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How To Coach Anyone: Part One - Working With People In Crisis (Level 0)

Dec 22, 2022

I have a claim that I make to my students, with Inquiry Method, I can teach you to coach anyone.  Inquiry alone can bring people to “AHA!” moments and breakthroughs.  The more you can set yourself aside and be curious, the more hidden, subconscious limitations are uncovered and resolved.


In this series I am going to offer another framework that dovetails with Inquiry.  What I call the levels of consciousness.  Each week I am going to share coaching secrets that will support you in your inquiry and help you get even better results with your clients.  Understanding these levels will also help you understand yourself better.

Today we start with what I call Level 0.


At Level 0, we (and I use we because we will all be at this level at sometime in our lives, maybe many times) is when our consciousness is no longer able to really function.  The body or mind has taken over.  We are either a danger to ourselves or others.

This could be actually suicidal (not just talking about it), could be a physical thing, heart attack, allergic reaction; it could be overcome by fear or anger; it could be so deep in addiction that there are no choices or ability to self regulate left.


In other words it is a situation where there is no or little ability to self-reflect or resolve the problem with the person. Many coaches fear this situation, and can freeze or get jammed up.  Hopefully this blog will help to remove the fear so that taking action is easy, kind of like a fire drill.  I have only been in this situation a few times in my 25 years of coaching so it is quite rare.

As a coach you have some authority with your client so you can use your authority by giving a quick authoritative assertion to your client. First recognize as a coach you are totally unqualified to resolve an issue at Level 0.  But you are often able to initiate a resolution.


Someone at Level 0 needs immediate professional intervention.  Often you can be an authority that gets the client to take the immediate action that is needed.


Instructions may be like:  Call an ambulance.  Put yourself in a recovery center.  Call your spouse.  Sit down, relax.  Start slowing down your breath. Some inquiry may be helpful to find out what the situation is.  But ultimately at Level 0, direct instructions are necessary because the client is not able to do this for themselves.

Remember, you are not responsible for this, nor do you have the ability to resolve it.  Your job is to represent their higher consciousness and give them instructions to get the help they need.  It is perfectly appropriate to hand them over to someone who can intervene. Someone at Level 0 needs an intervention.


When you are faced with something like this you want to be able to access Level 4 consciousness, meaning your attention is not on yourself. (I teach this in the Life Coaching Academy Training)  All your attention is on the other person and what is needed, in this state you are in flow and very present.  The better you are able to access and hold higher consciousness the more able you are to respond to difficult situations, this is just a matter of practice and doing your inner work.  Just like any other coaching situation your ability in this area invokes all of your hidden and brilliant capacity.


In any “crisis” situation, the key is not to see it as a crisis, not to take it personally, or even take on the responsibility, those are all ways of becoming self-conscious and takes you out of being present for what is happening.  


In these situations, and really any other coaching situation, when you are not sure what to do, pause, relax, get quiet, what is it that you don’t know?, ask a question, keep asking until it is clear, from the clarity that brings take action or ask more questions, in this way everything will be resolved.  The real key is the pause and getting the mind quiet.

The bottom line as a coach is if you don’t have what the client needs, get them to someone that does.  Especially at Level 0.


In the next few weeks I will be going up through the levels and explain the tools for working with each.  Next week Level I  Emotional Reaction.


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