The Deepest Practice

I have clients who I have worked with as a coach for years and we explore and find amazing areas for growth, for release, and for understanding. The process of coaching, in a short burst, often heals or resolves an immediate issue, but in a longer term coaching relationship, what I notice, is that the client gradually develops a new way of seeing and being in the world that is profound, and there is no limit.

I’ve also noticed that the clients who eventually incorporate their relationship into their coaching get opened up to a whole other level of discovery and understanding. Couples coaching is amazing because its no longer just the client and I working with their own perception of themselves. When we bring in the person in the relationship there is a whole other level of reflection, accountability and feedback that we get to work with. This often takes things to the next level for both people and for the relationship.

Relationship, especially primary relationship, is one of the most challenging practices there is. If you notice, many deeply spiritual people go into monasteries, and they can develop a relationship with themselves or whatever they consider the universe or god. The giving up or renunciation of relationship, money or business, things that make life a struggle, may accelerate that opportunity to experience the transcendent or the spiritual.

Most of us, however, or most of you reading this blog, would be considered in the Vedic tradition as “householders”. Meaning that we are operating businesses, we are in relationship, that we are raising children. We have beautiful and challenging parts of our life to learn from. Business itself can be an amazing teacher and practice, as well as parenting. And, as many of us know, the direct connection with another person in a primary relationship can be a very powerful (and challenging) practice.

I put them in the category of practice, because we often think of them as something to meet our needs or fill our lives, but more than anything they require us to grow and develop ourselves, which makes it a practice. That’s why Inquiry Method is such a powerful tool for self-discovery, but also for developing, refining and amplifying relationships. The more you can bring Inquiry to any of your relationships, in particular, your primary relationship, the more you can practice discovering love, discovering connection, and discovering the capacity in yourself to open to one of the great challenges of life.

 


We are in the process of scheduling all of our coaching clients for the next 6 months. Email us if you’d like to learn more about coaching with Kyle on a regular basis.

Best Way to Ask for a Raise

In Inquiry Management, as an employee, we gain and can develop the skill of managing up.

Managing up means that through the process of inquiry up and passing problems up, we are able to develop our relationship and secure success within an organization. An example of this, I call, “the best way to ask for a raise.”

The best way to ask for a raise is: At your next review, one-on-one, or even a meeting that you arrange, ask the person who you report up to, what you would have to do to be worth X% more or X dollars more to the company 6 months from now or a year from now. And then listen carefully. Different responses are possible.

One response would be that there is nothing you can do to be worth more in 6 months or a year. That is great info to know. You’ll know there is no upward mobility and you can start accepting it and be happy with it, or you can start looking for a new job.

A second answer may be that you can get a raise if you are able to develop x skill, to learn to do spreadsheets, increase sales by x%, be able to demonstrate a certain capacity or attitude, or something else. With any of these responses, you would want to ask more and make it measurable so that it is something you could both agree on. The beauty of this system is that once they agree, you’ve already made the agreement for the raise. So you don’t have to worry about asking for it, you can just focus on doing what you need to do to get it.

If you are in a company that employs Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership then you can check in on your progress in your weekly meetings or one on ones. If you aren’t, maybe you can just check in on a monthly or weekly basis about how you are doing towards your goal and how they feel about your work. That way you keep focusing on and honoring the agreement you’ve made.

From a management point of view, I recommend doing this with the people who report to you. Make these kinds of agreements. That way, with raises, you are actually able to continue to develop and guide the development of your workforce. Make sure that you are actually incentivizing activities and goals that support and amplify the goals and success of the organization.


Want more like this? Check out our ECourse and EBook on Inquiry Management.

Pushing Problems Up

As most of you know, I do business coaching as well as personal coaching. I want to shift to talking about business coaching today. This blog is based on a session I recently did with a corporate client. The company does construction work and I visited a satellite office to meet with their staff and introduce them to Inquiry Management and Leadership concepts. I did an overview before meeting with everyone individually, and I want to share a section I led about one of the principles we covered in the Inquiry Management section.

Inquiry Management

  1. A technique and practices for the operation of an organization and hierarchical relationships that amplify the growth and success of the individual toward shared goals and objectives.
  2. A way of organizing relationships within an organization around mentoring relationships rather than the traditional authoritarian boss/employee model.
  3. A commitment to creating accountability that requires leaders to be the most open, committed, engaged, members of the organization, who see their role as growing and inspiring people

A key principle of Inquiry Management is what I call “pushing problems up.”

You can listen to the recorded version here, or scroll down to read the blog

Everyone argues with me about this at first. People say “That’s not the way it works. You don’t push problems up; you bring answers to your boss. You come with solutions. You think about it and then you handle it on your own.” But, it works.

When I first started working with this client, the CEO said: Every job has these problems that get buried in them. And, then they come out at the end and they cost us a quarter million dollars. We go from profitable to loss or break even. I just hate it when those things come up.

We’ve been working together for a while now, and we’ve made huge strides on this by building a culture of Inquiry Management that includes the principle of pushing problems up.

Because, IF you can push your problems up, you can get coaching on how to resolve it, you can solve the problem before it becomes a big problem, and the problem can be pushed up to the level at which it can be resolved.

For instance, let’s say I’m working on a building estimate. There is an engineer who doesn’t report to me but who I’m parallel to who I need information from in order to be able to do the estimate. I’m having trouble getting the data out of them. I keep asking them – “Can you get me the data?” I even use inquiry – “When could you get me the data?” And, they still aren’t doing it. They don’t answer to me so I’m powerless in the situation. And, if I keep trying to deal with it on my own, I may end up way behind, and then someone will be upset and frustrated with me.

But, if I go one step up to whoever I report to and say “I’m really having trouble finishing this estimate because I’m not getting what I need from engineering.” My boss may ask if I’ve tried this or that, but when I’ve shown I’ve gone thru the options, they’ll realize this is out of my hands and that they need to do something about it. And, if the engineer doesn’t report to them, they’ll have to have to raise it one more level up and talk to whoever they need to talk to so they can understand that it’s a priority to get you this information.

So, in this process, it gets pushed up to the level where it can be addressed. It might go all the way up; it might go all the way up to the President, or it might go all the way up to the CEO. Because, the problem may be highlighting that we need to hire more engineers, or we need another company to work with, or we need a budget change, or we need to delay the bid on this job.

The problems need to go up to the level where they happen, where they can be solved. And, if the problem goes all the way up then the solution doesn’t go just to you, the solution also gets distributed out to the whole organization.

So, we don’t want to be hesitant about pushing our problems up.

The difference is that if I’m struggling on a job and I’m getting farther and farther behind while I’m trying to handle it myself and then eventually it comes out that it’s a mess. That would be terrible and on me. But, if at the beginning, I just keep reporting up what is happening on the job and what I’m having trouble with, I can solve things before they’re bigger problems.

It also helps takes the pressure off: Let’s say I’m having trouble with the subcontractors and I report it to my boss, and my boss says they don’t know how to handle it either. Now, I’ve transferred the accountability from me to my boss. Because, if my boss can’t tell me how to handle it or fix it, it’s their problem. If they can tell me how to fix it, or can help me figure out how to fix it, it’s my problem. But as long as I can’t fix it (and this is the beauty of being in an organization with hierarchy) I can keep pushing my problems up until they teach me, show me how to solve it, or change the system itself.

Even with our personal struggles, we want to push problems up. It helps you build your skills and helps to get your mentor more invested in you.

For instance, if I report to you and you’re my mentor, and I say I’m having a hard time getting organized. You may have a solution for me to use to improve. So, if I push the problem up to you, it’s not that I’m bad. I am just showing you my weakness I want to fix. And, you’re my mentor, you’ve seen my weaknesses and you want to help me get better. And, as I bring you my problem, you become more invested in me. The more you help me, the more invested you become in me. You’ve put a lot in me, so you want to see me advance and you want to support me. That is part of management. We really have to use the people we report to as mentors and ask them to help us. We have to be willing to be vulnerable enough to share what we are really struggling with.


Click here for my eCourse where you will be taught the fundamentals of Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership, or email us at info@inquirymethod.com if you are interested in learning more about business coaching.

Emptying Out

Emptying out is an important life practice, as we go through our day/lives we accumulate thoughts, impressions, feelings, ideas, hurts, judgments, etc. There is a way that these things start to block our system, like a form of mental or emotional constipation.

It is important to clear our system out regularly to a safe listener. Some people know this consciously or unconsciously and practice it regularly with friends. Others don’t practice it and don’t necessarily value it or understand it. Part of this is that we are often conditioned to fix problems and focus on that, rather than listening.

Fixing is not the point, emptying out and being heard is the point.

I often give the talking stick exercise (practice) to my relationship clients to practice this and create a new dynamic in the relationship. It is wonderful to have a partner to whom you can empty out to. Emptying out feels clean, it clears up your thinking and reasoning and opens up your clogged mind to be free to think about creating things, gratitude, love, socializing, playing, and anything else you would like it to be doing rather than being stuck in endless loops of thinking and perseveration.

Read more about the talking stick exercise in this earlier blog

Reducing Your Shoulder

A good friend of mine dislocated his shoulder at a retreat I attended last week.  A dislocated shoulder is very painful and scary; my friend had amazing composure and presence in his discomfort.  However you cannot, like in the movies, put it back in yourself, you need help.

I have been trained how to “reduce” (the term for putting it back in the socket) a dislocated shoulder but I have never done it, two very different things. We made a call and got additional professional instruction, which involved my friend laying face down on a massage table, supporting my friend to relax and let go, and then gently pulling down and rotating his arm back into place.  It happened easier than we could imagine. It dropped back in almost effortlessly, painlessly, to tears of relief and gratitude.

Inquiry Method is the same.  Inquiry Method works because we receive loving, skilled support.  It works because we are in connection. It works because we are held.  It works because we can deeply relax. It works because we can allow ourselves to return to our natural state.  Our being wants to return to wholeness.

We are never broken, but we may have some things dislocated.  If you want to reduce your dislocation, get skilled loving support. Put yourself in the position and location where you can resolve your dislocation and allow yourself to receive support.  When you resolve your dislocation you will experience tears of relief and joy as you return to your natural state of wholeness.

 

 

 


Looking for a place like this? Come to an event or schedule a call to talk through how we can support you

Freedom

In preparing for The Freedom Experience coming up in three weeks, November 30th – December 3rd, I have realized the implications of my new learning and understanding, and have seen how it will profoundly affect this experience.

Each one of the experiences, the Mountain Experience and the Freedom Experience, are designed to work with a different level of consciousness. At the Mountain Experience, we learn to recognize that we are not the emotional pain that we carry. We grow and move to the next level when we can separate ourselves from it and ultimately heal it. The Freedom Experience is the step after this, and has different goals.

At the Freedom Experience, we learn to disentangle from self-judgements and identities that we may have associated with ourselves. As we know, “nothing can be solved at the Level of Consciousness that created it.” First, to resolve our conflict we must go to a higher level. When we recognize that we have judgement on some aspect of ourselves, we do not eliminate the judgement, but we notice it. In noticing the judgement that we have on ourselves, an amazing thing happens to us: we go to the next level of consciousness. We no longer believe the judgement is us. By doing that, we can notice the behavior, the part of us that is showing up that may be inappropriate, that may or may not be serving.

When we get to the level of consciousness where our judgement ends, we resolve an inner conflict that steals our energy and keeps us from being fully ourselves. As we begin to recognize and ease our judgments in the Freedom Experience, we will have more agency in the choices we make.

We hope that you will join us on this journey.

Love,

Kyle

Storytelling

When I begin to work with a new coaching client, our first objective is to teach them how to open up to become the most coachable. I define “coachability” as “the ability to receive from other people”. As I talked about in my dysfunctional independence  blog, our need to be independent has made us less coachable. I believe the skill of coachability has been lost. Also refer to my vulnerability  blog where I discuss that vulnerability is “a willingness to be changed by somebody else”.

One of the obstacles to coachability can be storytelling. Whether I am working with someone individually or with a group in the Mountain Experience, people can get into telling stories. A story is simply someone’s mind and ego repeating what they have already decided about the situation. Monologues, storytelling, control the situation and are simply about sharing a viewpoint with someone else. To really make change and create vulnerability, we have to drop the monologue, the story, and make it into a dialogue.

Often, when somebody is continuously talking, I tell them to hold on. I explain that we are currently in a place of storytelling, which will get us nowhere. I suggest moving to a place of dialogue, where we can have growth and evolution.

As a small caveat, there is nothing wrong with storytelling in and of itself. It is a powerful way to communicate and share your experience with people. However, in the context in creating change through Inquiry method, it is simply ineffective.

With this blog, as I do with most of my blogs, I suggest simply keeping this observation in your mind. This can lead you to greater awareness. As you go through your week, try to notice when people are in dialogue and when people are in monologue. Look out for when they were doing it, and when it was working. Look out for it with your employees, with your family, with your friends, and most especially with your self.

Love,

Kyle

Life at Altitude: A Podcast by Kyle Mercer

Hello everybody!

I’ve got some exciting news to share with you! As much as I’ve enjoyed writing blogs, I’ve always wanted to record podcasts to share my work, insights and inspirations. I am pleased to announce that we have made lots of progress in making this dream a reality in the past few weeks…

We have purchased top-notch recording equipment, hired Krishan Guzzo as our producer, and have begun to record some of our first podcasts. The podcast is called Life at Altitude, and our goal is to share Inquiry Method™ with you so that you can experience and maintain a higher level of consciousness. We plan on doing this through monologues, clips from the Mountain and Freedom Experiences, interviews and more. Personally speaking, this release is so timely, as these days it feels like I can so clearly and concisely articulate what my work and the experiences are all about.

We need your help to make this a success! I would love to hear your thoughts on what is most meaningful to you, what you like to hear about and your guidance on the format of the show. I also intend to record some sessions where I answer questions that you submit, so please let me know any questions you may have to inspire these conversations.

There is no need to worry- the blogs and my quotes will remain as well, as they have been so warmly welcomed by you all! I thank you for your continued support and feedback; you truly are the source of my inspiration! These podcasts will serve as another exciting way for me to connect with you on another dimension where you will be able to feel my intention on a deeper level.

Life at Altitude can be found on our website, https://inquirymethod.com/podcasts/. We are also on iTunes Podcasts and Google Play under ‘Life at Altitude’.

Looking forward to sharing with you and receiving your feedback!

Love,

Kyle

Teaching, Coaching, Mentoring

I often use these three terms in regards to what I do. It is important to understand the differences between them as you work to master Inquiry Method and Inquiry Management.

Teaching is telling others about a subject or information and encouraging them to explore and learn the information. I often teach when I want to help people see things that they have not been aware of or explore into subjects and material that is new, revolutionary or radical. We cannot be coached into areas we have not explored, teachers are necessary to help us into new territory. Teaching is a wonderful and useful skill that can be mastered and irreplaceable in certain circumstances.

Coaching is the capacity to set yourself aside and use inquiry to help people come to their own understanding of themselves or a situation. I consider coaching a higher principal than teaching because it requires a person to set aside their ego in order to be present to help and understand another person. True coaching requires a person to develop themselves to an altitude where they do not need to be the center of attention, but can offer attention to another person to stimulate their growth, depth, healing, and inspiration. Interestingly, a person’s ability to coach is exactly equal to their capacity to be coached.

Mentoring is the highest state of interacting with another person. This is the condition where we have achieved a high level of mastery in some area, we have nothing left to prove, we wish to share our wisdom and capacity, but we don’t need to. Mentoring combines teaching and coaching with something more: deep insight into others, deep compassion, and self-acceptance. Mentors transmit their ability on many levels: verbally, with how they are being, and in a more subtle way that is hard to define. The people who get the most out of mentors are not only highly capable learners, but they are also able to set their egos aside. There is a quality of devotion to one’s mentor that allows a special kind of transmission to occur. This is most apparent in people who have already achieved some ability in coaching and coach-ability.

Take some time to understand these different capacities in depth. At what level are you performing in different areas in your life? At work? With your spouse? With your children? Friends?

To what level do you aspire? How would you have to grow to master the level that interests you?

Dive Into Every Knothole

People usually come to see me because they are experiencing some intolerable situation that is causing pain. We can be grateful to pain because it is always pointing us back to the true path. Pain will increase as we wander away from truth and harmony until by default, we must return to it or suffer. Unfortunately, in our culture we tend to want to avoid pain as long as possible so we drug it or cope with it or find ways to ignore it, but it always keeps popping back out in some way (think whack-a-mole).

The only real solution is to go into the pain. Often, it has to get bad before we are willing to do this. By the way, you don’t need pain to grow; it is simply a signal that lets you know things are out of balance.

The reason that I offer ongoing mentoring is because it increases the amount of time a person spends in joy and harmony and decreases the amount of time in suffering. In ongoing mentoring, we seize opportunities to go into the pain, to go into the crisis or difficulty and we avoid reverting or giving in to the coping mechanisms already in place that have become a well-worn path. In ongoing mentoring we take all advantages to find what is in the way of freedom, joy and harmony and we regularly clear those issues to stay healthy and pain free, to stay on the path. Over time this is the path that becomes well-worn and being off of it feels hard and unfulfilling. But to get coached regularly you have to like to go through knotholes or at least be adventurous and curious enough to be willing.

Going through knotholes is uncomfortable and you have to shed many things to go through them. If you stay away from the knotholes you will again start to accumulate stuff, you will loose your way again, and the next knothole will feel painful and difficult.

My philosophy is to go through every knothole I can find; to address every pain and discomfort that is trying to lead me back to the path of harmony and joy. So I recommend searching out and diving into every knothole you can find and thereby learning to stay clear and unencumbered on your path. Every knothole leads to more joy.