Embodied Coaching and Leadership

Integration Training has pioneered working with the body in UK business environments along with handful of other training providers. I was encouraged then to see two new descriptions of this work online from Ireland and the US recently, both nicely encapsulating our own somatic or embodied coaching and leadership training. See also the video below.

From Lane Kelly Assoiciates

“Constantly challenging and demanding tasks and assignments are fast becoming the norm as we race to protect our organisations. Time to process is scarce. There is little or no time to feel how we feel. The danger is that we lose touch with our ability to be authentic and to protect ourselves.New and demanding experiences trigger common somatic, or physical body, responses. Recall your first public speaking event, performance review or presentation? Recall the excitement, energised anticipation of success and achievement, or perhaps, the turbo-charged butterflies, difficulty in breathing or nervous trembling that undermined your confidence and effectiveness?

These are examples of somatic responses that you learned to deal with and this learning has informed and shaped your performance in similar situations ever since.

The more personally demanding we perceive an experience or assignment to be, the more somatically we experience it. This can result in your developing tensions which distort or limit both your physical and intellectual ranges of behaviours.

This is especially important when it comes to communications. Your message is 50% body language, 43% tone of voice and 7% words. Anything that is upsetting you somatically will surely distort your message.

Radically different, Embodied Coaching ensures you ultimately learn and develop in a self-generative manner. The programme is based on timeless practices of developing mastery and self-generation through conscious awareness and choice. You learn how to avoid the detrimental, unconscious habits we all too often employ in our daily work and lives.”


From Stonewater (US)

“Two Fundamental Leadership Claims

A leader is someone who cares about something enough to ask others to care about it with them, and who effectively partners with others to co-create a new future.

The world needs many more masterful leaders from all walks of life to successfully address the extraordinary challenges we face at this moment in history.

Training a New Second Nature

Unfortunately, having a pretty good idea of what to do is rarely enough to help you actually do things differently.  Much as we might like them to, good ideas don’t always translate into new action.

To become a more masterful leader, what you need to do is actually embody a new way of being – in other words, put what you learn into action again and again until it becomes second nature.  If you’re seeking to take more effective action on behalf of your goals, then you’re going to need to engage your body as well as your mind.

I’m not talking about situps and pushups here – I’m talking about developing an embodied leadership presence that builds trust and gets things done.  This is a presence that you own… that emanates from inside you and touches others deeply without you having to say a thing.

You’ve probably known someone who has that kind of presence: when they walk into a room, people sit up and take notice.  They naturally inspire trust and easily galvanize themselves and others behind worthwhile goals.  That kind of leadership comes from the inside out, and cultivating it requires training your whole self.

The Path To An Embodied Leadership Presence

1. Get clear about where you’re going.

To increase your own and others commitment to take action, you need to be clear about the direction you’re headed and stand behind it with your entire being.  That begins with connecting to what matters to you in a heartfelt, visceral way.

2. Get familiar with what’s standing in your way.

Everyone has habitual ways of being that don’t support where they want to go and who they want to be.  As long as those habits remain outside your awareness, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to choose a different course of action.  Our approach makes blind spots visible in a gentle but undeniable way, opening the doorway to new and more effective choices.

Let’s be clear though: This is NOT about scolding yourself into “better behavior.”  Rather it’s about interrupting and uprooting the patterns that aren’t serving you so there’s room for something new to take hold.

3. Practice new ways of being.

Together we’ll identify new skills and actions that support more of what you care about.  Then you’ll practice them in low-stakes situations until they become second nature, so that when the going gets tough, it’s what comes to you naturally.

The Basis of Embodied Work

This process probably sounds straightforward enough, but most people discover the approach to be unlike anything they’ve tried before.  More than sitting and listening to a lecture, you’ll be up moving around and engaging with others.  Rather than reading about models of leadership, you’ll investigate your own experience.  In addition to exploring that experience in conversation, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in bodywork that can actually change the way you show up in your everyday life.

All of this amounts to a path of personal growth and self-cultivation that goes beyond self-involved navel gazing to focus on how you can be of service in the world.  It’s about stepping further onto the path of your destiny and learning to be as effective as you can so that you can give your best to what you care about most.

The approach is derived substantially from the field of somatics, a mind-body approach to growth, learning, and change that is well-established in the fields of psychology and healthcare and is more recently being applied in domains of leadership.  Influenced by aikido – the martial art of peace – as well as Western psychology, Eastern philosophy, interpersonal neurobiology, and management theory – this approach offers a reliable path to developing a more compelling leadership presence.”