen. Now you have the opportunity to lead your client by confronting those things that are interfering. It could be some incongruencies, excuses, blind spots, playing small, etc. here is another place where your client needs your leadership.


• Another aspect of leading is by summarising where the client is. Strange!? Sometimes clients get so caught up in the conversation and internal thoughts that they lose track of where they are and where they are in the conversation. By summarising and pulling things together for them, you provide an important leading.

• Once you have co-constructed with your client a well-formed outcome and you are at the place of doing various interventions. Each intervention that you suggest or recommend is another place of leading. “In view of you wanting to become the kind of person who does not quit and who does finish what you start, there is a coaching pattern that might be just the thing. Would you be interested in that?” So then, you pace from where the person is and wants and you lead to facilitate her to achieve what she wants.

To Coach Effectively Is Leading

In all of these ways, and many more, as a professional coach, you are in a leadership role and you are paid to lead your client where your client wants to go.. That statement is not absolute, there are times when where a client
wants to go is unhealthy, un-ecological, and even dysfunctional. One of the advanced skills of listening is being able to hear mis-diagnosis and call your client to that awareness.

To be effective as a coach, you have to be persuasive. That leads to a very personal question – How persuasive are you as a coach? How much more persuasive would you like to be?

These leadership skills are learnt through the Self Actualisation Leadership Diploma that is available now with enrolments open until the 1st of July, full course details can be found here Self Actualisation Leadership Diploma

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The Power Matrix

power matrix

THE POWER MATRIX And the Foundation of all Your Skills

How much are you in charge of you? Do you have the power to take charge of your innate powers and of your choices as you move through life? Human beings need power-the power to take control of themselves. The term power literally, and simply, means “the ability to do” something. The word power speaks about both the resources and the ability which is required to do things- to take effective action in the world. So if power literally means, “to do,” then there’s nothing inherently negative about the idea of power even though many have connected negative beliefs to power.

Further and most delightfully, you like every other person in the world, come with four innate powers-four responses that you and only you can make.
Did you know that? One of the challenges in communicating this is that what follows will sound so simple, so obvious, and so non-consequential, that you will be tempted to dismiss it. Are you ready? The four innate powers that you have are the powers to think, to feel, to speak, and to act. Simple, right?

Yes on the surface, yet there’s a depth to this fact that eludes most people. The depth? These four innate powers establish the foundation for all of your skills, and for that matter, all of the skills that are available on Planet Earth. These four powers describe how you are able to turn a talent into an actual competency. There is not a skill in this world that is not made out of the stuff of these four powers. Both the simplest skills that you can learn in a matter of minutes and the most advanced skills that take decades to develop are comprised of these four innate responses. Isn’t that amazing? Given that, what new skills are you planning to develop this year?

The Power Matrix And the Foundation of Your Inner Powers

Further, each one of these responses is a rich and complex response. Your mental responses or powers range from representing ideas, framing, believing, understanding, deciding, identifying, imaging, remembering and that’s a short list. Your emotional powers are just as extensive and speak about your ability to translate thought into somatic experiences- otherwise known as emotions. These are your two private or internal responses- powers that are yours and that no one can take from you. They are yours; you generate them.

Your verbal responses or powers are not just that you can speak, but that you can use words in dozens and dozens of ways to achieve a wide range of outcomes. You can assert, you can ask, you can bless, curse, use words to sell, negotiate, connect, disconnect, hypothesize, etc. Your action responses or powers refer to all of the things that you can physically do as you move, act, gesture, etc. to make real your ideas and outcomes.

Given that each person has these four powers and that is it theirs to develop and to use-and that nobody can take these from you-how could any human act like a victim? How could any person feel powerless, out-of-control, controlled, irresponsible, passive, etc.? The answer is paradoxical. At some level the person has given his powers away by powerfully thinking and emoting and speaking and acting in ways to deny his powers. Every “victim” has exercised his power to give away his power to some trigger. Sometimes being a victim is a very powerful response.

Another reason is that the person probably has failed to recognize and own his powers. That’s why on Day One of APG (Accessing Personal Genius and Self Leadership), the very first pattern that we do is the Power Zone Pattern which is designed to enable a person to begin to recognize her powers and to own them. We first meta-state our everyday states with awareness of the powers. Then we meta-state ownership of that state. And then we often meta-state fallibility to that ownership-of-power state because, contrary to the title of Robin’s book, Unlimited Power, we humans do not have unlimited power. All of our powers are limited, they are fallible, that is, they are “liable to error.”

The Power Matrix And Learned Optimism

When it comes to power, Martin Seligman mapped out a critical distinction many years ago in his studies of learned pessimism and learned optimism. He and his research assistants discovered that they could get all sorts of animals, from frogs to dogs, to learn to be a victim- to learn as it were, “I’m the problem, there’s no hope of change, and it will last forever.”
They set up experimental situation where the thing learned was that “nothing I can do” can make any difference. The pain, the distress, the undesirable environment will not alter no matter what I do. Once learned, then the animal would just lie down and take it.

Later the research team learned that they could change things for these
animals. By dragging the dog off of the electrified grid, the dog could learn “optimism,” that is, “there is something that can change things.” “I can change things.” “I am not a victim.” And what’s even more fascinating is that once the animals had “learned optimism,” they could not be re-taught “learned pessimism.”

This means that once a person learns awareness of her innate powers and that she can always do something, then she makes a meta-level learning. “I am not a victim anymore than I believe I am.” “No one can make me feel anything, whatever I feel is what I generate through my thinking, believing, expecting, etc.”

The Power Matrix also contains all your beliefs (meanings) about what you can and cannot do. Within it are your intentions- what you’re trying to achieve as you take action to do the things you do. Within this matrix also are many other key experiences: self-confidence, self-efficacy, ego-strength, proactivity (taking the initiative), etc.

You are a doer-there’s something within all of us that keeps urging us to be creatively engaged in things- wanting to do our best, wanting to make a difference. This aspect of the self-actualization drive generates our general restlessness and sometimes initiates our dissatisfaction with the way things are. What do you want to achieve? How many things do you want to achieve? How well do you tap into your response-able powers and take the initiative? These questions all relate to the power matrix.

Self Leadership is on next month from 2nd-4th of June in Orange book now
Do you want to learn how to gain more self leadership now, contact The Coaching Centre.
Co-authored by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Licensed NS-NLP Trainer Shawn Dwyer

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Positive Intention

Positive Intention

Every Behaviour Has a Positive Intention

~ Written by Dr.L.Michael Hall

Understanding Positive Intention with the use of basic NLP concepts deal with human nature and are stated in the following forms:

“Every behavior is useful in some context.”

“Every behavior has a positive intention.”

These basic statements about actions and activities provide a new, different, and better way to look at and understand human behaviours. The first statement frame behaviours as attempts to do something that is useful for the person and that in some context are useful. The question would then be, “Where would that behaviour be useful?” Where would raising your voice and yelling be useful? Maybe when a child is out of reach and stepping into the street where a car is speeding by. Where would taking a human life be useful? Perhaps when your and your family is being attacked.

In this reframing, context becomes the issue, rather than the behaviour. The basic concept here is that every action, every behaviour that one can do – as a skill or competency – probably has some use somewhere. The usefulness of the behaviour depends on context. The right or wrong, good or evil, of the behaviour depends on the criteria that you use in a given context. It is right or wrong to what standard? It is good or evil in view of what objective?

This framing facilitates slowing down the judgment (evaluation) process so that we don’t outrightly condemn an action until we know the context. Only then can we apply the standards and criteria to a behavior to determine whether it is effective or ineffective, whether it serves us or those we are with. This is even true of “good” behavior. In some contexts, even good behavior could be bad. It could be bad for the situation and the persons.

Behaviour Is Just Behaviour

From this we can now conclude that behaviour is just behaviour.
Behaviours are just actions (gestures, speech, interactions, etc.) and understandings their value which relate to a context, standards (values), criteria, etc. this also frames behaviours as effects and even symptoms of context and state.
They do not define a person. They are expressions of a person.

The second statement is more controversial. It frames behaviour coming from a positive intention. This does not say that every intention driving the behaviour is positive for those receiving the behaviour. Not at all.
Obviously, that is not so. What it does assert is that people don’t do things for the purpose of being hurtful, stupid, hateful, etc. When they do hurtful, stupid, hateful, etc. behavior, they are trying to do something that’s of a positive intention for them. I say “trying” because often- in spite of the intention- it does not have that effect.

So what does NLP have to do with it?

Consider this NLP concept that “all behaviour has a positive intention”. Now intention here refers to what the person is attempting to do, his purpose, agenda, and reason for doing whatever he is doing. To say that his intention is positive is to say that in taking action, he is trying to make his life better. He is attempting to solve a problem he is confronting in order to meet his needs and feel that he is succeeding.

Now is that true? Can we apply that to a range of human behaviours and check it out? As we do this, we have to remember another basic NLP concept:
People operate from their mental maps about things, not from reality. “The map is not the territory.” What they think is real (their mental map) can be, and often is, very distorted, messed up, and wrong. Then, being cognitively wrong about something- their understanding of what something is, how it works, what they should do, what would solve a problem, etc. can be very fallacious.

Where is the evil?

Putting intention together now with fallible mental maps gives us an explanation of how people’s “positive intentions” can be so wrong and do so much damage. They intend well, but suffering from so many cognitive distortions, cognitive biases, and errors in their thinking- no wonder they do so many stupid, ridiculous, and hurtful things to themselves and others!
They are not “evil” in themselves, but they certainly do “evil” things.

When someone criticizes or undermines another person, the actions may be bad and ugly, but maybe that’s the best choice of behaviour that person has in his mental understanding of what to do. He’s trying to get control back in his life and all he knows to do is hit back, get revenge, or slander the other person’s reputation. When someone cheats, lies, steals, or even kills, perhaps that is the best he can do given his level of learning and level of skills.
And if the person is in a state of desperation, suffering loss of self-respect, suffering the loss of loved ones, suffering the insecurity of being unsafe and unprotected, or suffering the basics of survival (lack of food, shelter, warmth, etc.)- then we really have a problem.

Positive Intention Does Not Validate Bad Behaviour

Behind every behaviour is a positive intention does not validate bad behaviour. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour. If someone’s behaviour is immoral, unethical, or damaging, then we should say so, identify the standards we are using to make that evaluation, and invite the person to correct the behaviour. Doing this means we are separating person and behaviour. It means we are recognizing two levels: the person and the behaviour. They are not the same. You, like me, are more than your behaviour!

Behind every behaviour is a positive intention does not validate, accept, or condone behaviour that is hurtful and ugly. What it does is enable us to approach the person and deal with the person without personalizing the behaviour and seeing them as “just their behaviour.” Paradoxically, by separating person and behaviour, we enable the person to more easily change the behaviour. We can challenge the person to step up and produce higher quality behaviour that more honorably reflects his or her best.

Changing a Behaviour

Behind every behaviour is a positive intention also enables us to coach people to invent and create higher level positive behaviours. This happens all the time in Meta-Coaching. Someone presents a behaviour that they want to change. Rather than shaming them, embarrassing them, or judging them for that behaviour, we embrace it.
A paradox. “Tell me, about that behaviour, what were you trying to do that was of value to you?” Once we get the answer, and it could be a very low-level positive intention, “I was trying to get back at him for what he did to me.” So we ask for the positive intention in that. “That was important? Why?” “Because what he did was not fair, I was trying to make things fair.” “And fairness is important to you? Why?” “Well, because we are all equal, we are all human beings and…”

In Meta-Coaching, we encourage asking the “why is that important?” five to ten times. And often, in the process, it enables the person to begin to create a hierarchy of values that endows life with more meaningfulness.

When you interact with people, seek to discover the positive intent behind the behaviours that you may not like. Assume that it exists (or that the person can create it), and then pursue it in your conversation. The wonder of this approach is that even if it did not exist previously, as you ask about it, you invite that person to begin to create it.

Behaviour Is Just Behaviour, People Are More Than Their Behaviours!

For years I worked with the Department of Corrections here in the State of
Colorado. In working with men who were coming out of the Federal Penitentiary, those who had “a criminal mind,” this approach even worked with them. It offered them hope so that they could separate their “evil”deeds (criminal actions) from themselves as persons. Seeking their positive intention provided them a chance to believe in themselves- that they were not “bad to the bone.” That they were not genetically flawed persons, but they also could think of themselves with dignity and respect. They are more than their behaviours and can learn to do better- much better.
Now how is this an inspiring message for the New Year!

Therefore, if you want to change a behaviour and align to your own higher positive intentions, discuss how to separate ‘person and behaviour’, or simply focus on how we can help you achieve what you want in life, contact The Coaching Centre on 0439194323

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Meta-Modeling As a Coaching Style

– by Michael Hall
everything in NLP came from the Meta-Model ~ Richard Bandler

The problem with Coaching Essentials is that we only devote one day to the Meta-Model of Language in your training. In NLP Practitioner training that usually expands to two or three days. Personally, if I were to train that course again, I would devote even more time to it. Why? Because as Richard Bandler once told me, “everything in NLP came from the Meta-Model.” Did you know that? I was almost at the end of my Master Practitioner training when I heard that and I was absolutely shocked. “How could that be?” I began asking myself.

That question sent me back to the Meta-Model and in studying it and learning it inside-out, I understood how that model serves not only as a communication model, but also the key template for how to model an experience, how to facilitate generative change, and much more. Now if you have not intensely studied the Meta-Model, set that as a personal goal and study it deeply and thoroughly. The question you might have at this point is how. “How can I learn the Meta-Model if it so so essential in Coaching, and especially in Meta-Coaching?” Here’s how.

1) Take each of the linguistic distinctions and their questions and practice it intensely for three or four days.

Think baby steps. One distinction at a time. Then with everything you write, every email, every tweet, every article – meta-model yourself. Then with everything you hear people say or write that fits the linguistic distinction you are working on-turn the statement over and over in your mind and generate questions to make it precise and specific.

If you work with two distinctions each week, then it will take you six weeks to get through the original set of distinctions and ten for the additional distinctions. Ten weeks! Let’s call it three months. In three months you could train yourself for these distinctions so that you have some real expertise in critical thinking, detailing and meta-detailing, getting specific, engaging the Clarity Conversation, and slowing down a coaching conversation and making it a deeper conversation.

2) Once you know all of the linguistic distinctions inside-out, use the logical level template of the Meta-Model that I put in “Communication Magic.”

Don’t attempt this prior to your first three months of deliberate practice.
Once you have that down, then you can begin to delight yourself with distinguishing the levels of the linguistic distinctions. And when you can do that, you can ask what we call at the PCMC level, Torpedo Questions.
These questions go straight for the heart. They take the person very deep into their mental mapping and to where the leverage point for change and renewal will be. Now are you interested?

All Meta-Model distinctions are not equal, some have much more expansive influence than others. But until you get your hands on these linguistic distinctions- and get a felt sense of how they work, where they send a person, how people respond to your questions, you really won’t understand their neuro-linguistic responses.

3) Practicing meta-model coaching with a buddy coach.

After the first three months of practice, then get with a buddy coach and engage in a coaching session, but not for the purpose of coaching as much as for practicing hearing and questioning Meta-Model violations. When a statement is not well-formed and has “violations” -generalizations, distortions, and deletions, then identify what distinction is present and search for the question that will challenge it.

When you do this, make sure you have lots of fun. Make it playful. One of the games that is in Coaching Essentials that I hope you played in the training is to play around and see how many Meta-Model violations you can put in a single sentence. After you create these monster statements that are loaded with violations, then generate a whole series of questions that challenge the statement. Afterwards you can do a post-play review and reflect on which questions were most powerful in terms of facilitating a transformation.

What Will You Get?

If you devote yourself to really learning the Meta-Model in an in-depth way, what will you get from this? First and foremost you will be able to hear your client at a very, very deep level. In a word, you will be able the structure of a client’s experience.

If you are interested in becoming a professional communicator and coach, learning the meta model and to learn the skill and art of communicating effectively in October, contact The Coaching Centre on 0439194323

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Mindfulness and Meta-States

What do we mean by mindfulness? To be mindful is to be present to your current situation, aware, appreciative, and in sensory-awareness. It is to be here-and-now in your awareness. It is to be conscious of what you are experiencing- present, and not lost in thought about some other time and place.
If you ask, ‘Where did these distinctions come from’? The answer is from a combination of Developmental Psychology and Self-Actualisation Psychology.
Developmental Psychology informs us about how we grow and develop over the lifespan. Why is this important and how does it relate to Self Leadership? It’s important because one of the key interference’s that prevent people from unleashing their highest potentials involves how a person can get stuck at various stages of development. For example, people can so easily get stuck when they don’t recognize or claim their innate powers for responding. Or they can get stuck when they don’t value, accept, and appreciate themselves. Or they can get stuck when they don’t know how to enjoy and endow things with joy and pleasure.

Why this training for you?

If you’re ambitious but tired of average or irregular wins on the board. You realise there’s room to improve and you can do and have more, you want consistency to experience real traction in your personal and professional experiences. You want to see better results, have exceptional communication skills, bring the best out of others, lead out well in all areas of your life, be grounded in experience and state, have work life balance, set and maintain your personal and professional boundaries.

Grab your free Mindfulness article here

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