Coaching

Supplemental Material for the Book, The 2Selfs Revolution: The Necessary Transformation to Resurrect the Greatness of the West

This article presents a standalone example of the value of 2Selfs Theory in a specific application. It also provides a supplement to the book, The 2Selfs Revolution: The Necessary Transformation to Resurrect the Greatness of the West.

 

If you arrived here after having read (or while reading) the 2Selfs Revolution book and are looking for supplemental information, or if you have read an article at this website and have already seen the introduction to 2Selfs Theory, please go directly to the article.

 

If you arrived here looking for specific information and possibly to see whether you want to read the 2Selfs Revolution book, please read the following brief contextual introduction to 2Selfs Theory so you can make better sense of this article.

Brief Introduction to 2Selfs Theory

 

A basic assumption in the 2Selfs Revolution book and articles at this website is that we operate in two distinct modes (a thinking mode and an automatic mode) but that we have only been directly managing one of them. Furthermore, the West has now reached a mega-juncture where we will inevitably continue to atrophy as a great culture if we do not quickly learn to explicitly manage our automatic mode (which 2Selfs Theory models as our auto-self) just as effectively as we have now long explicitly managed our thinking mode (which 2Selfs Theory models as our thinking-self), which gives two "selfs" (or 2Selfs for short and emphasis). The 2Selfs Revolution book explains 2Selfs Theory that provides a robust model of the automatic mode of the human mind, which will finally empower us to conquer (understand and manage) our auto-self. Also, the Overview article provides great insights into many aspects of 2Selfs Theory and is designed in such a way so as to construct a contextual framework (2Selfs Worldview) within the auto-self of readers, which provides the contextual foundation to understand automatic human activities.

 

Our Two “Selfs”

Thinking-Self

Our intentions

Auto-Self

Our robot within

One of the advances of 2Selfs Theory is to identify four distinct types of auto-self activities and then to model how each type operates behind the scenes. 

Four Types Auto-Self Activities

Auto-Behaviors

Auto-Skills

Auto-Contexts

Auto-Expertise

All four auto-self types contribute to our successes and well-being, but this article and the 2Selfs Revolution book focus on auto-behaviors and auto-contexts because our previous inability to understand and manage them is playing a decisive role in the West’s current demise from greatness. Fortuitously, conquering our auto-behaviors and auto-context also provides the breakthrough we need to restore greatness to so many of our social systems and make crucial improvements to some areas of personal responsibilities – to resurrect the greatness of the West.

 

Auto-Behaviors: These are automatic behaviors (habits) we compulsively exhibit or actions we uncontrollably fail to take in a timely manner.

  • Many professions already manage auto-behaviors including psychotherapists and transformation coaches.

  • Comfort Imperative: A major advance with 2Selfs Theory is in identifying the Comfort Imperative, which causes us to seek pleasure but more importantly to escape discomfort at any cost to our future successes and well-being.

    • Unfair Fights: When thinking-self intentions engage in battles with auto-self drives, an unfair fight ensues because the auto-self overwhelms the thinking-self over any extended period.

    • Evasion Gimmicks: We automatically take actions to escape discomfort, so we all have a suite of evasion gimmicks (see the 2Selfs Revolution book for a list) we use to enable us to ameliorate our discomfort while pretending we are not undermining our successes; the next topic is an example.

    • Simplistic Solutions: When discomfort exceeds people’s tolerance level, the Comfort Imperative causes them to succumb to seduction traps often in the form of simplistic solutions that satisfy the desire for successes without producing the successes desired.

  

Auto-Contexts: These are hidden assumptions and beliefs, which serve as contextual frameworks that appear in many forms and control the way we view and understand the world about us and how we go about solving problems.

  • You likely already have some idea about auto-contexts in the form of “paradigms,” “worldviews,” or “mental models.”

  • This is the area of the biggest breakthroughs of 2Selfs Theory because it models auto-contexts way beyond anything that has previously existed.

  • Our failure to understand and manage auto-contexts is the reason for much of our under-performing in business and is a major source of the breakdown of our Western political systems we are currently experiencing.

  • Auto-contexts are responsible for problem-solving foundations, certainty illusions, innovation deathtraps (culture lock), a second form of constructed “truth,” and the supraevolution process, which are outlined below; among other properties, auto-contests also create the power of political branding and values maintenance, all of which the 2Selfs Revolution book explains.

    • Problem-Solving Worldview Foundations: Worldviews are a form of auto-contexts that provide the foundation that determines (enables or blocks) our ability to understand whole classes of problems and to solve problems effectively within each class.

    • Certainty Illusions: These are a side effect of auto-contexts that make us certain we are correct even when we may be dysfunctionally wrong. Sometimes certainty illusions are constructed wrong initially and other times they start out providing helpful certainty but the environment changes making them dysfunctional, and we don’t notice the difference. This is a main mechanism responsible for innovation deathtraps.

    • Innovation Deathtraps: The auto-behavior-based Comfort Imperative blocks culture change because it makes the process very uncomfortable. However, businesses and other organizations normally do not even get to that point because the auto-context-based certainty illusion creates a level of confidence, often based on prior successes, that the current path of a company is certainly correct even long after the changed environment has rendered it dysfunctional.

    • Constructed “Truths”: When we consider an assertion to be “true,” we intuitively assume that it corresponds to something “out there” (i.e., outside of our mind). This is the correspondence verification form of truth that we verify through thinking-self activities such as science, formal logic, and examining historical documents. However, a second, certainty construction form of “truth” provides an overwhelming experience of “truth” that is independent of any correspondence with the world out there (i.e., outside of our internal mental states) and is often opposed to known facts (which we refer to as certainty delusions).

    • Supraevolution: “Supra” is a prefix meaning “above,” “over,” or “beyond the limits of, outside of.” Therefore, supraevolution refers to an evolution layer above our biological evolution. It creates the (auto-context-based) worldview foundation for problem solving and values maintenance among many other fundamental properties. The Science/Enlightenment Revolution was the West’s last overarching supraevolutionary ascent. We are now in just the second top-level supraevolutionary descent of the West, which the 2Selfs Revolution book identifies as the Manipulation Devolution. The only visible way to reverse this supraevolutionary descent and resurrect the greatness of the West is to launch a new supraevolutionary ascent – the 2Selfs Revolution.

  • Auto-contexts automatically emerge through repeated thoughts accompanied by strong feelings.

  • 2Selfs Worldview, which provides the contextual framework (problem-solving foundation) to understand auto-self activities, will automatically emerge through repeated successful use of 2Selfs Theory.

  

Auto-Skills: We execute these rapid, automatic activities without thinking-self understanding or involvement.

  • Includes sports, music, language, nonverbal communications, image processing (shapes, locations, motions), and public speaking skills.

  • Many professions already help people with these including sports coaches and music teachers.

  

Auto-Expertise: We exhibit this when we see solutions to problems holistically without going through a long analysis process.

  • Also known as “intuition,” “gut,” “insight,” and “acumen.”

  • Automatically and imperceptibly emerges after many successful thinking-self-managed solutions to similar problems.

  • Not contributing to West’s mega-descent. More work can create additional opportunities.

 

You will learn in the comprehensive material (2Selfs Revolution book; Overview article) that the 2Selfs Revolution (which will take us to 2Selfs Age) is the alternative to the Manipulation Age into which we are currently descending.

 

We now transition from a general introduction of 2Selfs Theory to an example of how 2Selfs Theory empowers us to understand and manage a specific auto-self topic in a more powerful and useful way than was possible before the advent of this robust, general model of the automatic mode of the human mind.

 

So You Want to Be a Coach or Hire a Coach?

 

With the advent of 2Selfs Theory, we now have a new empowering ability to distinguish between three common types of coaching based on whether they focus primarily on the thinking-self, auto-behaviors, auto-contexts, or some combination of these.

 

Types of Coaching—Caveat Emptor

  

We will ignore sports coaching here, which is a distinct form of coaching based on auto-skills refinement through practice with feedback, because sports coaching does not confuse people. However, the following is a map of three widely differing types of coaching, and coaches often present their services in ways that do not enable potential clients (and evidence indicates many of the coaches themselves) to understand the fundamental nature of what they provide.

 

Life Coaches (often thinking-self centric with indirect focus on auto-self issues)

  • + Entry-Level Life Coaches

    • Often have received little or no formal training or attained a “certificate” from an on-line course—typically use seat-of-the-pants processes

    • Many training programs are based on mysticism, such as “Certified Advanced Crystal Healing Practitioner Diploma” or coaching based on “mental energy waves.” Any benefits accrued from “mystical” coaching practices would be primarily due to the placebo effect, which may make some people feel better as placebo pills do, but will not provide reliable mechanisms to transform deeply embedded, counterproductive execution (doing) habits or business cultures.

    • Some attempt to change habits without adequate processes to make that happen reliably

    • Slightly better than self-help (provides motivation to engage and encouragement to continue)

  • ++ Advanced Life Coaches

    • Counseling, psychotherapy light

    • Have received more than minimal training

    • Credential from an accredited training organization

 

Business Advisory Coaches (thinking-self centric)

  • ++ Entry-Level Advisory Coaches

    • Inadequate successful high-level business experience

    • Often someone who got laid off and hung up a “Coach” placard

    • Some attempt to change habits without adequate processes to make that happen reliably

  • +++ Advanced Advisory Coaches

    • Solid training from accredited process

    • Most have useful business experience

    • VMS (Venture Mentoring Services, a program originated by MIT and licensed to others) operates here. I am a long-term mentor for the CED (Council for Entrepreneurial Development) version in Durham, NC, where we select mentors for deep business experience and minimally train them for consistent methodology to provide pro bono mentoring for new ventures.

  • ++++ Expert Advisory Coaches

    • Experts with extensive domain-specific knowledge and experience

    • These service providers usually present themselves as consultants rather than coaches (or mentors)

    • Master advisory coaches require and deserve significant investments for their services

 

  Transformation Coaches (auto-self centric)

  • ++ Entry-Level Transformation Coaches

    • Typically focus on habit change (individuals)

    • Often have good intentions but lack sufficient understanding of automatic human activities, insufficient training, or having experienced a formal transformation themselves

    • Slightly better than self-help (provides motivation to engage and encouragement to continue)

  • +++ Advanced Transformation Coaches

    • Some coaches focus on habit change (individuals)

    • Some coaches focus on culture change (group – company strategy, mission, values, products, services)

    • Have considerable training and some insights into automatic human activities

    • Often trained by an ICF (International Coach Federation) accredited coach-training organization or company. These groups vary widely in capabilities, and the coaching industry would benefit greatly from explicitly recognizing the distinctions between thinking-self and auto-self interventions and understanding some of the properties of the auto-self (more generally, automatic human activities) for transformation coaching.

  • ++++ Master Transformation Coaches

    • Can create habit change (individuals) through direct auto-behavior reconstructions and also through auto-context reconstructions that transform dysfunctional attitudes

    • Can create culture change (group – company strategy, mission, values; products)

    • Can create transformability; e.g., accountability, robust performance reviews, candid dialog (group – transform common deficiencies)

    • Understand details of automatic human activities

    • Have acquired extensive training and have successfully coached many clients through auto-self reconstructions

    • Have undergone transformation coaching

    • Can manage own discomfort (when deliberately inducing discomfort in client and when encountering vigorous push-back from client)

    • Require domain experience to add some advisory coaching

    • Like master advisory coaches, master transformation coaches require and deserve significant investments for their services

 

Focus of the Rest this Article is on Master Transformation Coaching

  

2Selfs Theory, with its explicit distinction between thinking-self and auto-self activities, creates a new, powerful tool to understand the difference between three types of coaching as outlined above. Furthermore, 2Selfs Theory models so many aspects of our automatic mode that it provides a new root-cause foundation for understanding and creating reliable transformation coaching processes at the levels of individual habit (i.e., individual auto-behavior) transformation, culture (i.e., shared auto-context or worldview) change, and transformability (shared auto-self “soft success factors” characteristics). The following material gives a 2Selfs Theory view of the transformation coaching process.

 

If You Want To Hire a Transformation Coach, Probe For the Following Assets

  

  • What formal training and experience does the coach have?

  • What does the coach understand about automatic human activities?

  • What formal theory of transformation change does the coach use?

  • Has the coach successfully undergone transformation coaching?

  • Is the coach able to persistently guide you through uncomfortable changes?

  • Can the coach withstand possibly vigorous pushback?

  • What level of domain (business leadership in most cases) experience does the coach have?

 

Round-Robin Transformation-Coach Training

 

Round-robin coaching is a powerful technique that we can use in many ways. It is a particularly effective way to train new coaches. It is also a very effective way to produce transformative changes of the leaders in a company while creating managers who have transformation coaching abilities.

 

With round-robin coaching, everyone in the program both coaches another participant and receives coaching from a different participant. There is powerful synergy between providing transformation coaching for somebody else and receiving coaching yourself. Coaching sessions receive monitoring and guidance from an expert coach through a process I call “shadow coaching.” I have used this process with excellent results while training new transformation coaches. The shadow coaching starts with every session and then tapers off as new coaches get better at the process.

 

I describe here an expansive process for coaching individuals in a company to maximize execution (i.e., consistently executing needed actions and doing so without negatively impacting those around you). In today’s turbulent world of escalating global competition and relentless technology-driven increases in complexity and rates of change, we should start considering it organizational negligence to begin people on a “boss” track and fail to provide them the tools they need to succeed. Unfortunately, this is currently the norm. Leaders and their companies will not achieve reliable, repeated successes in the future by continuing to operate the way they have in the past. This includes raising the level of “execution” or “doing” of leaders in a business. Accordingly, every new “boss” should participate in a static self-awareness (multi-rater or 360°) survey and then undergo transformation coaching to align the inevitable auto-behavior characteristics that don’t match the needs of the new leadership role. The best way to do that is to batch together a set of new managers (and managers who just received a significant promotion or switched to a different activity, plus selected high-level individual contributors) and have them coach each other in a round-robin coaching program. That is, each new manager will coach another new manager and will receive coaching from a different manager. That way, all managers experience internally what it feels like to have an auto-behavior characteristic reconstructed, which greatly improves their ability to coach somebody else through that process. An additional benefit of round-robin coaching is that when coaching and receiving coaching, you will very likely encounter auto-behavior deficiencies in the person you are learning to coach that you suddenly recognize you also have yourself. Then you should try to muster the courage to tell your coach (i.e., declare a new behavior intention) and have her/him coach you through reconstructing that counterproductive auto-behavior, while you simultaneously coach your client through the same auto-self issue – very empowering. When I train coaches, I always perform shadow coaching. Since most coaching takes place over the phone, I periodically listen to the coaching session. Unless a breakdown occurs, I normally do not interject myself into the coaching session except when invited by the coach, but I then conduct an offline debrief after the session to go over any errors or missed opportunities. As I gradually reduce shadow coaching, I rely on coach and client summaries of progress. Round-robin coaching works well for high-level individual contributors and leaders below the C-suite. Top management would usually do well to rely on master transformation coaches.

 

What Profile Makes the Best Transformation Coaches?

 

Because I trained coaches to use 2Selfs transformation techniques, I gained experience with the best background profile of successful transformation coaches in the business environment. When I first started training transformation coaches more than a decade and a half ago (long after I successfully transformed many business leaders), I assumed that training psychotherapists in transformation techniques for business people would provide an excellent transition because they were already knowledgeable in many aspects of the mind and had engaged in a form of auto-self transformation. However, I found that they struggled when they coached business leaders. They lacked shared experiences, so they could not adequately relate to a leader’s situation. In one dramatic example, a psychotherapist/coach called me multiple times in a panic because the leader he was coaching would ask him how he should behave in a certain situation, and this coach was clueless. In spite of considerable effort on my part, we finally mutually agreed that I should substitute another coach for this engagement. Subsequently, he and other psychotherapists I trained in 2Selfs transformation techniques eventually gave up and went back to their psychotherapy practices. Another drawback with using psychotherapists in a transformation-coaching environment is that we use counteracting processes that instill both pleasure (through virtual rewards) and discomfort (through virtual penalties), and deliberately instilling discomfort is typically not a process conducive to providing psychotherapy to someone who already suffers from considerable psychological distress. Psychotherapists I worked with had too much relearning to go through before they could coach business leaders effectively in addition to lacking shared experiences. So, what background was most conducive to becoming an effective transformation coach? It turned out that prior familiarity with mental processes was not an indicator of success as a transformation coach. I could train new coaches in 2Selfs Theory and transformation techniques and then enable them to gain experience by shadow coaching them. The background that proved most valuable was the ability to understand and relate to the environment in which the coaching client operated. So, people with extensive prior business experience and particularly some experience as a leader, and service providers who had worked with business leaders in a thinking-self-centered consulting (or advisory-coaching) role turned into the best transformation coaches.

 

Foundation of Transformation Theory and Processes

 

We are now able to transcend the insightful but ultimately only metaphorical (i.e., we can point to them but not understand them well) concept to “soft” success factors to realize that they really refer to success factors that the auto-self controls. We refer to the other class of success factors as “hard” not because they are difficult but because they are solid in the sense that we have understood them explicitly and managed them more effectively since they are thinking-self based. The 2Selfs Revolution book (and the Overview article) explains that empirical processes developed to understand and manage such “soft” success factors as culture change, execution, tacit knowledge, and leadership have created many great insights and useful processes but no root-cause theories. The many helpful empirical theories and improvement processes can be even better if based on a robust theory of the mind that includes the many ways our automatic mode affects our successes. The same situation holds for transformation coaching where empirical theories can provide (and have provided) very good results but even greater and more-reliable outcomes are possible when using a root-cause foundation for the transformation coaching process. 2Selfs Theory provides such a root-cause theoretical foundation for both “soft” (i.e., auto-self-based) success factors and for transformation (i.e., auto-self-based) coaching. Among many other advantages, the distinction between thinking-self and auto-self activities now enables us to understand why we differentiate between management and leadership. We have long understood and improved “management” quite well because that is a thinking-self activity, whereas we have struggled to describe and improve “leadership” at the same level because that is primarily an auto-self activity. Therefore, it follows that if service providers want to conduct effective leadership development or leadership coaching, they better have a deep understanding of automatic human activities and have potent processes to transform them.

 

Some 2Selfs Theory Properties that Empower Transformation Coaching

 

2Selfs Theory empowers us to understand many details of the automatic mode of human activities. I outline below some auto-self properties that have a significant impact on business performance and that when understood provide mechanisms to transform individuals and cultures. The 2Selfs Revolution book explains these further and identifies additional auto-self properties that impact successes.

  • The Comfort Imperative (the overwhelming need to escape discomfort leads to seduction traps, often in the form of simplistic solutions)

  • Unfair fights (why self-help normally does not work because auto-self drives [imperatives!] eventually overwhelm thinking-self intentions)

  • Counteracting principle (create feelings to counteract auto-self drives – virtual conditioning is a specific example) – mechanisms to overcome unfair fights

  • Auto-self can interrupt the thinking-self (we use this to notice auto-self activities – dynamic self-awareness)

  • Auto-self detection of internal or external events can move progressively closer to events (enables aborting undesired behaviors first when exhibiting them and later before they occur)

  • Evasion Gimmicks (in order to escape discomfort, we all have a suite of evasion gimmicks that create short-term comfort, or avoid short-term discomfort, at the expense of long-term success)

  • Certainty illusions (the main source of the innovation deathtrap – causes business leaders to believe deeply that the business culture that fueled previous successes remains valid in spite of massive changes in the business environment)

 

Six-Step Auto-Behavior Transformation Process

 

Processes that successful transformation coaches employ may use different terminology, but they must include these steps to be effective:

 

  1. Establish static self-awareness

    • Recognize dysfunctional auto-behavior characteristics

    • Conduct multi-rater (also called 360°) assessments – excellent instruments are available online; structured interviews also work effectively

    • Overcome normal client denial and often anger at results because we do not naturally notice our own auto-self activities, but those around us notice them, often painfully

  2. Create anchors

    • Create Grand Goals (purpose/motivation; should exceed what client believes is possible with current capabilities)

    • Declare new behavior intentions (anchors for virtual conditioning, reconstructions)

  3. Create dynamic self-awareness of undesired behaviors

    • Notice an undesired auto-behavior event as it occurs

    • Guide client through this tricky process because our thinking-self (where our noticing occurs) does not naturally notice

  4. Extinguish Undesired Auto-Behavior (of commission or omission)

    • Utilize counteracting principle

    • Use virtual conditioning (the 2Selfs Revolution book explains this process)

    • Apply virtual penalties

  5. Construct Desired/Substitute Behavior

    • Enact (substitute) uncomfortable new behavior

    • Apply virtual rewards to make new behavior comfortable

  6. Stay with process until enduring results achieved

    • Repeat Steps 3 to 5 until transformation sticks

    • Stay calm, polite, and tenacious when faced with vigorous and even angry pushback (often requires coaching of coach)

    • Devote enough time to establish enduring results; typically takes a year with twice-a-week coaching (I have found that once a month face-to-face with the rest on the phone works effectively)

 

An Example of Challenges the Transformation Coach Faces

 

A few years ago when I was training a group of transformation coaches, the following enlightening episode occurred that I logged at the time. I was training the coaches using a round-robin process where each new coach was providing coaching to one person and receiving coaching from a different person. Each participant selected Grand Goals and declared some intentions for auto-behavior transformations. As often occurs, most participants selected a health goal along with their business-related goals. Sharon declared as one of her Grand Goals that she was going to lose a specific amount of weight during the coaching process. We created a spreadsheet for her that graphed her intention for her weight over time. As we always do, we did not allow her intention to consist of losing weight. Rather, her intention was to gain healthy habits, which required her to adopt certain exercise and eating actions to keep her actual weight below her intention line. I have found this process works very well because when a participant reaches the target weight, the line simply becomes horizontal but the intention remains to exhibit auto-behaviors that enable staying below it. Jack was Sharon’s coach. As I always do when I train new coaches, I listened in on some of Jack’s sessions with Sharon, using my shadow-coaching process. 

 

After the customary pleasantries to reestablish rapport, here is what happened during one particular session. Jack asked Sharon to disclose what was in her log. Sharon listed some business-related events associated with her declared behavior intentions and then mentioned that she had eaten poorly and gave Jack the explanation that her schedule was all messed up and therefore she was not able to cook as she would have liked. It was also in Sharon’s log that she had lost 16 pounds, was comfortably below her target weight, and then suffered a setback and regained 6 pounds, which put her over her weight target for that day. When Jack challenged her explanation as to why she had eaten poorly, Sharon got annoyed. She then explained that Jack did not understand how much work it is to plan, shop, prepare, and clean up from a good meal. Jack did not contest her assertion. He pointed out that her explanations for her poor eating habits was not tracking and sounded like excuses (a common evasion gimmick) rather than reasons. She got annoyed even more. “Why are you picking on one small item from my log?” Jack responded very courteously that he had a responsibility to her to focus on areas where she failed to enact her behavior intentions. Sharon then started getting angry. Jack politely reminded her that he was obligated to engage her even if it was uncomfortable. She even said, aggressively, that she knew very well everything Jack was talking about and she did not understand why he was insulting her by pointing out the obvious. Jack countered that if she had it under such great control why had she put on 6 pounds when her intention was to behave in a way that kept her below her target weight, which she had now, for the first time, gone over. Sharon finally disconnected from her angry responses and became dynamically self-aware of her current auto-self-driven behavior. She said, “I now feel that I am outside of this discussion observing it.” And, she was. She had entered a sustained state of dynamic self-awareness where her thinking-self was now observing her own (auto-self-driven, discomfort-based) reactions to the situation and Jack’s relentless pursuit of her dodging the violation of her intention. She said she knew he was doing what he was supposed to (thinking-self understanding) but she still was annoyed and uncomfortable (auto-self response) and wanted him to stop right then. Jack then told her that she would understand and appreciate later what he was doing, and she responded that she already did, but she still did not like it. Sharon noted the difficult position of being aware of the benefit of what Jack was doing in the coaching session and still being annoyed and wanting him to stop.

 

The above example illustrates some of the challenges of transformation coaching and why self-help and entry-level transformation coaching normally fail. Sharon was experiencing discomfort and she was struggling for a way to escape it. She tried the evasion gimmick of offering a reason and Jack stripped that away by pointing out she was providing an excuse. This is a good insight into why efforts to reconstruct an auto-behavior characteristic normally fail due to the unfair fight. When the process becomes uncomfortable, self-helpers just segue to an evasion gimmick and then pretend they are not failing to meet their own behavior commitments. Evasion gimmicks create Pyrrhic victories – we win the immediate battle against transformational-change discomfort but we lose the war for longer-term success. When Sharon’s evasion gimmick didn’t work, she tried to intimidate her coach into leaving her alone instead of holding her accountable to enact the behaviors that she committed to with an explicit intention. Jack performed very well as a coach in this session. It takes practice and the ability to withstand the discomfort of strong pushback to reach the point where you can patiently and empathetically, but also tenaciously, hold your client accountable for meeting their declared behavior intentions.

 

The narrative above provides good insight into how difficult it is to provide effective transformation coaching. Transformation coaches need to understand many details of automatic human activities and have solid processes for reconstructing errant auto-behaviors. Additionally, they need to have the ability (or must receive coaching to construct the ability) to be able to instill discomfort in the client to break the old habit and then to withstand uncomfortable feedback, which can become very aggressive. Now that we understand a great deal about how automatic human activities operate, it becomes obvious that auto-behavior (as well as auto-context) reconstructions usually create significant discomfort during the process. Therefore, effective transformation coaches must learn how to handle their own discomfort of deliberately guiding their clients through substantial discomfort and then calmly (at least outwardly) deal with the “gratitude” in the form of attacks. I have endured much more aggressive pushback than Jack experienced with Sharon including having clients scream at me and cuss me out; I even had one fire me as his coach on the spot. By the way, the CEO who fired me re-engaged me the next day and then we spent the next session discussing what had happened, which we needed to do because one of his intentions for behavior change was to overcome his anger outbursts, and he could not fail to log this event.

 

Culture Change – Annual Culture Reconstruction Retreats

 

Reconstructing deeply embedded, auto-context-based cultures is one of the many capabilities that separate novice transformation coaches from highly effective ones. Master transformation coaches engaged with a business don’t just have the ability to transform auto-behaviors of leaders; they also know how to transform cultures to avoid the ubiquitous innovation deathtrap.

 

Now I will give you recipe for my “secret sauce” of how to create the birth of new profit streams based on disruptive innovations. We need a potent mechanism to escape innovation deathtraps caused by our natural inability to reconstruct cultures. Instead of a normal annual pro forma strategy formation exercise, often driven by a staff person, that produces a wonderful binder that goes on bookshelves to gather dust for the next year, you can use the annual gathering of top management to make a crucial, perhaps life and death for your company, difference. The real value of an annual strategic planning retreat does not come from identifying incremental improvements; each operating unit and functional area is capable of doing that (which is a thinking-self activity within the current auto-self-based culture foundation) on their own. An annual retreat of top management can serve an enormously useful function if it focuses on searching out revolutionary innovative ideas and product concepts within the company and using (auto-self-oriented) transformation processes to ensure that the company turns the best ones into new profit streams. Most companies fail to recognize that transformational change is the best purpose of a strategy planning retreat, and if they do recognize that, they fail to execute it effectively. Accordingly, identifying these annual gatherings as Annual Culture Reconstruction Retreats can focus on the most empowering purpose.

 

The first barrier to driving innovative concepts through the process of making them new profit streams in established companies is the moat that surrounds the fortress of the status quo in the form of the (auto-context-based) certainty illusion. That barrier creates such (eventually false) confidence that the company is on the correct path because it created previous successes that people rarely have any interest in trying to cross it. If a company somehow builds a bridge over the normally impenetrable certainty-illusion moat, they then run smack into a giant gate that seems impassable in the form of the (auto-behavior driven) unfair fight associated with encountering the Comfort Imperative when attempting to reconstruct a key element of the company culture. This is where we need theory-based processes because most people believe (since they do not understand or even explicitly recognize the existence of two distinct, massively different, modes of human activities; i.e., the auto-self and the thinking-self), at least implicitly, that this is a thinking-self activity. However, you now understand that the Comfort Imperative is involved, which leads to an unfair fight that normally causes inculcating discontinuous (product, service, process) innovations to fail. To reconstruct the culture (shared auto-contexts) to enable the successful launching of innovative new products, we need to employ the counteracting principle, just as we do when we need to reconstruct auto-behaviors. As with auto-behavior transformation activities, coaches (whether internal or external) cannot systematically guide companies to reconstruct cultures using seat-of-the-pants methods, so companies will require the guidance of a master transformation coach for reliable successes

 

Transformability

Creating transformable individuals and businesses is a third type of auto-self transformation that businesses will need to succeed in the future. That is, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution crashing over us, the already mind-boggling magnitudes and rates of changes in the business environment will continue to accelerate. Prof. Phil Rosenzweig destroyed the concept of “sustainable” success as represented by a sequence of highly publicized and enthusiastically embraced “best practices” books. You can see a 2Selfs Theory analysis of his insightful book, The Halo Effect: . . . and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers, here. With accelerating turbulence in the business environment, we must abandon any concept of “sustainable” success and instead focus on achieving repeated successes that respond to escalating global competition and accelerating technology-driven changes. To do that, individuals, leaders, and whole businesses must become transformable in the sense that they must learn how to manage the many auto-self activities that stand in the way of future successes including executing consistently and changing cultures periodically, as outlined above. However, star leaders in the future must become transformable in still greater ways by learning to become adept at making other forms of timely transformations, including overcoming their discomfort while striving to help others transform their auto-self characteristics, learning to hold others accountable for meeting their commitments, engaging in open candid discussions, and uncovering and managing their own certainty illusions.

 

Transformations beyond Business: Bootstrapping a Prisoner-Rehabilitation Program

 

We are now in a position to address this problem in a way that was not previously possible. To demonstrate the generality of 2Selfs transformation techniques based on root-cause, mental-level 2Selfs Theory, we can apply 2Selfs Theory to a very different area of human activities by extrapolating the business transformation-coaching experience to coaching prisoners through irresponsibility reconstructions to create dramatically lower recidivism (re-offense) rates. I outline here a program on how we can reduce the enormous financial and social costs to societies after crimes occur. We may want to teach vocational abilities so prisoners have a better chance of securing a job when they leave prison. However, prisoners must make some deeper changes to become responsible members of society. The most obvious transformation is to go through systematic auto-behavior reconstructions to enable them to avoid criminal activities in the future. However, I argue that instead of just trying to reconstruct auto-behaviors directly, a better path will often be to reconstruct their irresponsibility worldviews. That is, reconstruct the auto-contexts that control how they experience themselves situated in their communities (similar to what master coaches sometimes to transform performance in the business world). Reconstructing auto-contexts could be sufficient to prevent some prisoners from returning to a life of crime, but in most cases, it will require auto-context and auto-behavior reconstructions.

 

I don’t think we need to rely on psychotherapists in a prisoner-transformation program. Whether coaching for performance in a business environment or coaching for responsibility in a prisoner rehabilitation environment, the transformation coaches don’t need a Ph.D. or any degree in psychology or psychotherapy. Instead, they need specific, narrowly focused, auto-self reconstruction techniques and the ability to relate effectively and have empathy with the plight of the people they coach and the internal turmoil clients experience as they work their way through the responsibilities transformation process. With extensive executive-level business leadership experience, strong theoretical insights into the automatic mode of human activities with 2Selfs Theory, and repeated successful application of 2Selfs transformation techniques to reconstruct habits, cultures, and operational transformability of teams, I am a long-term master transformation coach in the business world. However, our ability to transform coaching clients reliably depends heavily on our own previous experiences, so I would not be an effective master coach in the prisoner rehabilitation arena. Therefore, I think we should train people who have worked closely with prisoners such as parole officers, prison guards, and social workers (and prisoners who have successfully transformed and coached others to transform) to be effective rehabilitation coaches. Transformation coaching takes specific training and practice with supervision (shadow coaching) and experience with the environment of the client, not a formal, extensive education.

 

A prisoner transformation program can get launched by having a master coach train people who have intimate experience with prisoners by shadow coaching them through a round-robin coaching program. That will provide the coaching experience to start the process. These coaches could then teach classes about coaching and then supervise the round-robin coaching of prisoners coaching prisoners. Then the bootstrapping process for personal responsibility reconstructions can expand rapidly because the best of class in both successfully transforming themselves and coaching a fellow prisoner through a successful transformation could obtain a job. These people could start with coaching a few prisoners under close supervision (shadow coaching) and later start running a program, becoming a coaching leader who trains prisoners and provides shadow coaching during round-robin coaching. The cost of such a program would be chump change compared to the savings from reduced incarceration times and greatly reduce costs, both social and financial, of re-offenses.

 

Responsibilities Constructions

 

The transformation coaching activities explained above produce auto-behavior and auto-context reconstructions. However, another form of auto-self transformation exists in the form of auto-behavior and particularly auto-context constructions. Whereas auto-context reconstructions are very difficult and often traumatic (due to the combination of certainty illusions and the Comfort Imperative), auto-context constructions are relatively easy and comfortable. Currently, responsibility construction falls on parents, religious organizations, and interactions with the social environment. After the Science/Enlightenment Revolution that launched the Modern West (that the 2Selfs Revolution book refers to as the Thinking-Self Age), knowledge-based (i.e., thinking-self) education was initially left to parents (if it occurred at all), but the requirements of the first three industrial revolutions forced the West to professionalize and universalize thinking-self education. Now, as we launch the 2Selfs Revolution heading toward not the Auto-Self Age but 2Selfs Age because we will continue to maximize the benefits of our thinking-self plus now add managing our auto-self, we need to professionalize and universalize auto-context constructions including for several types of responsibilities.

 

The 2Selfs Revolution book discusses using pre-college education including primary schools to construct responsibilities in a variety of areas including constructing socially acceptable auto-behaviors and auto-contexts (thus reducing future prisoner populations), avoidance of drug use (addiction), and inoculations against susceptibility to manipulations in many areas. The 2Selfs Revolution book reveals how manipulations have occurred in many areas including in business and now increasingly and tragically of voters, which if unchecked will cause the continuing demise of our much cherished and previously successful Western forms of government.

 

Raising the Bar

 

It may help you understand the need for fundamentally raising the level of effectiveness of transformation coaching to get some insight into the big picture of what is happening in the course of Western problem-solving. Due to the growing divergence in the effectiveness of how we solve problems in the physical world versus the mental world, we have a growing wave of technology-driven problems that are increasingly exceeding our ability to solve effectively. This has (or will shortly have) serious impacts on many of our social systems including our businesses, governing systems, and economies. An additional massive problem that is destroying our governing systems is the rising technology-enabled ability to manipulate voters through such mechanisms as social media, blogs, and nonstop cable TV information including much of disinformation and propaganda. Most of these mechanisms operate at the auto-self level (constructing “branding” auto-contexts), and currently we are not inoculating citizens (read voters) against such manipulations, which has sent the representative forms of government in the West on a downward plunge from which we will not recover unless we learn to understand and explicitly manage the underlying mental mechanisms. As you might expect, since business is one of our major social systems, the disconnect between our technology prowess and our previous inability to manage the human-activities ramifications of these technologies has created an escalating set of problems leading to many business failures, stagnant productivity gains, and the concomitant anemic improvements in standards of living for so many hard-working people. Among the many types of so-called “soft” (that we now can understand depend primarily on the auto-self) success factors are executing needed actions consistently without disrupting others, understanding and managing “tacit” knowledge, creating culture change, and developing effective leadership. If you are interested in understanding these big picture issues, you can find explanations in the 2Selfs Revolution book, of which you can get an overview here.

 

Just as we identified three distinct types of coaching, we can now identify three distinct classes of performance-improvement processes in business. There were the wildly hyped “best practices” books that I addressed above, which primarily provided simplistic solutions to increasingly complex and elusive problems, because many success factors resided in auto-self activities, and the interview and literature-search methodology the authors used could not identify these. This genre of books primarily assuaged the discomfort business leaders were experiencing because they knew they were not solving important problems: however, these books did not help solve those problems. The second class of improvement processes focused on “soft” (i.e., auto-self based) success factors. These efforts provided excellent help in solving the growing number of auto-self-based issues, but they were empirical processes that lacked a root-cause foundation, so as the difficulties of the problems they were addressing grew, they fell increasingly behind. Now the third class of performance-improvement processes has emerged that deals directly and explicitly with the auto-self. 2Selfs Theory can solve many auto-self-based problems directly, but an additional enormous advantage is that it can put a theoretical foundation under the most effective empirical processes to make them even more effective than they currently are. Current expert transformation coaches can have the same advantages (as “soft” success factor empirical theories) of continuing to use their most effective processes and make them even more effective by placing a root-cause, 2Selfs Worldview, foundation under them and adding new 2Selfs transformation techniques.

 

We need to leverage what we now understand about automatic human activities through 2Selfs Theory to elevate how we solve a wide array of mental-world issues including the types of coaching people do and how we go about certifying the different types of coaching and levels of effectiveness for each type. If you decide that the best way to make sure your business can respond to increasing global competition and relentlessly escalating technology-driven complexity and rates of change is to apply transformational coaching to your organization, you better make sure you employ the most effective resources. You saw above a set of criteria for selecting an effective transformation coach and the processes to probe for to maximize your opportunities to make periodic transformations for individual performance, company cultures, and operations processes. Additionally, when you periodically use external coaches to transform fundamental aspects of your organization, you will do well to make sure that the services offered by any coaches you select focus on your specific needs. For larger companies, you will do well to develop transformation coaching capabilities within your organization. You can do that by hiring coaches that already have proven transformation capabilities or you can retain a master coach to train up the appropriate people within your company. Universities and businesses that train transformation coaches need to understand and train about the underlying automatically executed mental processes because the needs for transformational change will overwhelm most current processes to create these reconstructions unless we deal with transformational change at the root-cause, auto-self level. Additionally, organizations that certify coaches and coaching-training activities (including the widely respected International Coaching Federation) would do well to make an explicit identification regarding whether they are certifying training for thinking-self activities, auto-behaviors, or auto-contexts, all of which require distinct processes. Anyone offering transformation coaching and anyone desiring to receive transformation coaching better understand the automatic mode of human activities because that is where transformations occur. While current coach-training organizations use their own specific theories and coaching processes, many of which are quite effective, they will all benefit from explicitly understanding the many nuances and broad scope of automatic human activities. Consequently, they will do well to incorporate a robust theory of automatic human activities to make their current transformation-coaching training even more effective, consistent with our relentlessly escalating needs. 2Selfs Theory is currently the only comprehensive theory of automatic mental process that will satisfy that crucial need. You can learn more about 2Selfs Theory in the 2Selfs Revolution book and you can learn more about that book here. You can also get a comprehensive overview of 2Selfs Theory here.

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