Notes From the Field: Integral Coaching Canada, May 12-16 2008, Washington D.C.

Robin Reinach

Robin ReinachIntegral Coaching Canada Inc., currently the only coaching training program officially partnered by Integral Institute, offered their first US training in Washington DC this May. I attended the five day seminar that kicks off Module 1: Foundation and Apprenticeship and was instantly impressed with this embodied, nuts and bolts application of AQAL theory to the coachingprocess. I am happy to report that, in my opinion, the ICC training putsKen Wilber’s AQAL theory to immediate use for personal and professionalgrowth and for ameliorating suffering in the world.

Developed by Laura Divine and Joanne Hunt, the Integral Coaching Canada (ICC) training programs provides a comprehensive method for viewing clients through multiple AQAL lenses and then working with them step by step to increase capabilities necessary for inner growth as well as achieving objective goals in the manifest world. I felt Wilber’s theory was not only accurately represented, but also honored by the ICC application and the manner in which it was presented.

The Washington DC Module 1 was taught by Laura Divine (Co-Founder of ICC) and ICC faculty member, Leslie Williams. These women demonstrated a degree of integral embodiment that was inspirational. They interacted with participants with empathy as well as rapid discernment and quickly set the tone for a strong we-space.

Both theory and practice were included in this teaching seminar; didactic and experiential segments alternated for an integrated approach to learning. After each didactic transmission, participants were structured in small practice groups where we had the opportunity to try out newly acquired skills. The small group exercises were structured to provide a rehearsal for coaching as well as personal growth and insight for each coach. The didactic segments were presented with humor and grace, in addition to clear and specific language and visual aids like charts and graphs.

People entering Module 1 ranged in their knowledge of Integral Theory. Some participants had studied Wilber’s work extensively and others had only a basic introduction. However, the ICC presentation was so well organized and AQAL theory was broken down into such small steps that the teaching was readily accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, this experienced Ken Wilber reader was never bored, but always intellectually challenged and emotionally engaged.

In addition, I found the infusion of feminine energy into Integral particularly satisfying. Despite covering so much material in so much detail, the seminar had a sense of spaciousness and flow, and an emphasis on honoring trainees and their future clients. The ICC teaching was a true dance of embodied agency and communion. Much use was made of imagery and metaphor in understanding and working with clients’ issues. And each day ended with the sharing of a poem or song that had emotional and thematic resonance, awakening us further.

My personal experience included a potent insight about my “current way of being” in the world, quickly followed by an avalanche of implications about what my current way allows for and what it closes off. Embraced by a we-space infused with feminine compassion and acceptance, I found myself able to recognize and appreciate the support of a loving and eminently sane LR structure—something I’ve been needing for a very long time.

Here, finally, was a system I could trust to honor the individual, recognize infinite diversity, and still present enough challenge to engender growth and action in the world. As a baby boomer, a member of the “me” generation, and an inherently arty, individualistic type, I have been allergic to LR systems— to my own detriment. I am profoundly grateful to Laura Divine and Joanne Hunt for their gift of the ICC Integral Coaching® approach, a container that offers that delicate balance of safety and challenge .

The ICC Apprenticeship Module introductory seminar met and exceeded my hopes for an application of AQAL theory. The course included detailed study materials, impeccably organized. Hand outs and forms were plentiful and clear. Altogether I was the grateful recipient of a tremendous set of resources.

And then, during the last hour of the seminar, I actually felt the top of my head blow off! So much energy came streaming down into my crown chakra and through my whole my body that I felt myself glowing like an Alex Grey painting.

And that was only Session 1 of the first module! I can’t wait to continue.

Robin Reinach is passionate about integral theory and its application. Her special areas of interest are Integral community building in New York City and across the globe, as well as Integral Life Practice. Robin has hosted events with Ken Wilber and other integral notables at her home, and she has helped co-sponsor many of the larger workshops and trainings that have been offered in and around NYC. She is also a writer whose memoirs and short fiction appear regularly in literary magazines. Robin lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.