Coaching the Multiplicity of Mind: A Strengths-based Model

Abstract

Professional health and wellness coaches are passionate about helping people learn, change, and grow. We are lifelong students of what enables humans to perform at our best. The phrase coaching the whole person is common coaching parlance; full engagement in self-care often requires that clients shift a spectrum of beliefs, motives, and perspectives in order to make changes that are sustainable. Just as important is the need for coaches to fully engage in their own self-care in order to best serve their clients.

Key Words: Health coaching, hypothesis, primary capacities, self

INTRODUCTION

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.

—Walt Whitman

Professional health and wellness coaches are passionate about helping people learn, change, and grow. We are lifelong students of what enables humans to perform at our best. The phrase coaching the whole person is common coaching parlance; full engagement in self-care often requires that clients shift a spectrum of beliefs, motives, and perspectives in order to make changes that are sustainable. Just as important is the need for coaches to fully engage in their own self-care in order to best serve their clients.

How can coaches help themselves and their clients better address their whole selves? This article hypothesizes that humans have evolved to share a set of primary capacities, which could also be described as primary needs, drives, functions, or strengths, and that each capacity manifests as a subpersonality, a unique suite of personality components such as a voice, emotions, thoughts, memories, desires, agendas, and behavioral patterns. These capacities, like primary colors, mix and match uniquely for each individual. When we are at our best, these capacities act in balance and harmony, allowing our strengths to move us effectively toward our goals. When these capacities are not collaborating well, goal attainment is thwarted and we may experience chaos, struggle, ambivalence, or some other form of stress. When Katherine Peil’s characterization of emotions as a deeply-wired self-regulatory system is applied, negative emotions can be decoded as signals that needs are unmet, such as needs for freedom or confidence, and positive emotions serve as signals that needs are being met, such as needs for novelty or creative expression.

By inviting all of a client’s capacities into a coaching process, coaches could better help clients engage their whole selves. For example, a coach could help clients reach beyond their dominant capacities and agendas, bring forth the quieter and less assertive capacities, and learn to more fully meet the needs of each capacity to unleash its full potential. This is possible only if a coach is well able to tune into and meet the needs of their own capacities, optimizing their own wholeness.

To set the stage for the hypothesis, the familiar human experience of an inner dialogue of different voices that sometimes have conflicting agendas will be introduced. Then the hypothesis is outlined, proposing a set of primary capacities that are led and integrated into a whole “self.” As additional background, a brief summary of theories concerning the multiplicity of mind and the potential existence of subpersonalities is provided, in particular the Internal Family Systems model developed by psychologist Richard Schwartz. Applications are then explored: an “inner family coaching” process is described as a path to optimal health and well-being, and a case describing a wellness coach’s journey to improve her confidence is summarized. Last, next steps to further develop and validate the hypothesis are proposed.

AN INNER DIALOGUE

Recently on a business website, www.FastCompany.com, a journalist named Howard Jacobson wrote an article about his inner dialogue. Jacobson captures what it’s like to experience various voices of one’s psyche, each with its own agenda concerning his procrastination: a vicious inner critic, a wounded inner child, and a helicopter inner parent (excerpt in Figure 1).

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Excerpt of an article appearing on www.FastCompany.com and example of inner dialogue.

Such inner dialogues are common when people think about their health. A frequent conflict emerges between a future-oriented, health-giving choice, and an alternative choice that would satisfy one’s desire for immediate pleasure or relief of discomfort: eg, “Do I choose an apple or a chocolate brownie? Shall I get up to exercise now or sleep for another half-hour?” While a self-regulating voice reminds us of our goals to be healthy and fit, it can be overruled by a voice that insists on the pleasure of the brownie or more rest.

HYPOTHESIS

The following hypothesis emerges from the author’s inner experience of a set of distinct capacities; each presents as an inner voice that shares its emotions, thoughts, motives, needs, and narratives. This inner experience had its genesis in an intensive training program in Schwartz’s Internal Family Systems therapy, which is described further in the section of this article on the multiplicity of mind. The hypothesis is that the psyche has a set of primary capacities from each of which arises a unique voice and other personality components. Each capacity is connected to a well-studied psychological construct such as creativity, self-efficacy, or executive function, which has been shown to be associated with well-being and performance.

The hypothesis is as follows:

  1. We share a set of primary capacities that can also be described as needs, drives, functions, or strengths, which are generated by evolution and manifest as subpersonalities;

  2. Each of these capacities has been validated as important to human functioning by a body of research or is being studied by scientists;

  3. These capacities or subpersonalities are shaped by genetic coding and experiences and integrated into complex and unique personality patterns that function along a spectrum of effectiveness (from best to worst); and

  4. Each of these capacities manifests as a biological system yet to be explored, perhaps as a widely disseminated brain network connecting basic functions including emotions, physiological sensations, thoughts, voices, needs, drives, and memories.

What follows first is a description of a “self” construct drawing from Schwartz’s Internal Family System model. Then nine primary capacities are listed, in alphabetical order. A brief overview of the scientific underpinnings of the self and nine capacities is also introduced. The capacity “names” are presented as recognizable concepts; individuals might adapt the “names” to best describe the nature of each of their own inner voices. Figure 2 summarizes the author’s description of the strengths, needs, or drives related to each capacity by asking each voice to address the questions: “What am I good at (my strength)?” and “What do I need/want?”

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Author’s exploration of primary capacities.

Self

One of Schwartz’s empirical discoveries underlying the Internal Family System is the concept of a central mindful “self” that is able to observe and accept without judgment or evaluation. Schwartz’s self construct is consistent with the “mindful” mind described in Buddhist traditions and disseminated widely by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The mindful mind lives in a state described as meta-aware-ness, where one observes one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the moment and over time as if watching a movie of one’s life as a witness, rising above a narrative mode where one is the central character embedded in the movie. Schwartz’s self is able to create a mental space between a mindful state and a cacophony of voices, emotions, and needs generated by an inner family of “parts.”

Beyond traditional models of mindfulness, Schwartz’s self not only observes and accepts the inner family, it listens to and guides each part, and indeed the whole family of parts, toward a harmonious, balanced, resilient, and evolving system. In Internal Family Systems therapy, the self is also a compassionate force of healing for wounded parts facilitated by the expert guidance of a therapist. Schwartz’s self acts as a conductor to elicit the unified sound of the inner orchestra made up of various instruments and players. The orchestra metaphor reminds us that without effort, we don’t hear the discrete voices. Led by a good conductor, the voices merge into a whole, harmonious sound. The self leads by integrating the best of the parts into daily functioning, moving from a “pause, observe, and reflect” state in mindful presence to full focus and flow in intense activities to sleep—allowing the lively night owl parts to act out in dreams.

The self at its best lives in a sophisticated orbital of mindfulness, emotional and social intelligence, self-compassion, and what Schwartz calls self-leadership. It can reach what Vago and Silbersweig describe as the highest level of mindfulness, growing beyond self-awareness and self-regulation to self-transcendence, which could also be described as an optimal level of self-mastery.

Primary Capacities

Following are brief descriptions of nine hypothesized primary capacities listed in Figure 2. It is not intended to be exhaustive; it serves as a starting point for identifying capacities that have been shown to be salient to optimal functioning and may be experienced as subpersonalities.

1. Autonomous Capacity. Psychologists Deci and Ryan describe autonomy as a primary organismic drive, a need that manifests as an independent voice that wants freedom and authenticity and to march to its own drummer. It has a sense of agency and wants meaningful choice. It acts in self-interest to avoid external control and it can be rebellious and resistant to following advice. Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory

“argues that developing a sense of autonomy (and competence) is critical to the processes of internalization and integration, through which a person comes to self-regulate and sustain behaviours conducive to health and well being.”

2. Body Regulation Capacity. The physical body regulation capacity manifests as a voice with interests in equilibrium, self-care, and good health. It seeks a balance of exertion with rest and recharge. It communicates via a wide range of bodily sensations, pleasurable or painful, to signal its needs. This physical capacity is the source of physical energy and vitality. It strives for homeostasis, stability, and a healthy autonomic nervous system, balancing sympathetic (stress) and para-sympathetic (rest and recover) activity. It strives for a healthy level of parasympathetic activation, what is called good vagal tone, a calm state of the nervous system that calms the mind and improves brain func-tion. The study of mind-body practices, gut instincts, and “body intelligence” has brought awareness of the value of listening to one’s body and of calming the nervous system.

3. Confident Capacity. The extensive literature describing self-efficacy as a primary psychological construct, including Deci and Ryan’s determination of competence as one of the three primary organismic drives (along with autonomy and connection), suggests that one’s belief in one’s abilities and one’s desire to be strong, confident, and competent are primary capacities. One’s sense of strength, or empowerment, is a key determinant of behavior. It varies widely and is domain-specific to myriad life activities, social environments, and demands of other capacities. As Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory holds,

“The beliefs one holds regarding one’s power to affect situations strongly influences both the power one has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make. These effects are particularly apparent, and compelling, with regard to behaviors affecting health.”,

4. Creative Capacity. The creative capacity is generative, imaginative, and spontaneous. It uses nonlinear thinking processes and enjoys brainstorming, playing games, distractions, and being impulsive. When in full action, it produces flow states. Creativity is often described as the ability to think outside the box and invent or design new ideas and technologies. In Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson’s book Your Creative Brain, the brain activation pattern for defocused idea-generating activity shows significant activation of the right prefrontal cortex, although the creative process has multiple stages and engages many brain regions. Creativity is a major topic across a wide spectrum of scientific endeavor. The Character Strengths & Virtues Handbook chapter posits this about creativity: “It is difficult to conceive a single major theoretical orientation that has not tried to make a contribution to our understanding of creativity.”

5. Executive Manager. The executive manager organizes the system to get things done efficiently, creating plans, goals, and to-do lists and marshaling resources to accomplish tasks. It figures things out using analytical, linear thinking processes. It directs focus and attention to the task at hand, a capable self-regulator setting aside disruptive emotions, impulses, and distractions. It wants to be productive. It would appear to be related to a well-studied brain capacity called executive function in the neuroscience litera-ture, and it resides partly in the left prefrontal cortex while drawing on other brain regions and directing cognitive processes. Executive function is defined as “the cognitive process that regulates an individual’s ability to organize thoughts and activities, prioritize tasks, manage time efficiently, and make decisions.”

6. Meaning Maker. The meaning-making capacity is concerned with considering and answering overarching questions for the self by connecting the dots and seeing patterns, determining what things mean, finding purpose in small and large domains, looking for the big picture, and encouraging growth. It is concerned with wholeness, peace, and harmony. It can incorporate a transcendent or spiritual capacity, connecting to the larger universe and thereby providing a larger meaning to one’s life. Peterson and Seligman describe spirituality as having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe and one’s place within it, and this perspective may be a source of ease and harmony in life.

7. New Experience Seeker. The new experience seeker wants to explore, learn, and change. It seeks to be aroused and excited and enjoys uncertainty and adventure. It is open-minded and curious, wondering what will happen next. It may be related to the psychological trait called “novelty seeking,” which is associated with both exploratory activity in response to novel stimuli and extraversion. Psychologist and curiosity researcher Todd Kashdan asserts that curiosity is a primary driver of human well-being:

When we experience curiosity, we are willing to leave the familiar and routine and take risks, even if it makes us feel anxious and uncomfortable. Curious explorers are comfortable with the risks of taking on new challenges. Instead of trying desperately to explain and control our world, as a curious explorer we embrace uncertainty, and see our lives as an enjoyable quest to discover, learn and grow.

8. Relational Capacity. Our relational selves are capable of being warm, loving, trusting, kind, and compassionate to our selves and others. They serve others in the wide variety of roles we play in life, from child to parent, colleague to boss, spouse, friend, and helping professional. Social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson’s exploration of the biological state of love and connection in her book Love 2.0 describes the capacity to create neural synchrony with another, improving brain function in the immediate term and improving physical health over time by improving the function of the hormonal, metabolic, and nervous systems. Psychologist Kristin Neff’s research on self-compassion confirms that kindness and forgiveness toward oneself are important to well-being and success.

9. Standard Setter. A widely discussed personality component in coaching and therapy is the inner critic. In its broader strengths-based role as a capacity, a common inner critic is the standard setter. It sets the bar or sets goals for achievement and performance. The Standard Setter then evaluates and judges that performance, whether for oneself or for other people, across all domains of life—from getting good grades at school to dying well. It may also be concerned with self-image and getting recognition. For some people, this capacity is difficult to please; it is a demanding, perfectionistic taskmaster ever scanning for flaws and faults or ever raising the bar. At its best, it is accepting and content, setting the bar to challenge performance and adopting a learning mindset when performance falls short.

The standard-setter capacity may be supported by a large body of literature on self-esteem. One’s determination of self-worth and self-respect is an important determinant of well-being. As the National Association of Self-Esteem asserts:

Self-esteem is cognitive as one consciously thinks about oneself as one considers the discrepancy between one’s ideal self, the person one wishes to be, and the perceived self or the realistic appraisal of how one sees oneself. The affective element refers to the feelings or emotions that one has when considering that discrepancy.

The hypothesis that humans share a set of primary capacities, each with its own voice, emotions, drives, and strengths, depends in part on the concept that there is a multiplicity of mind. That concept has been written about extensively and developed into therapeutic models that are discussed in the next section.

TRADITIONS OF MULTIPLICITY OF MIND IN PSYCHOLOGY

The assertion of the existence of subpersonalities began early in the 20th century with Freud’s description of the id, ego, and superego. John Rowan’s book, Subpersonalities, explores the long history and diverse theories that support the existence of subpersonalities, which are thought to be enduring psychological structures that evolve over time. Subpersonalities integrate thoughts, emotions, needs, physiology, and behaviors. Rowan’s working definition of a subpersonality is “a semi-permanent and semi-autonomous region of the personality capable of acting as a person.”

Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, now adapted to personal and executive coaching models in Europe, explains,

“One should become clearly aware of these sub-personalities because this evokes a measure of understanding of the meaning of psychosynthesis, and how it is possible to synthesize these subpersonalities into a larger organic whole without repressing any of the useful traits.”

Among the most active bodies of investigation and application of the concept of multiplicity of mind is the work of Schwartz in developing the model of Internal Family Systems therapy. Applying radical empiricism, as he puts it, Schwartz has devoted the past 25 years to exploring inner dialogues among “parts.” Schwartz and thousands of therapists trained in Internal Family Systems therapy help people invite their “parts” that are experiencing negative emotions to a mindful, meditation-like sit-down. The therapy session follows a winding trail to uncover small or large traumas and then unpack their interesting and often surprising stories. From the vantage point of a mindful self, the client sits compassionately with the suffering of the parts and experiences a process designed to appreciate and accept then heal and release the burdens of parts. These troubled parts get out of their cages below conscious reach and get onto a path of conscious actualization, along the lines described in Figure 3.

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The author’s experience of the Internal Family Systems process.

Thus far, models of subpersonalities have not proposed the existence of common primary subpersonalities that may serve as a scaffolding or supporting structure for the suffering “parts.” Clinical application of existing models allows clients to discover and engage their internal voices experientially and organically by following the trail of their negative emotions. This article’s hypothesis goes farther, proposing that the psyche may have a set of primary capacities or subpersonalities integrated and led by a central self. The strengths-based approach of such a primary structure offers a simpler tool for non-therapist coaches to help their clients access and learn from their distinct inner voices as widely recognized primary capacities.

Potential Coaching Application of a Primary Capacities System

Health and wellness coaches help clients develop visions and goals and navigate the path to goal attainment while outgrowing struggles, learning, growing, and evolving along the way. Perhaps, however, the visions and goals identified and clarified by a client are determined by a client’s dominant capacities and voices. For example the Executive Manager, Standard Setter, or Creative may dominate in daily life, overlooking or underestimating the needs and wisdom of other capacities that may be less visible and vocal and that may engage in self-sabotage later. Similarly, coaches might discover that their own dominant capacities are intruding and impairing their effectiveness: Seeking to balance their capacities and draw out less active capacities could improve coaches’ performance.

Once people have mindfully experienced the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of one or more capacities and their existence as distinct voices and agendas, coaches have the opportunity for a more inclusive coaching inquiry: eg, inviting the voices of certain capacities at key moments. Imagine coaching questions such as

  • What would work best for your Executive Manager who wants to get things done well?

  • What would your Meaning Maker say about last week’s setback?

  • What would your Confidence need to feel more hopeful?

  • What would help your Creative come up with some new ideas?

Perhaps common combinations of primary capacities could be discovered, identifying patterns that underlie behaviors such as overeating, procrastination, distractibility, overwork, or putting others’ needs first. Physiological processes like physical pain, fatigue, or disturbed sleep may be better understood and targeted efforts made to help shift to a healthier system. Coaches could guide clients to experience the underlying forces and dynamics causing these patterns, leading to new insights and experiments. When the dynamics are created by traumas of unconscious or partly conscious sources, referral to an Internal Family Systems therapist could lead to a combination intervention of coaching and therapy, combining healing with personal growth and better performance.

Engaging the primary capacities in an inner-family roll call could be a form of daily meditation or could be offered during a coaching session. Figure 4 summarizes the author’s daily self-coaching routine, in which the mindful self does a roll call of the primary capacities. Next is an example of an inner-family coaching process, deployed with a coaching client, “Sophie,” who wants to lose weight. Coaching sessions are focused on inviting self and the capacities or subpersonalities into a coaching dialogue.

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The author’s self-coaching sit-downs.

Discover inner resources.

Sophie discovers her primary capacities that feel healthy and whole and are a solid foundation for growth. Her Executive Manager is happy with its performance in staying on top of work projects. Her Meaning Maker is readily online, ready to be called upon to calm and soothe inner tensions with its wisdom. Her Confidence is confident around the work domain and believes that sustained weight loss is possible, given more inner harmony.

Discover underutilized resources.

Sophie’s Relation al is skilled at showing compassion for others, al though it isn’t routinely called upon for self-compassion around unmet needs. Her Creative is clever and has a good sense of humor, which could energize her weight loss journey. Her Body Regulator has developed a reasonable level of body intelligence around optimal food intake, an instinctive sense of what healthy foods to eat, when and in what quantity, but it also isn’t always called upon.

Discover unmet needs.

Her Autonomy is unhappy because work life provides too little independence as her boss is an overbearing micromanager. Her New Experience Seeker is bored because rarely are there new work or home experiences to feed curiosity and interest. The suffering of these two capacities leads them to insist on eating unhealthy snacks to relieve the strain of insufficient freedom and adventure. Her Standard Setter is then angry and frustrated because this dynamic has led to weight gain over time; it is harshly critical of these rebellious, sometimes defiant capacities.

Meet unmet needs.

The coach helps Sophie to appreciate her unsatisfied needs for independence, adventure, and good regulation of eating and then become more consistently self-compassionate toward all of the inner suffering. Sophie begins to enlist her Creative to come up with new ideas to inject autonomy and novelty into every day, including a courageous chat with her boss to request more independence. She asks her Body Regulator to come online during moments of temptation to help steer away from unhealthy snacks. Her Meaning Maker is also consulted at least once a day for its sage advice, which serves as a compass as needed.

Move to wholeness. After 3 months of biweekly inner family coaching sessions and roll call journaling of her primary capacities at least 3 days a week, Sophie is consistently able to access her mindful self and unblend from her inner voices for greater objectivity. She has improved her self-coaching skills. She enjoys and appreciates the good intentions and contributions by every capacity rather than playing favorites. By tuning into her negative emotions, she quickly identifies unmet needs and underutilized resources. She shows self-compassion for unmet needs and discovers new ideas for meeting needs and moving forward. She is pleasantly surprised by all of the resources and wisdom available from her inner family when each member feels valued, respected, and understood. Enjoying life more fully, with a greater peace of mind, Sophie is on a solid upward trajectory. She is losing weight slowly and surely for the long term. She is greatly relieved to have unlocked the mystery of the underlying forces behind her weight gain and continues to be surprised by her newfound ability to make sense of her inner world.

Let’s move on to consider application of this inner family coaching process by health and wellness coaches in improving their own inner harmony and performance. The following case exemplifies how this coaching model improved a coach’s mindfulness, confidence, and physical energy.

The author coached a wellness coach, who has a career in nursing, using the inner family coaching process described above to improve her confidence in marketing her coaching services. She had felt stuck with inadequate confidence for 2 years. Four “inner family coaching” sessions by telephone over 4 months helped the wellness coach become mindfully aware of the forces that depleted her confidence. She began to appreciate that while her perfectionist Standard Setter had served her well, it was overworking by setting a too-high bar as a new coach who had no marketing experience. It was also overreacting to criticism from her boss at her part-time job. Her Confidence felt sad about being unable to meet the too-high standard and withered under the harsh inner criticism. Her husband also frequently complained of her too-critical stance toward him. Her Body Regulator felt tired under this stress, too depleted to allow her New Experience Seeker to step outside her comfort zone.

When the wellness coach began to show genuine compassion and appreciation toward her overworked Standard Setter, it was willing to experiment with relaxing its standards so that her Confidence could be more hopeful. That step reduced inner stress and increased her physical energy to take risks. She also discovered that she was under-using her Creative, which was craving sweets to satisfy its needs in the absence of sufficient creative expression. As she tuned into her Creative more, the sweets cravings dissipated, and it came up with creative ideas for how to market her coaching services, further improving Confidence. Now that she was eating better, her Body Regulator was happier, releasing even more energy for risk-taking. The coach’s inner family gained new wholeness, happiness, and health, and new marketing initiatives began to flow without the old struggle.

NEXT STEPS

While the concept of multiplicity of mind is valuable in helping people experience and better understand the various voices and forces inside that lead to inner ambivalence and conflict, it is important to note that a body of research on the biological and psychological underpinnings and efficacy of working with subpersonalities for healing or growth does not yet exist. As Schwartz notes, in the meantime, the case reports and personal experiential insights from engaging and improving the balance and harmony of “parts” abound (R Schwartz, personal communication, March 2013). He suggests that this field offers promise in helping people to heal fully and grow to their full potential. This promise applies equally to the exploration of the existence of a set of primary capacities, a strengths-based inner family system.

Several conceptual and research paths to refine, validate, study, and apply the concept of a set of primary capacities are as follows:

  1. Validate the existence of primary capacities that manifest as subpersonalities, including and beyond the list presented in this paper. Further refine the definitions and characterization of capacities and map them to the scientific literature on psychological needs and strengths.

  2. Develop new coaching and self-coaching models that apply coaching competencies to a system of primary capacities and then study the efficacy of new coaching models.

  3. Identify the factors that distinguish between responders and nonresponders to this novel approach to coaching and self-coaching.

  4. Map the primary capacities to personality assessment tools and models such as the Five Factor Model (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) and other widely used models including Myers Briggs and Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness (DISC). Healthy partnerships or conflict-based polarization of capacities likely manifest in personality patterns. Evaluation of how other widely applied models of personality patterns might lead to or build upon primary capacities and would further refine the application of both this new model and existing models.

  5. Investigate whether neural patterns underpin primary capacities. In her book Your Creative Brain, Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson describes seven brain activation states that correlate to seven stages of the creative process, each lighting up a different pattern of a variety of brain regions. For example, the reasoning brain state, the “figuring things out” state, which could be considered the main function of the Executive Manager, shows activity mainly in the left prefrontal cortex. A creative flow state or brainstorming state shows more activity in the right prefrontal cortex.

  6. Researchers could build upon Davidson’s work in magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of Buddhist monks performing different types of meditations when summoned in sequence, each of which produces distinct brain patterns. If distinct brain patterns for each capacity were to exist, more insights around the biological design and underpinnings of the psyche may emerge, opening new horizons for personal growth and evolution.

CONCLUSION

This article proposes a model of the psyche, building upon Schwartz’s mindful and integrative self construct to include a set of primary capacities that may each function as a subpersonality. With further development and research, this model may be used as a tool for training coaches to bring their whole selves to coaching engagements, in addition to leading to coaching processes that help clients better access, understand, and balance the inner voices and forces that drive their emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Ultimately, it could help both coaches and clients more quickly and effectively reach elusive goals and realize their full potential.

Acknowledgments

The author wishes to acknowledge the following people: Carol Kauffman for the encouragement to complete training in Internal Family Systems therapy; Dick Schwartz for developing the Internal Family Systems model and engaging in discussion of the need for a strengths-based model suitable for application by coaches; Joan Ryan, fellow Internal Family Systems therapy student, for being a thinking partner in developing a strengths-based model of the internal family; Susan David for introduction to psychologist John Mayer’s structure for personality systems; Andrew McDowell for introduction to the application of psychosynthesis and subpersonalities by executive coaches in Europe; Katherine Peil for exploration of emotions as a self-regulatory system where negative emotions are signaling unmet needs and positive emotions are signaling met needs; John Livingstone and Joanne Gaffney for pioneering the application of Internal Family Systems in health coaching with their SINH model, featured in Internal Family Systems Therapy: New Dimensions; Routledge, New York, 2013, and Shelley Carson for exploring next steps of model validation.

Notes

Disclosure The author completed the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and disclosed no relevant conflicts.

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