MM #67: A Coaching Technique (Part I)

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2. FEATURE: A Coaching Technique (Part I)

Thomas Leonard (known as ‘the father of coaching’) raved about Tom Stone and actually hired him as his own personal coach before he died. So when Tom Stone approached me with his Core Dynamics technology I was of course interested.

I asked Tom for an article on this powerful stuff, and here it is, structured as an interview. And on a topic I’m personally interested in…


What is Core Dynamics Coaching?

We are pioneering a revolutionary new form of coaching called Core Dynamics Coaching. In Core Dynamics Coach Training we teach some things that are a bit out of the box, that is, different from most conventional coaching approaches. In Core Dynamics Coach Training, we teach coaches how to help clients learn the distinction between Thinking and Knowing.

In order to get this distinction it is necessary to help your client have a new range of experiences that assists them in truly getting the difference between intellectually understanding something vs. knowing things through directly and fully experiencing them.

Makes sense. How would you define conventional coaching?

For example, one of the most common things that people want from coaching is to accomplish something that they have been having difficulty in doing. Whether it is starting a new business, finding the perfect mate, writing a book, buying a house, or deciding to change careers, people are often looking for help in being able to make decisions that are important to them in their lives. Decisions that are going to lead them to the fulfillment of their desires or dreams.

Conventional coaching often involves helping people to clarify what it is that they really want, then helping them to make a plan to get it and then keeping them accountable for accomplishing the goal. This is good but sometimes there is an enormous expenditure of energy on the client’s part to overcome obstacles and “make it happen.”

How is Core Dynamics different?

Is there an even better way? Perhaps there is. If we want to know how to best have something happen in our life, why not take a look at how nature operates and see how the universe makes things happen?

Interestingly enough, one of the primary principles in nature doesn’t have anything to do with setting goals and then making it happen. It is instead a natural phenomenon that physicists call the law of least action. The principle of least action is what is operating throughout nature. It is used to govern the rotation of the planets around the sun and the rotation of the stars around the galaxy. It is what is used when plants synthesis sunlight, water and nutrients into the fibers of the plant itself. It is the principle that insures that everything in nature gets done with the least expenditure of energy, with maximum efficiency.

What would it be like if there were a way to coach people in such a way that they could get aligned with the awesome power of the principle of least action in nature? Well, there is.

Sounds smart. So….how do we align our clients with this power?

Get ready because this is not going to be what you are used to! The principle that you can teach people (and by the way it might be a good idea to get good at this yourself) is… to wait for clarity. What? Wait for clarity? What do you mean by that? Well if you’ll just wait for a moment for clarity, I’ll make it clear. ;-)

We are heavily conditioned to think that the best way to operate in the world is to “just do it.” Action is king. Taking action is thought to be an important ingredient in the process of manifesting your desires. Certainly action is good, but well placed, well timed action is infinitely superior to just taking action out of a feeling of pressure or desperateness or need or longing for a particular result.

We take well timed actions all the time. When you stop at a red traffic light, it’s a well timed action. Running the light might not be so well timed, particularly if other cars are coming where you are crossing. If you think about it, driving is a great example; we have to have quite perfect timing in driving on freeways. Just changing lanes, for example, requires perfect timing if there’s a lot of traffic.

Right. And is there a cost to not having perfect timing?

There certainly is. How often have you seen it in your client’s lives, or your life for that matter, that you get the idea to do something and jump into it impulsively only to have it end in frustration or bitterness. Why is this so common? It’s because people are trying to force the world to bend to their will and the laws of nature don’t tend to cooperate with that. This is because it is violating the law of least action.

Here’s an example. You’re single and you’d like to find a romantic partner. You meet someone and there’s some real juice in the beginning. So you move in together after a few dates (or worse, you decide to get married) only to discover that 6 months into the relationship you are miserable and kicking yourself for making a commitment before you really knew who this person was after all. Ever done that? Most of us have and some keep doing it over and over again.

But isn’t acting quickly a good thing?

Let’s face it; we are conditioned to be impulsive. But impulsivity gets us into trouble just about every time because it is violating a law of nature. “The idea of waiting, though, it seems so counterintuitive,” you might say. Actually, it is counter-conditioning. We are taught that being spontaneous is a good thing. And it very well can be but most people don’t know the distinction between spontaneity and impulsiveness. Spontaneity has a simple naturalness to it. There is no “charge” or pressure to make a decision. It’s just a kind of knowing that something is right for you.

Impulsivity, on the other hand, has an emotional charge to it. “I can’t wait to do this!!!” “It’s going to be great!” Usually there is an element of desperateness in it as in jumping into that relationship with the wrong person just because you wanted to be in a relationship so badly. Or the regret about buying that stock that tanked or the house or car that turned out to be a disaster.

OK! Waiting good. But what does it mean to ‘wait for clarity’?

Align yourself with nature’s principle.

Developing a whole new style of operating, where you consciously choose to align with nature’s principle of least action in your life, involves three things:

  1. Becoming aware of the tendency to make impulsive decisions
  2. Noticing when you are about to decide impulsively and “unplugging” from making that decision or taking that action
  3. Waiting until you have that natural sense of quiet certainty. There is a quality of “of course” that dawns when you become completely clear about it. Often the clarity will also come with understanding of “why” it is a good decision and that now is the time. But it can also be that you simply “know” and you don’t have to explain it or even understand it intellectually, you just know that it is right or not for you in that moment.

by Tom Stone
Founder – Great Life Technologies, LLC

How to use this technology

If this article speaks to you, and you would like a low-cost way to access the Core Dynamics technology, I recommend you pick up Tom’s CD set. Pick up valuable techniques to use on your own life, and with your clients! Get it here.

Action: Wait for Clarity

  1. Can you recall a situation where you rushed in before waiting for clarity? Or one where you waited for clarity and you’re glad you did?
  2. What situation in your life, right now, involves you pushing into action before you feel clear? Where might it be helpful to step back and wait for a little clarity before moving ahead?
  3. Share your answers on the blog!

Next Issue…

In our next issue, Part II, Tom expands on how to wait and the benefits that can come from this simple yet powerful process.


P.S. Got a comment on this article? Add it to the blog.

P.P.S. Any Questions?
And for general comments and feedback, post here.

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12 Responses to “MM #67: A Coaching Technique (Part I)”

  1. Pam Says:

    hi- your timing with tom stone’s work is perfect for me. i’m in the midst of a very long, very difficult ‘waiting for clarity’ but i just know, hard as it is, that i must wait for clarity on this one. as a coach i’ve found these last four years an interesting learning experience, and you’ve just given me a label and logic for what became obvious in a magnified situation.

    for background the problem i face is that my husband is very ill, probably with undiagnosed viral encephslitis, and he is trying to decide whether to keep fighting and when, or if, he should just call it a day. it’s been interesting to see how such a profound choice really makes the idea of waiting for clarity real and wise. especially for one who has certainly made more than her share of impilsive deciaions.

    now that i have explained with clarity it makes iy easier to take forward the lesson learned – and have strength for the wait.

  2. mscoach Says:

    This is a very interesting concept and one I’ve been promoting without really knowing I was on to something. When clients are not clear about what they want and they want to try on new things I ask them to answer some questions about this idea to see if it might be worth their time discovering. I ask them to give it 24 hours of consideration. “But shouldn’t I be doing something, taking action?” they might ask. “yes of course, once you know what action will best serve your life”, I’ll answer.
    I wondered if I was being too soft or letting them off the hook. Thanks to your interview I can view my way of working with some clients as just right.

  3. Mari Smith Says:

    I LOVE Tom Stone’s work – thank you for spotlighting him in your e-zine, David!

    A powerful area of life to use the “Waiting For Clarity” technique is MONEY! We typically make emotional buying decisions (think: retail therapy!).

    So, as and when we find ourselves in a place where we simply must have something, that’s a good time to NOT buy it and wait for the clarity of whether this item really will provide value, meet a need, etc.

    (A great book on this topic is Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.)

    Mari Smith

    Co-Founder, Couples Wealth
    Creator, Attract Love Build Wealth

  4. T.C. Long Says:

    This makes perfect sense! As a counselor, I get the “Why wait?” response quite a bit from people when I recommend that they take a step back and re-gain some objectivity when going through the decision-making process.

    And I’ve been taking my own advice about my own decision to move into the coaching field. People (random people) have been recommending to me over the years to consider coaching for a career path. The most recent came from my brother, which really caught me off guard because I really didn’t think he knew anything about life coaching. So, I’ve been looking into it. And one of my first steps a few weeks back was to join David’s list and learn everything that I could from this site. I made this decision because David’s was the first site that didn’t say, “I’m the best and fastest way to become a coach as long as your willing to pay out the wazoo!” In fact, I was impressed more by David’s neutrality and honesty when talking about the field of coaching. And the man’s got connections!

    With my whole decision to get into the coaching field, I’ve not been rushing into it – on purpose. I have a family to consider and eventually leaving a full-time counseling position to become a life coach is huge. I’m not going to rush into that one. And, as expected, the clarity DID come. I’ve seen that it would be very possible to transition to the coaching field and develop a successful coaching practice. In my case, it won’t happen overnight, and I’m comfortable with that. Very comfortable with it!

    I’m excited about the possibilities! Especially with the turn of events today that will allow me to be able to order the “Coach Start” manual after this weekend. After reading about it (3 or 4 times) and discerning, it’s clear that this is the next right step.

  5. Phil Says:

    I don’t want to sound negative, but I have a real problem with procrastination. At what point does “waiting for clarity” become avoidance, denial and head-in-the-sand-ing?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Boy, this topic – “wait for clarity” hit home! I can explain a situation that occurred last summer, when I decided not to wait for clarity, and it was disasterous! I have, for some time, been trying to figure out what I should do with the rest of my life. I returned to get a college degree late in life. I am a single mom, and raised my daughter, worked 2-3 jobs and put myself through college. My grades were excellent, and I thought I was truly focused. I wanted to be a mediator and help other single moms deal with child support, custody and visitation issues. I graduated with a 4 year degree, and am still working in a clerical capacity because I found out that all law firms want experience . . . and alot of it. I do not have the computer experience required either. After getting rejected from county positions because I am not bilingual, I really felt useless. As I work part time for an attorney (who desparately wants to retire), last summer, I started sending out resumes to every and any job that I thought I might have a shot at. I was hired for an early intervention facility and grabbed at the chance, due to my financial situation. It was disasterous! I was fired within 2 weeks! It was definitely not a fit! I finally groveled back to my old boss, and I’ve been there ever since. I still hate my job and have been desparate to find another job. I, once again, am searching, only to be looking at the same type of jobs that I’ve hated for years! This e-mail came just in the nick of time! I now have to step back, learn to relax and not be so panicked, and move toward something that I will be so much happier at! Wherever it takes me, I have to realize that “waiting for clarity” is the way to go for me! Thanks!!!

  7. Tom Stone Says:

    Phil and everyone,

    Tom Stone here. Just thought I would make a comment or two to see if I can “bring some clarity” to Phil’s question about when does waiting become avoidance.

    One thing to understand about waiting is that it is not passive. It is a form of action, but a special form of action that is mostly internal. It is actions related to feelings and information.

    Typically while waiting a couple of categories of experiences occur if you are consciously waiting. One is that we will tend to gather more information about the issue about which we are waiting for clarity. And second, most people while waiting will have feelings about the issue come up during the waiting process. Allowing yourself to fully feel and complete the experience of these feelings that arise is a very active part of the waiting process. Also talking with someone who is supportive of you (like your coach or your spouse) while going through the waves of emotion about the issue can be very helpful.

    Procrastination and avoidance have a different quality and it is very valuable to get the distinction between procrastination and waiting for clarity. Typically procrastination and avoidance will be active too. But their activity is actually the opposite of the activity of waiting for clarity. It is distracting yourself so that you don’t feel and complete the experiences that need to be felt and completed. Procrastination and avoidance are more closely connected to addictive behavior whereas waiting for clarity is more related to being fully present to what is rather than avoiding it through distractions.

    To get to clarity about something it is usually the very things that you tend to avoid allowing yourself to feel that are the real barriers to having clarity show up. It is when you are fully present to them that the clarity can dawn.

    Most people have some pretty deep conditioning around avoid feeling things fully. This is one of the main reasons why procrastination is so common place. It is due to one of the Core Dynamics called Resisting Feeling Things Fully and the understanding of the nature of the conditioning that creates this Core Dynamic is fasinating (but that’s another story).

    So thanks for asking the question and I hope that the distinction is clearer with this explanation.

    All the best,


  8. Marie Says:

    In the proactivity-drunken realm of coaching, Tom Stone’s article is highly sobering. Learning to go with the flow came to me what I started living abroad, first in China and now in Arabia. Both cultures offer valuable insights in this regards.

    In Chinese culture, Taoist philospohy, which underpins everything from medicine to cooking to martial arts, prescribes following the Tao, or the Way. The Way is the path of least resistance followed by all of Nature.

    In Arabic, all statements about the future are qualified with the words “Insha’Allah”- God willing. To the new arrival in the Middle East, this can be disconcerting. However, the serene and long lives of the local tribes prove that relinquishing the fanatical need for control can pay off.

    My experiences in living and traveling abroad have shown the core truth of this principle, illustrated so lucidly by Tom Stone in David’s newest newsletter.

  9. Aartisans $$$ Says:

    this whole business of “waiting for clarity” rather than ‘rushing in head first’ is jolly awesome. I have so many very clear examples of how impulsive behaviour adversely affected my life in the last 3 months, that I was motivated to post here.I am thoroughly convinced of the principle of “silently waiting for clarity, even in the midst of apparent chaos’. This year, I was under pressure to move. I had a lot of decisions to make about, moving house, when, where, etc, and how this would affect my career and my social life. Lots of iminent big changes. I was also in the middle of a relationship melt down and making decisions whether to live with a partner or not. I was also approached by a couple of church pastors wanting me to assist in their ministries in a more committed way. wow! decisions decisions! I new from experience that the best way to make decisions was to ‘wait for clarity’. Only problem was, the people around me were in a veryu big hurry. Pressure to ‘do something now’ ‘Act now’ was mounting. advice bombarding me from everywhere. Anything but…be still and take your time. But I held my ground most of the time, and I can say this when I waited, the results were several times better and more accurate for me, than when I allowed myself to be hurried along by another person’s agender.

    Yeah… wait for clarity! That’s sound advice.

    Love Aartisans

  10. David Wood Says:

    Great to see all the positive feedback. This article was a bit different to the rest. Thanks for the clarification Tom, well said.

    (‘fresh’ from Burning Man in the desert, resting in Reno)

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Tom’s “waiting for clarity” is what is called the awareness stage in the Gestalt cycle of experience. As a life coach & psychotherapist, I often describe what is do is helping my clients slow it down enough to allow choices to emerge. Tom’s articulation of this principle is very supportive. thanks

  12. mila Says:

    Clarity is great! It is connected to internal wisdom. And it brings peace. Instead of madly joining the crowd, get away from pressure to be or do like everyone else. And be yourself. It could be scary first time, but when fear is released there is freedom, clarity and peace.

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