“I’ll show you mine and you show me yours” – Julian Russell

Julian Russell is a deep coach enabling personal evolution through workshops, the 16-day Life Talent Programme, private coaching and executive coaching on 3 continents. Julian is a UK Regional Representative for IAGC.

In my recent article on Deep Coaching: third generation coaching, including how Generative Coaching is a third generation model,  I described 3 components of deep coaching:


  1. Somatic: engaging the felt sense.
  2. Body-mind problem-solving: uses body-mind states to bring the best of the nervous system to bear, in solving problems.
  3. Turning the wound into a gift: “utilisation” is when all of the client’s experience is seen as having a gift to offer.

During the last few days I have been wondering whether I should include a fourth component.

There is a description of hypnosis that I remember from 30 years ago, but I can’t remember the source of it:  In Victorian times stage hypnosis was a popular variety show performance, but only a limited number of people would go into trance because the show was about the power of the hypnotist, and most people didn’t want to overpowered. When the Behaviorists came along, they suggested that hypnosis depended on the suggestibility of the client, and a greater number of people were willing to follow hypnotic inductions. Finally, Milton Erickson said something like the following: “You have a conscious mind and I have a conscious mind, and you have an unconscious mind and I have an unconscious mind, and together we can explore creative possibilities”.

This idea, that the hypnotist, therapist or coach should go into the altered state with the client has been in NLP for as long as I can remember, and Steve Gilligan, from Erickson’s tradition, has demonstrated this since I first met him in the 1980’s. In Generative coaching we see it explicitly in the COACH state, but you would also expect to see the coach enter a generative state with the client during the other steps in the Generative Coaching process.

In NLP this is called “pacing and leading”: you first join the client in their world and then you lead them, through your own behaviour and state, into the state of consciousness that is generative for the problem-solving activity. However, most Classic Code NLPers, in my humble opinion, don’t have the confidence and the skill to let go of their own conscious control into a body-mind state where their unconscious is spontaneously interacting with the client in a generative way.  John Grinder and Judith Delozier’s New Code NLP was much more state-based than the classic NLP, and they developed a number of exercises where both the coach and the client were engaging in altered state activity.

A prototypical example is “3 Points of Attention”, which I believed entered the New Code NLP lexicon when John Grinder co-trained with Steve Gilligan and saw Steve demonstrate this.  In the 3 Points of Attention exercise, the coach sits with his hands on his knees and looks in the client’s eyes and says “You can see my eyes, you can see my hands and you can see your hands”, thus suggesting to the client that they engage peripheral vision (field vision) rather than just foveal vision (focused vision). The coach might also add “and I can see your eyes, my hands and your hands.” The idea is that the trance induction be symmetrical – both the coach and the client simultaneously going into a generative field. The coach can repeat this a number of times to take it deeper, perhaps pointing out that “while you are looking in my eyes, can see my hands, can see your hands, you can also see the floor and the ceiling”. Once both coach and client are in a hypnotic state the coach says “As you look in my eyes, and can see my hands and can see your hands, allow a symbol to emerge that represents the resolution of the question (or problem) you have been asking”.  The coach then supports the client interacting with the image, and then eventually a way of bringing the image into the body and integrating the new learnings.

 I am sure lots has been written about this symmetrical entry into a generative state – if you happen to have references for me, please let me know! You can contact me at Julian.Russell@lifetalent.com . You can comment at the bottom of this blog but in previous blogs we have been overwhelmed with spam, so using the comments section is trial and error at this point.

 Julian Russell has private client coaching at his practice in Hampstead, North London, as well as executive coaching clients on several continents. I also run a deep coaching 20-day personal transformation programme called The Life Talent Programme. If you wish to discuss coaching with me, email me at julian.russell@lifetalent.com.

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