The Generative Approach to Coaching, Counselling and Group Work - A Brief Description

The word generative is taken from the from Late Latin word: Generativus, derived from generare; ‘beget' and is defined in Webster’s dictionary thus:

Generative - ‘Having the power or function of generating, originating, producing, or reproducing.

Any truly generative approach seeks to manifest totally new ideas; things not yet seen in the world come to life. Ideas, inventions and innovations that utilise what already exists in new ways, or build out of the ether of the deep imagination totally new forms that serve us and our world.  

Human Nature, at its heart, is hardwired to seek change. Our core identity is organic. To be a healthy human being, growth is essential. To be human is also to belong to and be affected by Life.

As the primal force of gravity moves the planets, so the primal forces conjured by our family of origin and the culture in which we were raised present us with both gifts and challenges. Between these and our unique talents and desires that wish to be expressed in the world, we affect the world around us.

In my professional experience, beyond acquiring our basic survival needs, the question’s life repeatedly poses are these:

  • What do I wish to make of my life?
  • ‘How do I best organise myself in the present moment to identify and access the resources I need to create what I desire in the future?’
  • What do I wish to leave as my legacy?

Each of these questions assumes we have a choice. I suggest that whether we believe that or not is also a choice.

In essence Generative Coaching is a creative process. It seeks to answer these questions by skilfully harnessing what is innate with-in us and at the same time, also utilising what is outside of us.  

Placing its primary attention within the felt senses of the body’s Embodied Somatic Intelligence; the layer of awareness before and beneath the cognitive intellect, GC then gathers the power of the rational minds creative imagination as a Mindful Resonant Intention and blends these with the wider symbolic awareness of the archetypal realm, sometimes referred to as ‘the field’ or here as the Creative Unconscious Field.  

When these different layers of awareness are skilfully and respectfully invited into a mutually beneficial conversation in service to a congruent intention we find a form of coaching that enables men and women to create on-going systemic positive change in their lives.

It is truly a holistic ‘inside out / ground up’ approach to personal and professional Self-Development and effective in most contexts. I have applied it to my clients professional and personal development, to relationship and couples counselling, to healing trauma, to organisational development and training and facilitation. It helps people ignite the innate creativity of their Deep Wise Self in service to their unique life. When our life demands we meet it in ways that our current identity simply cannot muster, Generative Coaching offers a truly integrated approach to growth.   

GENERATIVE COACHING IS DIFFERENTIATED FROM OTHER FORMS OF COACHING IN SEVERAL PRIMARY WAYS.  

Traditional forms of coaching, from sports coaching through to executive or life coaching, place their primary attention on the achievement of a specific goal within a specific context. Success is then measured by a change in behaviour and the completion of a more effective action within a specific context. Often, secondary benefits are derived from an associated increase in competence and general self-awareness.

These changes are arrived at through various models that progress in a linear fashion (step 1, step 2, step 3, etc.) and rely on an individual’s personal motivation, intellect and will power.  These approaches assume 1+1=2.

As outlined above my approach with Generative Coaching is radically different from these models in the following ways: 

1 – ESTABLISHING A RELATIONSHIP WITH OUREMBODIED SOMATIC INTELLIGENCE.

Generative Coaching places its primary attention on utilising a person’s somatic (body) intelligence. The layers of innate awareness and intelligence that reside ‘below the neck’ are the oldest forms of intelligence in evolutionary terms having billions of years of inherent ‘wisdom’ as opposed to the few hundred thousand years of evolution attributed to the development of the cognitive intellect’s ‘knowledge’.

This somatic / felt-sense layer is closest to our primal / biological nature. It forms the foundation upon which our entire existence as a species is built. For each of us individually it is the ground of our being and holds in place the roots of our life wherein the DNA of our ancestral biographies and our indigenous lineage pulse with the wisdom of our deepest core values and beliefs.

The phrase ‘trust your gut instinct’ is rooted in this often unconscious way of knowing ourselves and the world in which we live.

Accomplished artists, sports people, musicians and martial artists will tell you how their optimum flow and form arise from within the body. With practice we can each in their own way, learn to attune to our body and in doing so identify and distinguish a direct instinctual experience that resides beneath and before the emotional or ‘feelings’ layer or our awareness which is as distinct from the felt-sense. Depth Psychologists might refer to this as the place wherein our Deep Personal Imagination resides.

When we remain connected to this place within, we experience a state of Presence.

2 – CULTIVATING A RESONANT MINDFUL INTENTION.

Once we have established a congruent connection to the ‘centre’ within the body, we find ourselves rooted within a solid foundation. From this foundation we can confidently begin to marshal our intellectual attention towards the formation of a Resonant Mindful Intention.

Whilst remaining rooted within our Somatic Intelligence, we invoke the powers of language and the minds imagination. We explore phrases and statements that best describe our specific desire or intention. All the while we refine and focus this intention until it sounds and feels just right or ‘resonant’. When our body resonates with our stated intention we are ready to move forward’.

3 – OPENING TO THE WISDOM OF THE CREATIVE UNCONSCIOUS FIELD.

The term ‘Field’ can be thought of in basic terms as a web of connective threads weaving together the complex intelligences inherent within symbols, icons and their associated cultural and personal values. Quantum Physics also offers us a useful description with finer distinctions offered through understanding the complimentary dynamics of waves and particles.  

These synthesised meanings and other subtle forms of knowing are perceived outside of the body and mind but felt within it.

When the creative conversation rooted within our Embodied Somatic Intelligence is skilfully blended with our Mindful Resonant Intention we then open towards the creative essence of the Creative Unconscious Field layer of intelligence.

In this realm of the Creative Unconscious Field, archetypal energies gather and are carried back to us via the symbols we can most easily recognise and discern. In effect we are inviting what Carl Jung called ‘our community of saints’ to enter and inform the larger conversation concerning our goals.

A further realm of intelligence I wish to invoke is the intelligence inherent in the natural world which I strongly advocate; wild nature enhances and amplifies our abilities to expand our awareness into the Field.

I believe the human psyche is in essence a function of the Earth in its natural ‘wild’ state. It makes sense to me intellectually and also is borne out by research and most importantly, my own personal experience, that the more intimate our personal relationship with nature the more at ease we are, the more creative we are, the more resourceful we are.

The earth is the ‘Field’ from which the body evolved and we are not separate from it, nor are we dominant over it despite our myriad hallucinations to the contrary.

4 – INTEGRATION AND RITUAL.

By skilfully utilising all of the resources spoken of above, we gently expand our awareness and infuse our psyche with new and complimentary energies. I liken the process of integration to the process of eating a good meal.

We decide what we want to eat, we gather the ingredients, we prepare and cook them, we serve the food, we sit down and eat; we chew, swallow and digest. Then without any conscious effort our bodies metabolise the ingredients and in doing so we transform food into energy which we use to move through the world.

If we are truly self-aware, we know what foods we like, but also what foods support our particular needs and enhance our experience not just of food, but of life itself. We can buy a cheap TV dinner, microwave it and eat it whilst doing several other things with no attention to what or how we are eating or we can grow and raise our own food, take time to learn how to hunt and prepare it, take time to enjoy the flavours and share the experience with those we care for and others are nourished also.  

Rooted within our Embodied Somatic Intelligence we cultivate and gather our Resonant Mindful Intention on the way and then move out into the realm of the Creative Unconscious Field. This process is significantly enhanced by the use of Simple Personal Practices or Rituals. Breathing exercises, movement, writing, drawing, and painting, walking or writing poetry or any action that seeks to creatively express the meaning of one’s Resonant Mindful Intention.

In this non-linear state, more akin geometrically to a spiral or taurus, way beyond our rational minds traditional ways of ‘thinking’, 1 plus 1 can very easily equal 3. Symbols take on multiple meanings and values simultaneously without conflict.    

In this extra-ordinary state of consciousness our Deep Wise Self offers us just what we need to make the necessary new meanings in service to our resonant intention. Our values upgrade systemically to accommodate our desires in the context of our lives.

Skilfully bringing this new awareness into the narrative of the real and solid world of work and relationships, of health and finances, we allow the process to continue unfolding layers of new awareness, like the petals of a flower in bloom.

When we regularly practice ways of feeling deeply relaxed and grounded within our own bodies we can stay clearly focused on our goals. We naturally experience a harmonious sense of connection to the external world and the unique place we occupy within its larger and ultimately mysterious nature.