Demystifying Integral Coaching™

Since 2014, the SLSG has been providing Integral Coaching™  services to a growing number of clients. This blog serves to demystify the services we provide and to educate the sport community on some of the exciting ways the SLSG is supporting our clients in their leadership development.

Integral Coaching™ is a rigorous, humanistic heart centered approach to coaching, that supports clients in their personal and professional development. As certified Integral Coaches, we have completed rigorous training that qualifies us to support our clients through one on one, team, or organization-wide initiatives that will help them realize their goals. We do so by asking powerful questions, making linkages, designing practices that inspire self-awareness, and companioning our clients in deeply meaningful interactions. Our capacity to sit with often unexpressed emotions like grief and anger allows our clients to feel seen, heard, supported and cared for. We have witnessed our clients’ growth in profoundly impactful ways and have supported them through some of their darkest moments. As Integral Coaches, our sole purpose is to work with our clients to help them achieve their goals. In so doing, we help them uncover hidden beliefs that often serve as saboteurs, preventing them from moving forward with their objectives. Daily practices that help them build new leadership muscles support their development along with body work practices that speaks to their inner landscape. For some clients, somatic practices include breath work to regulate anxiety levels or strength training to increase confidence. For others, we might recommend tai chi to increase the capacity to be ‘in flow’ or daily dancing to move their body in rhythm with the music. For those looking to incorporate a current body practice differently, we might encourage them to take their daily walks, differently. Rather than at a brisk pace, we might suggest a mindful walk to encourage presence and deeper connection to what is unfolding in the moment. Each coaching program is tailored to the uniqueness of each client, with metaphors bringing their lived experience and longings to life. Developmental objectives are crafted with the client and coaching calls are often done online or in person. In addition, the three Integral Coaches at the SLSG are accredited through the International Coaching Federation as professional coaches. This designation means that we agree to uphold high ethical standards, have passed an exam, pay annual membership dues, and agree to formalized ongoing training.

Here are some of the most common questions we get asked.

What is the benefit of Integral Coaching™ ?

What we appreciate the most as coaches is the incredible rigor of the method itself to support another human being in their personal and professional development. Integral Coaches are taught the method by going through the process ourselves. Put simply, we had to engage in our own personal growth program and feel the effect of being supported by an Integral Coach. Everything that we were taught in our certification program through Integral Coaching™ Canada has an all-in feel to it … we worked our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls. It was a life enriching experience for us.

Integral Coaches don’t assume that anything is wrong with you or that you have a problem to solve. We work with sport administrators, athletes, coaches, and other leaders to focus on one aspect of your development. Our work is complimentary to that of Mental Performance Consultants, therapists or psychologists working to support their clients through other modalities. As with anything, we recognize that some people prefer some methods over others. We appreciate this and when this is known, are gracious in making connections to other service providers who might be better suited to our clients’ needs. It takes a village!

How can Integral Coaching™  be used in sport?

Given that sport itself is familiar with the benefit of coaching on the field of play, it is our belief and experience that Integral Coaching™ can complement and enhance what is currently being offered in sport. Our recent experience with Hockey Canada female coaches was shared here and according to them, the experience was transformational. Sport coaches are taught technical and tactical skills to help athletes develop competencies that overtime, hopefully translate into winning performances. Sport coaches are also educated on the importance of sport science and medicine to build a strong, healthy body over the course of an athlete’s career. In addition, sport coaches are increasingly being trained in social/ emotional learning and the impact that the ‘we’ can have on the ‘I’. We have written about the importance of emotionally intelligent leaders and as Integral Coaches, use a variety of tools to empower greater EQ-I among leaders we support. Sport coaches are responsible for incubating competent, confident, well-adjusted human beings and it is often an arduous, if not impossible task to hold all of this simultaneously, while trying to own the podium. In our conversations with dozens of coaches since 2014, we have offered our support to them, as coaches behind the coaches, to support their own capacity to help others succeed. Check out this blog we wrote on the 5th Dimension of Coaching here.

Why does Integral Coaching™  feel like therapy?

One helpful distinction is that people often seek out therapy when they have a problem to solve or an issue that requires specialized training. The clients we see are often ones that have an unexpressed longing that they feel a coach can help them with. Through our work however, people often tell us that our sessions feel like therapy. Our view is that like therapists, we are trained to listen, really listen to our clients. Our way of listening means that we can ask powerful questions that illicit new awareness and understanding among our clients such as they feel more competent and capable to tackle their problems head on. The other observation is that our society is not hard wired to encourage the kinds of conversations that we create the space for during our sessions. People often leave feeling seen, heard, valued, and appreciated, in part because for an hour, they had someone else’s undivided attention. As Integral Coaches we are trained to know how we can best support our clients and refer people to other care providers when the needs exceed our capabilities.

In what other cool ways are we using Integral Coaching™ ?

Some of the great initiatives that have come from our training include the following:

If you are curious about ways we can support you in your personal and professional growth journeys, please feel free to reach out to Dina at DBL@sportlaw.ca, Lauren at LLB@sportlaw.ca, Stephanie at SMP@sportlaw.ca or Rosanna at RMT@sportlaw.ca.

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