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Black Water

Working with me

Attunement, not attainment

"We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about unnoticed." - Carl Rogers
 

What if nothing is missing?

It is my view that coaching starts with good questions, and my approach to coaching challenges the obsession with self-improvement by asking the question, what if nothing is missing? What if you are completely fine as you are? What change does this make for how you view yourself? What does it inspire you to do now? 

Of course, this doesn't mean that we don't need to improve skills in a particular domain where expertise is required, but it lays a foundation for this skill building that is founded on self-compassion and self-worth, not self-deficiency. 

The hamster wheel of self-improvement

We live in a world that currently worships and demands self-improvement. Self-improvement can be one way of developing skills and self-esteem, however it can also reinforce a sense of self-deficiency and the niggling question that something, despite all our efforts, is missing. 

Self-unfoldment not self-improvement

My coaching practice sits within the paradigm of self-unfoldment, not self-improvement.

 

My approach to the coaching relationship is to develop an attunement with you the client, with this relationship serving as a model for the you to develop your own non-judgmental attunement to your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and emotions.

Mindfulness-for-two

 

I call this a 'mindfulness-for-two' and it is this practice of mindful awareness that enables an attunement to the subtly shifting tides of our intellectual, emotional, somatic and spiritual experience. It has been my personal and professional experience that by slowing down and stepping back, we can begin to notice and then unravel the mental habits that lead to self-sabotage and feelings of 'stuck-ness'.

Self-sabotage and 'stuckness'

 

This self-sabotage or 'stuckness' may have arisen from anywhere and could even be the result of well meaning intentions and aspirations.

 

Perhaps a self-improvement strategy hasn't worked out, or a longed-for career transition has led to an unexpected loss of identity, or there is a pervading sense of dissatisfaction despite being successful.

Rather than trying to force change based on some passing idea of what we think we should be, my developmental approach to coaching works with clients to establish a deeper understanding of the beliefs, principles and values that are relevant to who they are, unfolding change from this new understanding.

Want to know more?

If you are interested in understanding how I work in more detail, this article offers a detailed exposition of my view of change and the philosophy and method that underpins my approach.

Alternatively you can book in a 15 minute call to discuss whether this type of coaching will be beneficial for you.


 

Methods and Influences

 

May include but not limited to

Methods:

Mindfulness (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Internal Family Systems - Parts Work

Eugene Gendlin's Focusing

The Diamond Approach (Presence and Absence)

Reflective Listening (Carl Rogers)

Tracking/Contacting (Steve March)

Feeling/Saying (Steven March)

Adaptive Leadership Framework (AGSM)

The Cynefin framework (Cynefin)

Key Influences:
Cognitive Science

Relevance Realisation (John Vervaeke)

Psychology:

Polyvagal Theory (Stephen Porges)

Practicing Presence (Bonnie Badenoch)

The Enneagram Personality Typology

Dual Process Theory of Cognition (Daniel Kahneman)

Temperament Theory (Thomas and Chess)

Attachment Theory (John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth and Mary Main)

Psychoanalysis:

Karen Horney (Hornevian Groups / Enneatype Stances)

Donald Winnicott (True and False Self)

Somatic Therapy:

Barnaby Barratt (Bodymind Therapy)

Psychiatry and Neuroscience:

Brain Hemisphere Hypothesis (Iain McGilchrist)

Interpersonal Neurobiology (Dan Siegel)

Spirituality:

Zen Buddhism (Geoff Dawson, Charlotte Joko Beck) 

Existentialist / Humanistic Psychotherapy:

Love and Will (Otto Rank)

"Here-and-Now" Experiencing (Irvin Yalom)

Unconditional Positive Regard (Carl Rogers)

The Courage to Create (Rollo May)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is developmental coaching?

To explain what developmental coaching is, it will be helpful to provide an overview of the other two main approaches to coaching. There are three general orientations to coaching:

 

1. Behaviour Change – This is focused on helping clients to eliminate or adjust certain kinds of behaviour and begin to build new behaviours. This kind of coaching is often associated with methods like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other behaviourist informed techniques that leverage aspects of positive and negative reinforcement.  

 

2. Building Competency – This is a skill based approach to coaching which looks to develop and refine specific competencies and skills. An example of this kind of coaching is sales coaching. A sales coach will typically outline certain methods and techniques (SPIN, Challenger) and work with a salesperson to master these approaches. Another example is performance coaching which looks to develop particular ways of self-presentation and influencing skills (posture, voice tone, image).

 

3. Self-Development – Works with clients to help them develop ways of being that enable them to navigate the inherent complexity they face in life. Developmental coaching focuses on helping someone to unfold an understanding of what they find relevant, meaningful, and valuable, which in turn draws out innate capacities of creativity, resourcefulness, and wisdom.

 

Of course, all three of these coaching orientations can lead to outcomes that might be associated with one particular domain. For example, building a skill in public speaking may lead to a behavioural change of being less shy or nervous when giving presentations. Similarly, behaviour change coaching, is often the basis for developing a particular kind of competency. An example being sports coaching, where developing better competency in a tennis serve, requires the behavioural change that improves your stance on the baseline.

 

Developmental coaching as I practice it, typically includes all three of these coaching outcomes. The benefit of taking a developmental approach to coaching means that goals can be worked toward with more flexibility, as a client’s understanding of their values and capacities unfolds.

 

Developmental coaching is an open conversation that acts a bridge to unfolding. Through the practice of unfoldment, I work with clients to help them become aware of motivations, and how these are driving desire for behavioural change and skill development.

We then work together using integrative focuses that include micro-practices, self-assessment, leveraging of resources, defining strategy, leveraging potential and improving results, to develop the goals, behaviours, skills and, most importantly, ways of being that support sustainable change.

 

Developmental coaching is more about who you will BE, not what you will have or do.

 

How does it differ from performance coaching?

 

Performance coaching can be very useful. I benefitted enormously from performance coaching, particularly when it came to self-presentation, at the beginning of my career. Performance coaching can sharpen skills and tactics that can enable a person to do their current role better.

 

What is important to remember about performance coaching is the first half of that word, perform. Often these styles of coaching are about performing a certain act or presenting a certain mask to the world that is valued or required of the position. It doesn’t take into account long-term strategies for key questions relating to purpose, meaning, values or beliefs.

 

Often performance, is part of why someone comes to coaching in the first place. Not necessarily because they haven’t performed, but because they have performed very well and yet feel dissatisfied, disappointed, and stuck.

How does this differ from Career Coaching?

 

Career coaching is a more short-term, tactical approach to solving specific career issues. Typically, a career coach will work with you to outline a specific career goal you want to reach (job title, role function, salary, exit planning) and partner with you to develop your professional brand, self-presentation and, possibly, performance in line with this goal.

 

Developmental coaching and advocacy is a longer-term relationship that supports someone along their journey by bridging both the personal and the professional aspects of their being. Career coaching maybe part of what we eventually work on during our relationship (interview practice, CV review) but it is not the main focus.

 

What is Advocacy?

 

The word advocate is a combination of two Latin words, Ad ‘toward’ and Vocare ‘calling’.

I use the word advocate as I believe it encapsulates a broader approach that complements the term coach.

As a developmental coach and advocate I act as a guide on a person’s journey toward what calls them. This call might be professional, relational, physical, spiritual, creative. It might be patient or demanding, faint or deafening. As an advocate I assist in the development of someone’s way of being so they can respond to the call and work with the challenges that arise from the response. 

 

I do not split my clients into ‘developmental’ clients and ‘advocacy’ clients, but rather use a developmental coaching approach to guide and advocate for my clients along whatever path unfolds for them.

 

I am going through a life transition, how can developmental coaching and advocacy help?

 

As someone that has gone through multiple life transitions (work, fatherhood, purpose) over the last five years, I know how challenging these periods can be. Life transitions can be exciting, wonderful opportunities to focus on what we find relevant and meaningful. However, they can also lead to feelings of fear, frustration, anxiety, and despair. A transitional stage is a period of both growth and loss.

 

Often, once the transition is underway and the excitement of the initial decision to change has faded, there is a confrontation with loss of identity (and competence) associated with a past life. This loss can be magnified by the fact that often we haven’t yet crafted a new, stable identity to fully replace the old one. It is during this dip that working with a coach can be invaluable.

 

I work with people to help them understand their motivations for wanting to change, to work with the resistances to that change and to develop the goals that provide a path to realise that change.

What should I expect?

 

The engagement begins with a free 30-minute discovery call for each of us to learn about one another and decide if this kind of coaching is relevant.

 

If we are both happy to proceed after the initial call, there is a signing of contracts and the organisation of an intake call/meeting.

 

The intake call/meeting is designed to sketch an outline of the presenting issues and how we will work together to unfold those issues and work toward a desired outcome.

 

Following the intake call, we will mutually agree on the number of sessions and the initial length of time for the coaching engagement.

 

If you are looking for more detailed understanding of how I work, including my view of change and the methods I employ, you can read this detailed article.

 

How much do you charge?

 

I charge $250 per hour.

 

Every client is different, so I don't have set packages to choose from. Following the first coaching session (the intake call), we will agree on the number of sessions and their frequency.

 

This form of coaching requires a commitment from both coach and client to be successful and generally I suggest the following structure to begin with:

4 x 60 minute sessions during the first month

2 x 90 minute sessions during month two and three


The first coaching month is crucial in building momentum toward your aspiration, so it is important to meet more regularly during the first month.

Following the three months we can then mutually decide on how we would like to proceed.

 

What is included in your fees?

 

  • Email contact throughout the month. WhatsApp support by request.

  • Establishment of shared developmental container

  • Enneagram Assessment and walk-through

  • Referral Network to other practitioners (Alexander Technique, Somatic Practitioners, Recruiters, Therapists and Psychologists)

  • CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn review, suggestions and templates

 

What are your qualifications?

 

You can view my qualifications here

 

Are you a psychotherapist?

 

No. However I am completing the Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling program at Western Sydney University. This existentialist, humanistic program is based on the work of Carl Rogers, Irvin Yalom, Rollo May, Iain McGilchrist, Dan Siegel, Bonnie Badenoch (and many others). This program is recognised by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and will be completed at the end of 2024.

I intend to use this training to support my clients and work with them in a 'whole person' coaching capacity, not just with their professional or personal selves.

 

What is your professional background?

 

I began my career on the graduate program of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 2011. I moved to London in 2012 and worked for three years recruiting management consultants into investment banks, fund managers and large corporations.

 

After returning to Sydney, I joined the go-to-market team at LinkedIn, working with senior leadership teams to help them leverage LinkedIn’s economic graph. After being asked to join the Managing Director in Hong Kong to help drive growth and improve team culture I worked across Asia, coaching managing directors and marketing leaders on how to leverage LinkedIn’s data and insights.

 

In 2019, after a tumultuous period in Hong Kong, and following an 'opening' experience during meditation, I heard a deafening call that completely transformed my perspective. I ended up leaving Hong Kong to continue my psychology, psychotherapy, and coaching studies in Berlin. During this period, I worked as a freelance career coach for Arielle Executive, whilst volunteering at the MIND Foundation for Psychedelic Science supporting therapist recruitment, researcher interviewers, and content development for fundraising.

 

Upon returning to Sydney during COVID, I returned to LinkedIn whilst continuing my studies, working as an Account Director in their Public Sector team. I was eventually headhunted by the CEO of a workforce intelligence start-up backed by Salesforce Ventures, AirTree and Skip Capital. Following this experience,  and after completing my Graduate Diploma of Psychology at Monash University, I decided to focus full-time on my writing and coaching practice.

 

In addition to lakesforocean, I currently work for Positive Group as an Associate, delivering psycho-educational training and coaching workshops for leadership teams across Asia Pacific. I also work as a volunteer Coach for the Reach Your Potential Program, coaching recently arrived skilled migrants to find local careers in line with their skills.

Let’s Work Together

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