What is Integral coaching?

Integral refers to a balanced, whole, multi perspective approach to development.

I explicitly use the Integral model developed by Ken Wilber and then incorporated and adapted for coaching by Integral Coaching Canada.

Here is Ken Wilber’s explanation of Integral:

“The word integral means comprehensive, inclusive, non-marginalising, embracing. Integral approaches to any field attempt to be exactly that: to include as many perspectives, styles, and methodologies as possible within a coherent view of the topic.”

Coaching is taken from the sports coaching analogy. A coach can give feedback and insights and then develop exercises and practices that are uniquely created for the client, so that they can move towards the desired goal or topic.

Coaching differs from therapy in that it mainly focuses on results and outcomes and includes new “doings” that build fresh capacities and capabilities.

Here is Associate Professor and Program Director of both the Integral Psychology and Integral Theory programs at John F. Kennedy Sean Esbjörn-Hargen’s Ph.D. description of the Integral Coaching methodology.

“Integral Coaching Canada (ICC), an Ottawa-based company, has developed an entire school and methodology for professional coaching based on the AQAL model. Over the past 10 years ICC has emerged as one of the premier schools in the world for professional coaching. They have a rigorous methodology that combines embodied perspective taking, presence, and powerful conceptual distinctions.

Coaches use five elements to support their own personal growth and to work with their client’s development. Typically it takes an individual two years to complete the certification process and become an Integral Coach®.

ICC has a strong reputation for demanding a great deal from their coaches-in-training, which includes each trainee committing to an integral life practice that includes meditation, body work, journaling, and reading. They are the only coaching school I am aware of that incorporates developmental psychology (e.g., Robert Kegan’s subject to object theory) as the spine of their methodology. This alone gives ICC a tremendous advantage over other schools because their approach is built on extensive psychological research about how and why humans transform and integrate new capacities. In fact, ICC’s application of the integral framework is one of if not the most sophisticated uses of integral principles in any context or field.”

For a more in depth introduction to Integral theory please go here.