Photo by OSTILL/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by OSTILL/iStock / Getty Images

The consciousness of flow coaching has a direct effect on the consciousness of competition, and what occurs with flow coaching is that the objective of what is being coached changes as the coach’s consciousness changes, and that change is from a coaching objective of winning to a coaching objective of transformation. As woo-woo as that sounds to conventional coaches, there is one thing about flow coaching that is anything but woo-woo. When athletes compete in the zone, they win more often than when they compete in the norm. So the conventional coaching objective of winning is already baked into the cake that is flow coaching.

But there is more to this transformation than just a transformation in competitive performance. There is also a deeper transformation of self that occurs when you get in the zone, and that is the transformation out of ego and into the Authentic Self. Integral, flow coaching  starts with this awakening of the athlete’s Authentic Self through coaching practices that teach athletes how to intentionally co-create the flow experience, then how to maintain and stabilize flow’s underlying structure and process, and, in so doing, how to maintain and stabilize the Authentic Self during practice and then during competition.

Winning takes a back seat to the transformation that lies at the heart of flow coaching and competitive consciousness. Athletes still win, mind you, and they win more often when they compete in the zone, but with the shift into the zone’s integral consciousness comes a new perspective on competition as well as a new perspective on who you are as competitor and human being.

Competition becomes a practice in which and by which your Authentic Self is stabilized and developed. And with the stabilization of the Authentic Self, your egoic self is steadily destabilized and seen objectively from the perspective of your new competitive subject – your Authentic Self. 

Thus the transformation of self begins with the intentional co-creation of flow where your Authentic Self is developed in a fast-moving, problem-solving, and decision-making athletic environment that mirrors the fast-moving, problem-solving, decision-making environment of your daily life. It would make sense that if we can perform at a higher level in athletic competition by competing in the zone, then would we not perform at a higher level in life’s daily competitions if we also performed in the zone?

Here again, the notion of living life in a flow state seems totally woo-woo to conventional consciousness, never mind coaching consciousness. But with each peak experience in sport comes the awakening of the Authentic Self and a more inclusive and expansive perspective of reality. The problem is that these peak experiences are random, fleeting, at best, transitory.

But what if those peak experiences could occur more often and be stabilized over time? What if you could actually learn to co-create those peak experiences at will, intentionally? What then? Would you want to learn how to do just that? Would you want to learn how to co-create the zone at will?

You’d think people would jump at the chance to experience this radically different state of being, and you would be partially correct. Some people would look into it as something to stop the boredom they feel with their everyday lives; others would think you are full of crap; just another new-age, self-helper with fancy talk and big hair. But some, especially athletes and coaches, are looking for new and different techniques that will help them get in the zone as competitors and teach the zone as coaches.

That’s the trajectory of coaching and competitive evolution. Flow by choice, not by chance. Again, some will think it’s woo-woo, while others will see it as new and different coaching consciousness that may or may not fit into their coaching program. But some, those who are looking for something a little deeper and more substantial, will see the transformative nature of integral coaching and competitive consciousness as the leading edge of sports evolution.

Post-conventional and millennial coaches are primary candidates for making the leap to integral coaching practices. Some are already there, but most are still sloshing around through the muck and mire of conventional linear mechanism, looking to escape its relentless cage of serial thinking. These millennial coaches are open to integral coaching methodologies as well as the radical shift in objective and perspective that comes with integral coaching and competitive consciousness.

If there is a target audience for integral coaching, I don’t think it’s the coaches at the conventional stage of development. Too much time spent in the box makes outside-the-box approaches a waste of everybody's time. Leave conventional coaches alone and look to post-conventional and millennial coaches who already have one foot outside the box and are looking for a reason to extricate the other. Coaching their athletes to compete in the zone is a powerful reason to step outside the box, and maybe, just maybe, it’s the most powerful reason of all.