Integral Coaching Canada

I've rarely experienced a 'training' program that so effectively combines rigorous methodology with generous heart. I now have a living compendium of precise, relevant practices.
— Susan Doe
Federal Government Manager
Working with Joanne and Laura has been transformational at many levels of my life. Through their Integral Coaching® training, I have come to understand what “being human” means.
— John Smith
Senior Executive and Professional Coach
Integral Coaching Canada provides what we believe is the most complete and comprehensive coaching program available.
— Ken Wilber
author, A Theory of Everything

Hanging Out Your Shingle

By Joanne Hunt
Another new business opened on Gore Street in Perth. Laura and I walked by it the other day, peeked in the windows, admired the logo, and talked about how much we hoped they do well. We notice new storefronts when they open or avidly read announcements in local newspapers about new businesses coming to town. We wish them well, send a little prayer their way, and get to know something about what they are bringing to the buying public. I don’t know if everyone does this, or just entrepreneurs, but we deeply feel for people opening new businesses. We intimately know the journey of what it takes to step forward and offer something that you hope others will find of value.
It is a vulnerable act to offer something to the world.
A book. A blog. A video. An expertise. A skill. Some wisdom or a service that you hope will be of benefit to someone else. Every one of our graduates feels this vulnerability. Not just when they become certified to practice in the Integral Coaching® world, but even as students as they begin their studies with us. In Module 1 (Associate Certification Module) when they start using the Integral Coaching® method, our coaches are so committed to their new clients, right from the opening conversation – wanting to contribute, make a difference, help build a new skill, alleviate a little suffering in a client’s life. It is a deep commitment to another human being. 
In the classroom, as students start to practice with each other, you can feel the stress and excitement in the room. All the coaches wanting to do well on behalf of their clients. Of course, we want to do well for ourselves too. We want to feel good about what we are bringing forward. But people who come to study with us want so much more. They want to contribute and make a difference in another person’s life or transform entire organizations. 
Why else would you want to take the journey of becoming an Integral Master Coach™, one step after another along this amazingly rich path? Our coaches want to develop and hone a reliable skill that they can offer to make a difference in the real world. 
It takes courage to offer coaching as a service. People often think about the vulnerability of the client and how it takes guts for them to seek support. It takes really wanting something to change in your life to seek the professional support of a skilled coach. There hasn’t been a single client with whom I have worked who didn’t feel a little exposed in our opening session - laying out what matters to them, what they are longing to do, yet don’t yet feel equipped to carry out. 
But the coach is vulnerable too. I have never worked with a client where I too didn’t feel a little nervous driving to that first session or during the few minutes before we were to jump online for the first time. It is a different kind of nervous. It accompanies a deep longing to contribute to another human being and excitement for the journey ahead. No matter how many years I coached, I never lost that initial nervousness, tinged with gratitude and hope. It had nothing to do with my confidence; I knew that I embodied this very powerful Integral Coaching® method. I knew that I had deeply contributed to clients over the years. I had faith in my skills. My clients were nervous about laying out their deep longings for change. I was nervous because I so longed to support them in building the capabilities to do just that. 
The tingle of nervousness always disappeared within seconds of starting to talk together. The methodology had my back and would carry both of us. But this vulnerability is also part of being a coach, not just being a client. You have skin in the game too.
Hanging out your shingle as a coach or chef or craftsperson or consultant takes guts! There are so many unknowns. There is no “methodology” that has your back in the act of building a business. You can read a hundred books on a hundred different ways to launch a business, you can take a course or a workshop, but none of these are you, facing yourself, launching your specific business. There is no one proven method for launching a dream. There isn’t a “business launching” methodology like an Integral Coaching® methodology where you can hang your hat on something that is demonstrably reliable.
And being an embodied coach is different than being an embodied entrepreneur. 
Each entrepreneur is so radically different and so, each person’s way of launching their offering is unlike the person next to them. Like how every client is so different and there is no one way to build a capacity in a person; it depends on each unique person. 
You can have four restaurants on a street, and each will offer a different space, tastes, flavours, service, ambiance, feel. Sure, they’re all restaurants, but some owners pay attention to the precision of every little detail. For others it is a free for all wild experience. All offer food. And the mechanics are similar…eating, I mean. There are glasses for water and forks and knives and spoons, at least here in North America. There are menus and waiters and cooks. So, the backbone is the same in restaurants, but the experience is so different in each one.
The same is true with coaching. The backbone of our Integral Coaching® method is the same, but the coach and the client make each experience non-repeatable by any other pairing. 
The coach who takes the step of hanging out a shingle, hoping people will purchase their services, or the coach who offers coaching inside the organization where they work, or the coach who hangs up a flyer at their community centre or their church…well, it can leave you feeling a little naked, a little exposed, hoping folks will be interested in what you are bringing forward.
So, here is one thing I’ve learned about this world of entrepreneurship…once you know what your backbone offering is (Integral Coaching®, cooking food, providing massage therapy, teaching yoga, creating websites), then you need deeply understand what makes your service “you.” Yes, it is a restaurant and you sell food, but what is your flavour profile, what is the feel of your space? Are you a details person or a let’s see how it goes person? Are you an orderly planner or an emergent explorer? What is it like to eat at your restaurant?
Getting to know all these things will let you get intimate with your voice as an entrepreneur. Your words are your flavours because how you talk about Integral Coaching® will be unique to you. Your food. Your menu. Your chairs. Your website. Your artwork. The sound of your voice. The words you choose. Your embodied entrepreneurship. Your way of greeting someone at your door. 
Integral Coaching® has your back. You can count on it as an embodied ability. Now tell me about your particular restaurant.
Offering yourself to the world takes courage. Whether it goes well or doesn’t go well depends on so many things. We have seen businesses fail on Gore Street that we thought would be successful, and vice versa. Being an entrepreneur or being a ground breaker in a large organization is a mysterious thing. We don’t control all the variables. 
So, get to know the flavours and nuances of the restaurant you are renovating or updating or revisiting or newly launching. We are praying for you over here as we wander down streets, checking for new signs in shop windows, while we also continue to put ourselves vulnerably into the world. 
Like writing this blog just for you. 
© 2019 Joanne Hunt
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