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Retreat 2014 @F-L-O-W

Preview of a coaching session

Tim, one of our Inner Circle members, was reviewing a video of him being coached by Developmentalist Mike R. Jay during last year’s Retreat @F-L-O-W.  The following is Tim’s testimonial and some follow-up content between him and Mike.  Following that are some segments of the coaching session, which was voluntary, during the retreat.

FYI: This is unsolicited – I just reviewed some of the video of last year’s retreat and was re-amazed.

What Mike does at the in-person retreats is nothing shy of phenomenal!

Especially if a person shows up willing to play. The value there, on a personal level, is rocking!

To see Mike take the theoretical and make it practical simply juices all these ideas into reality.

Hope to see many of you there!

All the best.


It was him "doing" me in a one on one deconstruct session.
If you want I will send it. You might be interested in for the meta perspective of how this system can be applied.
Mostly it is me talking about me and my world.
Let me know if you want I will send it.


There is something about this work that makes it "psychoactive".

In the case of introversion, at least those that are leaning into development or being dragged along by it…there is something about this kind of work which lends itself to being a "sliver in the mind".

Most people in the past have used "psychoactive drugs" to stretch the mind, or to pierce the current balloon of our perspective and I think over the years, the Freudian work, and Jung, and others have shown that "embedded" learning as this is problem a symptom of seems to cause psychoactive elements to "reengineer" to the extent possible our neurosynaptical environment, where possible.

I do think neuroplasticity is relevant, and of course is the key in the rewiring of stage growth, otherwise we would remain static rather than continue to be dynamics in our developmental processes.

More than likely "genetics" guide upper and lower limits of development, or the range at which development is "right" for us over the course of a lifetime. If you don’t get what you need in this life, you can always look forward–as my ole ball coach used to say–keep running it until you get it right. I think he was a ZEN COACH because there is sure a lot of karma in making mistakes when there are large people running around trying to "tackle" you.

MORE than likely, development serves some kind of spiritual process in the world, as well as serving many of evolution’s ideas about fitness and such. So, as we work with psychoactive processes, we experience not only developmental growth but spiritual redesign as well, to accommodate the new environment of development.

While I can’t promise you the experience Tim had, we can begin to reveal tools that have the effect of becoming psychoactive to exercise the neuroplasticity that all of us seem to possess in inborn degrees–the key being to not compare or contrast, but to experience that which serves your being, doing, having, becoming, and contribution.

These kinds of experiences are not for everyone, but the tools we discuss are going to be present whether you use them, or they get used on you in this VUCA World we have entered.


Psychoactive is correct. Mike often talks of coaching as planting seeds that may or may not germinate and crack the rock, crack the block.

As I watched the video, I could glimpse the cracks when Mike would ask a question or offer a perspective that actively opened my psyche: big eyes, wide smile, and/or vigorous head nod.

I have not watched this video much since last year’s retreat. Yet as Mike often says, indeed he said it in the video, this work is being done anyway. Stepping into the work more consciously just may grease it more.

Also as Mike wrote below: it is not for everyone. My caveat to that is that Mike, from my own watching of him with others in sessions like these, does not use the same techniques with different individuals. Perhaps the same underlying model but it manifests or morphs to the client.

With me, in this video, he really plays the roles of coach, consultant, teacher, and anti-mentor.

An interesting residual to this is from the perspective of time. To watch it from the perspective of the present, when it happened, and to watch it from the perspective of now and to be struck how truth deepens. His insights, and mine, made in video, teach and touch deeply.

It is challenging to hold those truths in the moment over moment, through time. It is encouraging to revisit them and see how, without much effort, I am moving toward that deeper hold on truth. Of what I am becoming.

[Frog out of the freezer]

I want to tell you the idea that I have held for a long time. Whether I have been able to execute the strategy or not, is up for debate, but here’s why I developed and taught COACH2 the way I have and why I do what I do–It’s based on Tim’s note below.

[This is timely because I’m struggling with this now without an answer fyi.]

During the first part of my coaching career, I noticed that I just gave advice, I was impatient and couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t do what I asked–this included my brief foray into coaching athletes.

Coming out of "mediation" training in the 80s, for the USA Farm Program done with the Farm Credit, we learned how to facilitate each sides point of view <–definitely not coaching.

EVEN Goleman writing in HBR 2000 – Leadership That Gets Results Noted:

"…works well when employees are already aware of their weaknesses and want to improve, but not when they are resistant to change…" — describing "The Coaching Style."

This last part was clear to me by the late 90’s when I started training coaches, and in order to "avoid resistance" to change, you have to find where people are (in transit to where they are going) and work with them there, or no more than 1/2 level away [Graves], this includes all: vertical, oblique, and horizontal "levels." You have to be considerate of their KSE level as well, if you can say level–on its side!

YET, the psychoactive elements that you could insert into the subconscious–which btw, maybe the only thing "listening" is a bit of a crapshoot, but often worth making a shot at if the "opening" occurs and connection is made.

In order to make this happen, coaches using this model HAVE TO UNDERSTAND DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES, which means we have to be able to have a dynamic GPS running to gauge where the person is, where they are likely to go, and how fast they are going to get there.

Now, teaching this is another thing because the mechanics in intuiting/recognizing stage and transition within a stage to know, are they beginning, middle, or end; is a bit dicey to say the least. It requires a much deeper understanding of meaning making than anyone realizes–at least to do this on the fly.

AND, you want to get some assessment data to help out, which is why I almost insist that all the people I work with, do some personality assessments and the LDMA, which I have found is easy and reliable because it relies on the same mechanism that coaching relies on for verifying data and that is "probing for elaboration" of the person’s meaning making, or in some cases, the sense-making models.

Without this baseline data, it’s pretty tough to "pin the tail on the donkey" unless you have a lot of experience and you school your intuition, because your intuition gets fooled a lot.

In order to insert psychoactive elements into the meaning making system, you have to provide the person with perspective, mostly from their own system–to avoid an immune response–and to make it easier to fit with their system of making meaning in time and over time. In order to do that, you have to have an understanding of guess what?

Yep: Capability, BIAS, Style, Level, Role, Values, and System Dynamics.

Of course, this is a pretty tall order to get right, but here’s what most people don’t get and can’t grok!


Anytime you interact with another person, you are running these dynamics and more to establish a subconscious context for the four Fs: Fight, Flight, Food, or Procreation…in the simplest form, and subconsciously your 200,000 year-old genome is busily figuring out is this friend, or foe, should I eat it, or mate with it, should I be on guard, or laugh…etc.

All I’m doing by naming and codifying these dynamics is merely offering a way to understand and "train/assess" what is already happening in each of us already; albeit with more complexity, and hopefully, more explanatory power.

I’m not saying everyone should learn this, but I am saying that if it’s already going on, would you like to know how to work with it, work on it metacognitively.


Metacognition is the key to almost all forms of happiness and success in today’s VUCA world.

Most of us are not going to be fit, nor served up the environment on a platter, it’s going to be more and more of a "fitness project" that most think and especially leaders who are going to have to override a lot of instinctual behavior that is likely going to get them into positions of leadership.

By knowing how to begin to "know, study, and learn" about our selves and the BEHAVIORAL MetaDYNAMICS that are running the show, we can often–as a bit actor–swing the momentum favorably, and if not, often know why, and keep running that play as long as we have the ball.

While I truly believe in the power and efficacy of Resilience and Anti-fragility, Metacognition is as important and deserves to have the first spot in any leader’s toolkit.

As Tim reminded me of his own "metacognitive" journey, and how as "Joe Black" says to Susan Parish near the end of the movie when she asks what they should do…"It will come to us."

That’s essentially what happens, "it comes to us."

The psychoactive nature of offering clues and breadcrumbs for the person being coached is key and requires a form of "detachment" from your own S*** as well as a lack of worry about whether "success" is achieved, which can be very hard on your pocketbook as a coach–>"…people are resisting change."

Usually, when people resist change, they have found a way to serve their values in a very important and leveraging way. The movement away from that requires a huge shift often, which is not possible in time, as the person is nodal, rather than exiting that particular metacognitive frame. So as I have said many times, it’s like trying to teach a pig to sing, it doesn’t work, and it ANNOYS the pig.

If you grok any of what I’m saying, you can move away from forcing, trying to get accountability work done, except in those areas that are supported in the values position and look at scaffolding in the system, the role, and other external devices that would, can get the person through until they are less-resistant to change.

MOST OF THE TIME, people change when they have to….

It’s a fact of life. People don’t really want to or like to change (some: 1-5% run a change program, so yea, they are the changelings).

So, understanding how to insert psychoactive elements, usually when a person’s shields are down is the easiest way to lay the breadcrumbs in place. Almost all of our own change happens (that which is not traumatic) in that way developmental, an often hiccup type movement from one place on the developmental transit to another, fits and starts and long periods of nodal comfort–good, bad, or ugly.

Understanding where people are in that transit process allows you to know human dignity and also to interact in ways that are compassionate and safe–usually–for the person being coached.


Coach2 session @F-L-O-W   Coach2 @F-L-O-W part 2  Coach2 @F-L-O-W Part 3

The full coach2 session is 17:46 minutes long.  To access it, and take in the full experience, complete the form below.  As part of our 2015 Programs @F-L-O-W, Mike will be presenting the Coach2 training for those who enroll early.  Visit HERE to learn more.

View the Coaching Session

Complete the form below to view a 17:46 minute coaching session with Mike Jay.




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