3 Level Coaching

You come to coaching when you want something to be different, when you want to make a change or when you want to make your way through some change that has been forced on you, when you know something is wanting to happen in your life.

Change occurs on multiple levels of reality. Yes, I know, it can sound way out there to be talking about levels of reality, but hear me out. This will make perfect sense to you.

Change lives in what we can see and measure and in what we can dream and feel, too.

The level of reality we are most familiar with what relationship coaches call Consensus Reality. This is the nuts and bolts level of the known, the measurable, the concrete, and the tangible. For example if the change you are seeking is to adjust to retirement, at the level of Consensus Reality this might mean you have a new schedule for your time during the day, you have your finances figured out, you start volunteering at a particular place and working out on set days at your new gym. All these actions or things are concrete, objective, and measurable: they are the specific who, what, when, where, and how long.

Before the particulars, though, we have thoughts and the feelings. Imaginings, visions, values, feelings, hopes and fears are all part of the level of reality known as the Dreaming Level. Before we join a gym we have feelings of hope and joy or fear for our health. We begin to imagine what it would be like to work out regularly. We see ourselves looking and feeling good. We have dreams and plans based in what is most important to us – our values.

The Dreaming Level of Reality is subjective. Although you and I may both join the same gym (a nuts and bolts measurable action), we can come with different feelings, hopes, dreams, and values.

Before our yearnings make it to the Dreaming Level, though, they are part of the pre-verbal and so very difficult to define Essence Level of Reality. We can feel the Essence Level speak through our bodies and show up as glimpses in our sleeping dreams. This is the level of restlessness, of knowing without words, of all possibilities – before we begin to even imagine what might be next. You could think of the Essence Level like the quantum field or the void – the space of creation before manifestation begins.

In the Essence Level we feel the initial stirrings of our desire for change. It is the place of inspiration and energetic tendencies, of spring fever and wild urges. Just like the “chemistry” we can feel for another person, the deep longings we feel before we even start to imagine a plan forward is the pull of the Essence Level upon us.

Where the Consensus Reality Level is objective, and the Dreaming Level is subjective, the Essence Level is non-dualistic. It is place of basic oneness before any separation or differentiation begins.

Levels of reality image only


In the process of making our dreams – like starting a new business, getting in shape, writing a book, retiring, deepening our spiritual practice – into something real, we move up through the levels of reality. From that first undefined stirring into a vision and right up to the measurable actions we take, our creative process is at work.

The transition from each level to the next is where the greatest danger lies!

We may feel the preverbal tendencies or restlessness and not allow those deep feelings to develop into a dream or vision. We may cherish our dreams for ages and not take the nuts and bolts steps to get them out off of our vision boards and into objective reality. And we can just focus on the measurable details only to feel our energy drain and wither away because we aren’t grounded in what connects the tedious details to deep meaning.

This is why personal life coaching that acknowledges and understands all 3 levels can be so successful.

We have to tend to, we have to feed and nurture, we have develop skills in all 3 levels of reality in order to give birth to those big dreams of ours.

3 level coaching does just that. It acknowledges, gives voice to, and has tools for, engaging all of us and all 3 levels of reality that we are navigating in our creative process.

Image of 3 levels of reality with heartYou know what I’m talking about here.

 You know that for the really challenging tasks just setting a goal and making a list only works so far. (This is what I call Coaching 101.)

You know that vivid dreams and vast plans won’t cut it if you don’t have the juice to take the mundane steps – and keep taking them day after day after day.

You know that there are times when the audacious goal, even with solid action steps, still doesn’t seem to scratch that itch that you can’t quite put words to. 

And you know that the time is ripe for you to make the changes you yearn for. Because sometimes avoiding change is no longer an option. Because the cost to stay stuck is staggering. Because that restlessness just isn’t going away – no matter how much you distract yourself.

If you need more info here’s longer explanation on my Resources page, Levels of Reality.

Or, better yet, contact me! I’d love to hear from you.

Many thanks to Organization and Relationship Systems Coach (ORSC) training and Arnold Mindell in his book Dreaming While Awake for the concepts of the three levels of reality.