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‘The essence of the U process is to strengthen our presence and active participation in the world.‘

Otto Scharmer in Theory U (page 379):


The Dutch Organization of Professional Coaches has asked me to give a lecture how to apply the U in coaching. They told me today that they have already 100 participants! It stimulated me to formulate my ideas and experiences around personal coaching. That felt good. The chapter starts like this:


Who is my Self’ and ‘What is my Work?’ are the two core questions at the heart of Theory U. Who am I and what is my purpose in life. Most people that come to me for coaching are keen to dive into the second question. They are not fully happy how life is unfolding for them although they usually are rather successful in what they do. Most of them are very result oriented and have build a career over the years. Still they are missing something. But they don‘t know what. ‘They have everything so they shouldn’t complain,’ they tell themselves. They are less happy with what they do and probably who they are: ‘Their Bliss doesn’t meet the hunger of the world.’

In my coaching practice I usually start with ‘strengthening the presence,’ in the meaning of: being more present. Being more open to what there is. ‘The active participation in the world part’ follows later. But many people (and I wasn’t an exception myself) want to start with the participation part: ‘What am I here for? What is my calling, or what is my Work? I am not happy where should I go?’ But these answers can only be found when you connect again in a deeper way with life: become more present.

We distinguish 4 levels of coaching. See the picture. In this chapter I want to explore especially level 4: how can you support people with their personal transformation.

But before we dive into the essence I need to warn you: The U is not a sequential process and for sure not coaching with the U. It all happens at the same time. But since this is a book, I need to find a certain order to discuss the different topics. During my study psychology I became convinced that all the theories that were presented were more interesting for the therapist than beneficial for the patient, or client. For me, it was all about the relationship that you were able to establish with the patient. The theories helped you to establish one. But maybe that was my Voice of Cynicism that I didn’t recognize yet.


The meeting is June 3 in Utrecht. There are still some seats left, subscribe through the NOBCO website

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