Why Un-Coaching?


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Life coaches are everywhere. I’m one of them. Coaching is a booming business and a vital component to the elevation of our culture’s consciousness. Coaches are experts who come along side of us and help us accomplish our goals and overcome obstacles to success. Coaches are found in every aspect of life from athletics, academics, business, high performance, personal development, health, nutrition and music.

A big shift has occurred with the onset of online life coaching. In the past, an expert truly had to be seasoned, qualified and vetted. While many life-coaches are experts in their field, expertise and qualification is relative. Today, content is king, not diplomas, not pedigree, not years in the field. While those things can add credibility, it’s a buyer be ware world. The success of one coach compared to another usually boils down to a marriage of marketing and content.

Content is where I want to focus.

The information age has allowed life coaching to flourish. As more and more people come online, adopt technology and seek to get ahead, access to content is the gateway to big change. Those who “figure things out on their own” are no threat to the emerging world as they will get left behind by the integration of shared knowledge and the global community that is serving one another. Only fools assume they could become an olympic champion with no coaching, thus the New world knows it needs to exchange with others to become more. The shift from independence to interdependence is a massive jump in consciousness. 

I’m privileged to have had access to the biggest and best coaching programs in the world, and it hasn’t been cheap. If you buy more than a book, you are accessing coaching content. The deeper you go, the more personal and expensive it gets. (More on this in minute). My point is that coaches distill the most vital information which allows people to advance much faster than the traditional frameworks. 

If we combine the distillation of information along with the gold rush of online life coaching businesses, we learn something about content that I hope is helpful to you. While content is king, content is also pretty homogenized across the board. Most of it is the same thing which means you are paying for the 1-2% that is unique. Coaching practices offer practical content and for the masses, that’s as far as it goes. Content is the product for sale. We believe it’s the key to realizing our dreams.

The hidden pitfall only appears after trying coaching and nothing really changes. The wave of life coaches has created a wave of disillusioned people who were sold a pick axe on their way to stake a claim. Coaches make it your fault, not the contents.

The problem is the underlying philosophy of coaching.

Coaching begins by us believing that we can BE more if we can DO more. It’s sold to us as “we can have more if we can do more.”  Our being is presupposed. We get to be validated, liberated, elevated, but only if we have………………. (fill in the blank).

So long as we buy into this false claim, we will invest more and more as we strive to find ourselves. I know this because I spent $250,000 over six years being coached under the framework of a pastor and his church. I believed I just needed to wind it tighter and work harder and it would come. After that I spent several thousands more trying to convince myself I did the right thing. It forced me to ask why it wasn’t working. After accepting failure, everything changed and now looking back, it was all worth it.

Now everything is different. My goals, ambitions and motivations are rightly located and my life flows. It’s not a struggle, its not a climb, it simply is. Everything we think we want is gained by ascending, but what we really want is gained by descending. It’s the paradox of big Truth.

My cost is your gain. This is why I call myself the Un-Coach. Any coach that doesn’t begin the process with your BEING will never be able to alter your DOING. Most coaches are experts in their field and break down the practical details, but become instantly lost as the conversation moves to who we truly are at our core.  To do this, we need to access a totally different plane and few have mastered its content.

Un-coaching is first about deconstruction, not adding activity on top of blindness. True coaching leads us to being, and for most, that is a descent, not an ascent. Only when we know who we are can we even know what we really want. Then we can establish goals for our life, then we can enjoy the success of incrementally growing into conformity them each and every day.

When your therapist, life-coach or pastor fail you, call me for un-coaching.

1- Strange NEW thing

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I grew up in a family that rarely mentioned God. My dad was somewhere between an Atheist and Agnostic and my mom might have attended a Lutheran church as a kid. I’m sure it surprised them when at the age of six I decided to go find God. That quest which began as a solo, 6:00am excursion to a neighbors house has been a lifelong journey down more paths than I can list. The lost boy within me has now grown up but the quest still continues. Burning questions, searching, followed by some form of consummation.

As science explores what might be a “God” gene, I still wonder what activates this quest in some people, and not in others. Most “sheeple” simply join the rank and file of the religion of our culture of origin, each with it’s version of God. For the modern world, science has become our default belief system. Most people just sort of “do their own thing” when it comes to God which I find fascinating. The diversity of experiences means the word God becomes nebulous if not meaningless. Are we left to just skim over the deep water of our lives?

So who or what is God? What more can really be said about this fundamental question that comes to all of us? At our core we all form some type of theology.

Theology and humanity are coextensive. John Calvin said “Without the knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God.”

It’s not enough to ask the question anymore, it’s so tired and played out. Those who have an answer are usually way too certain of their particular recipe. I’ve learned that God is far bigger than our theological categories and frameworks. Zeal for God can sound like an infomercial, and we intuit when we are being sold a religion and NOT God.

No wonder the world steps back. Religion has become the foster house for the homesick. For some it’s Hotel California.

We need a new question.

To find it, we have to get away from our formulas, theories and dogmas. This is harder for the deeply indoctrinated, but try nonetheless. Paul’s approach to the God question is really good. Try and hear this story as though you know nothing of God:

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus (A rocky place outside Athens where philosophers and teachers would gather), said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.  For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.  The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’  Acts 17:22-28

The new question isn’t concerned with what we know, but how we know it.

How am I experiencing this moment?

The question “What is God?” drives us outward and unfortunately backward into a two-story narrative where religion controls the truth claims and makes the power plays.  “Who am I?” gets us closer but religion gets nervous with that one. The new question accesses our present inner awareness to that “something more” which everyone intuits but skims over.

How can we go deeper with the undefinable? The unknowable? Knowledge is great, but it’s not experience. Each expands the other.

Certainly scripture reveals much that we CAN know. But it’s vague about “how” we should know it.  Like many people of faith, I had sequestered the experience of my boyhood awakened heart within the confines of my cognitive “figure-outer.” Head space is NOT the only way to know. The bible beckons us toward something much more intimate than data acquisition.

Is that you? Do you have a lot of information about God but little inner experience? Are we self aware or skimming? Has our ego incubated our inner pharisee who masquerades as our self? Who is God without the external descriptors and frameworks? Who am I without external descriptors and frameworks?  These questions untie our moorings causing us to drift in a sea of experience, anecdote and ambiguity. It’s an anonymous Cloud of unknowing.

This series will explore the framework of Paul to uncover his alternative orthodoxy. The best theology is not solely a cognitive attestation to the ideas of our preferred team, or cultural institutions-that’s religion. Paul points us to a living experience that is echoed and shared by those in history, in scripture, which is seen in and through and beyond everything.

The new question invokes a theology for everyone. It humbles us to learn that the altar of the unknown God is found (in some measure) within us all. It’s ground zero for the discovery of God and the discovery of ourself.