74. 3 Principles of Coaching with Michael Neill - Evercoach - By Mindvalley

May 3, 2022

74. 3 Principles of Coaching with Michael Neill

A coach can really coach anyone if they understand the fundamentals of how human beings work, which master coach Michael Neill describes as the "3 principles." In today’s episode, Coach Ajit interviews transformational coach, renowned speaker,...

A coach can really coach anyone if they understand the fundamentals of how human beings work, which master coach Michael Neill describes as the "3 principles."

In today’s episode, Coach Ajit interviews transformational coach, renowned speaker, best-selling author, and podcast host of Caffeine for the Soul, Michael Neill, as they dive deep into the 3 principles of coaching and how to create transformation for your clients using these principles.

Michael explains how these principles break down how human beings work and can coach anyone and create massive shifts in their lives by using them. If you've been looking for a proven coaching methodology that stems from the nature of our being and works for everyone, this episode is for you.

Key Insights:

  • The 3 principles of coaching.
  • How human beings operate in the world.
  • Using the 3 principles in coaching and how to explain them to clients.
  • Ways one can start implementing the 3 principles in their own life.
  • What is innate intelligence and how does it work?
  • Access the full training and coaching demonstration by Michael Neill inside the Evercoach Membership.

Ajit Nawalkha (00:00):
You are listening to Master Coaching with Ajit, a podcast that inspires coaches to impact lives of their clients. More meaningfully, I am Coach Ajit and I'm known for coaching high performers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. I'm also a serial entrepreneur and author of many books. On this podcast, I am answering your burning questions. I'm also demonstrating and deconstructing behind the scenes coaching sessions.

Ajit Nawalkha (00:35):
And today I have one of the most profound coaches in the world on the Master Coaching with Ajit podcast. You see, a few years ago when I first started coaching, one of the first books that every single coach told me to read was a book named Supercoach. And then after that, I was consistently reminded to read the book called Inside-Out Revolution. It was only when I read these books, I learned how powerful the ideas, the philosophies in these books were. And then I met the author of this book, Michael Neill who's my guest today, I realized how simple and profound coaching can be if we were to engage in dialogues like this. I was fortunate to capture one of such conversations with Michael. Michael coaches through what is called the three principles. And I call his coaching three principles coaching. What Michael does is he fundamentally breaks down on how human beings work.

Ajit Nawalkha (01:32):
And using these three principles approach, he's able to coach anyone, be it a CEO, be it an athlete, be it a person, be it a struggling single dad, or be it a relationship. Be it anything. Michael has coached individuals at all levels by using the three principals approach. And I find that if we put our time effort, dialogue that we have with other coaches in our trainings, in our coaching practices around these three principles, we can become an extraordinarily powerful coach. I'm so humbled that I get a chance to sit with Michael once in a while and get to have such profound conversations. And today I have an opportunity to share that conversation with you. So I'm gonna stop talking and now you're gonna listen to a conversation between me and Michael that were previously only available to Evercoach members is now available on this podcast. Now, while I say that, I do wanna remind you if you want to take a deeper dive in Michael's work, you should consider looking at the Evercoach Membership.

Ajit Nawalkha (02:32):
We have a full quest where you get to take a deep dive in three principles way of coaching and learn from Michael himself. So if you haven't yet subscribed, go ahead, take the time to look up Evercoach Membership and join us inside the membership platform. But for now, even if nothing else enjoy this conversation, I know you talk a lot about the three principles. I've learned a ton about it. Let's for the sake of this conversation, like first let's capture what are the three principles and how do they work and how do they show up in our lives?

Michael Neill (03:02):
Well, so to contextualize the conversation, the question behind the question, like the question that every coach to my mind should be asking at some level is how does it really work? How does the human experience really work? How does performance really work? What's the nature of it, as opposed to the norm. So we know it's normal that you get really scared and you push through the fear and you do that. But is that natural? Is that how we're designed to work? Or is that just a cultural habit? One of the things that we're sort of trained to look for as coaches is difference. So what Enneagram type is somebody usually is not what star sign are they, but it it's like, okay, what, you know, how is this person, how do you work with this kind of person versus this kind of person, that kind of person versus that kind of person. For me, the more interesting and more helpful question is how are we the same?

Michael Neill (03:52):
What is the commonality? What is always true for everybody? I remember being interviewed in the Czech Republic and just saying, well, how do you work with high net worth individuals, as opposed to this and successful people, as opposed to that. And to me, it missed the point that if you understand, what's true for everyone, no matter what you can work with anyone. And what I found in my work is that there are essentially three things that I absolutely can guarantee no matter who I sit down with, this is going to be going on in the background. And one is that they think that might seem really obvious. Like, oh yeah, we know who cares. No, I think sometimes, but we live in a world of thought, we can't escape our own thinking and we can quiet it for a bit, but we don't see how much of what we see is made up inside.

Michael Neill (04:42):
And so what'll happen is you'll have people work on getting better thinking or changing their client's thinking, but they're trying to change their client's thinking about a thing. How do I change their thinking about money? How do I change their thinking about business? How do I change their thinking about a challenge, not seeing that money business and their challenge are made of thought. So it's not like there's a, a real cup. And how do I change their thinking about the cup? There's no such thing as business. You can't put it in a wheelbarrow. You can't photograph it. You can photograph a sign that says, there's a business here. You can photograph a bank account that says, there's this much money in the business, but there's no business outside of thought. And when you start to see that, the whole thing is made up of thought that opens up the possibility of complete and total transformation.

Michael Neill (05:34):
So not how do I change my attitude towards that very real thing? What if the nature of that very real thing is changeable. And the first thing that's a universal everybody is living in a world of thought. Now, the second thing that's true of everybody is they have this extraordinary capacity to see, to notice, to be aware. And again, it's one of those things. Well, yeah, it doesn't seem like it should be that big a deal, but it's the only way that people really change because without awareness, all there is, is I can mechanically change my behavior, but then very quickly I'll be out of step with reality. So I, I liken it to the two different ways that you can learn how to dance, right? You can learn steps. You can go to a, a school. I remember before be before our wedding, we went to a thing and learned how to dance for the wedding dance.

Michael Neill (06:21):
And it was terrible. I mean, I could move my feet in the steps, but it was, there was nothing there. Years later, I started to learn that if I could learn how to feel music in my body dancing happened and it it's, it's the same. That's what consciousness awareness allows us to do. We start to get a feel for life. We start to get a deeper appreciation and understanding of what's going on behind the scenes. We get a perspective on ourselves and that's unbelievably helpful. It's like having your own coach built in your own learning mechanism. And in fact, that's how kids learn, right? Kids don't learn by rote. They learn through consciousness. They start to notice things and that's how they learn to navigate the world. And that's how they learn, you know, how to manipulate dad and how to manipulate mom, you know, it's consciousness that allows them to do that.

Michael Neill (07:09):
And then the third thing, the third principle, the third fundamental thing that is true for everybody is, is what I'll often talk about as, as mind or a real I'm responsive intelligence. It goes way beyond the intellect goes way beyond what we've learned, what we learned in school, whether we're good at math, or we're better at English, whether we're left brained or right brained or whatever, the, the differences that we can spot in people, how men think versus how women think. And we see, oh, there's this capacity in all of us. And we see it in nature. There's an intelligence in nature. Remember seeing a documentary where these animals were literally lining up by species at a watering hole. And it's like, I am sure that nobody ever taught them that it's instinctive, it's built in and it works. And we see it in nature, but we don't realize it's part of human nature.

Michael Neill (07:58):
We don't, as it's built into us. And so more often than not, we think I need to know what to do. I need to know if this happens, I'll do that. And if that happens and we spend all this energy on scenario, planet, not seeing that we have a built in responsive intelligence that will take care of things in real time as we go. And so those three things, because I know whoever I'm sitting down with, they live in a world of thought and they're probably not very aware of that. So they're preoccupied with things that don't exist outside of their own head. They have a capacity to see that and then to step beyond it. And they've got an undertapped resource, they have access to the wisdom of the ages. It's primitive the way we go about problem solving. We try to take one thing at a time and, and do calculus on an Abacus on a, you know, bead by bead, not seeing that there's the super computer that's beyond the brain.

Michael Neill (08:52):
So I, I, I think you and I have talked about this before, but I, I like the analogy that whenever I say to a group, Hey, I've got two computers and you can have either one, I've got one that has this multi terabyte memory. So you can put all the data you want in there, and it'll be there at your fingertips, but it, it can't go online. Or I've got a, a netbook that has a built in wifi capacity. So wherever you are in the world, you'll be able to go line, but it has very limited storage, which one do you want? And everybody wants the one that can go on wifi everywhere. Cuz they understand that gives you a lot more freedom. Well, we have built in wifi access to this infinite web of intelligence, but we are always going on to the computer and hacking through the terabytes of data.

Michael Neill (09:32):
We've accumulated in our lives, trying to future problems and current problems based on past data and it's inefficient and it doesn't work. And so once you start to see, everybody's got the same thing working for them and everyone has the same confusion working against them. It gets very easy to untangle it for people. And because it's natural, once somebody sees, there's not much of a learning curve, there's not a big changer habit thing you've gotta go through. There's not a, a lot of convincing. Like once I see I can go on the laptop and get access to anything when I need it, I don't keep going back to the old computer. And so that's in a, in a nutshell, what everybody's got going for them, but also the, of that being what everybody is up against

Ajit Nawalkha (10:18):
That's wonderful. What I've found or at least my question at this stage is when we understand theoretically, the three principles and we start to practice it. Do you ever communicate to your client that these are the three principles and this is where we are working off, off or working with or do you approach it by knowing it, you yourself and then working with whatever the thoughts, consciousness, or, or things that are happening for the client? How, how do you approach it in the coaching session?

Michael Neill (10:43):
I know this isn't the way you meant it, but to my mind, the way I hear that question is, so you figured out that you had your eyes closed and you opened them. So with your clients, do you tell them to open their eyes or do you help them navigate with their eyes shut? Of course I want to help them open their eyes cuz then they can navigate. So I might not use the language of the three principles. I might not talk with everybody about mind consciousness and thought by the time people find me, they usually read my books. So they're not scared of the words anymore, but what I will always point somebody to is, Hey, you have a capacity way beyond what you're using. You have access to an intelligence way beyond what you're using. 99% of what you think is at risk isn't because it's made of thought and it wasn't real in the first place.

Michael Neill (11:30):
And it's built into you already to notice. And we're really smart as humans. Once we actually see something for our, what I would call, we see it insightfully from within we're done. We're good. We don't need to be reminded of it. I don't need to be reminded what color the sky is. Because I can look, I don't need to be reminded that there are principles. Because if I look, I'll see 'em and that's the heart of how in a way like this really trivializes what I do, but it's not inaccurate. I take people who are doing really well for themselves with their eyes closed. And I say, Hey, you'll do even better if you open your eyes and then I sit with them as they adjust, because again, it's a metaphor, but when you first open your eyes, it can be a little bit much.

Michael Neill (12:13):
There's a lot of new info coming in. There's a lot of new data and, and it would seem like, well, yeah, it's gonna be much easier to navigate with my eyes open, but not if you're not used to it, because suddenly there's all this input you're not used to paying attention to. And so there is a learning curve, but it's a, a different kind of a learning curve and it's more in line with the way we're made to operate. And there's a to it. That's why I know anybody's life can get better through this work is because anybody's gonna navigate better with their eyes open than closed. And 99% of the people have their eyes shut 99% of the time.

Ajit Nawalkha (12:47):
So now that we understand the three principles and we know why and how different ways you could really communicate that to your clients, would you be able to draw some scenarios, say for example, that has happened in, in a situation where you are working with a client in a, let's say they were all overwhelmed or they were in a context of a business or however that may be. Just in case scenarios. So just expound on how it really shows up and how you've maybe communicated this differently in different situations. To make sense for people to be able to understand and grasp and be able to see how this is more useful.

Michael Neill (13:21):
Well, yeah. So this first one, I'm sure we've talked about it in one of the context of our conversations, but he, he was a great example. So there was a guy he'd been running a company for over 20 years, very successful company. And he had gotten so stressed dealing with regulations and shit government and people and the whole thing that he was about to sell the company at a loss just to get out, because it was killing him. And his wife sent him to me basically. She, she read one of my books and, and so when he came in, he had his eyes not just shut, but like tightly shut because it was too scary. What he thought he would see if he opened his eyes was terrifying. As we talked, he got less scared because I kept pointing to him that actually it's what he was seeing with his eyes closed.

Michael Neill (14:06):
That was scary. And that once they were open, there's not much scary in a universe of infinite possibility. It's when we make up scary stuff that we get scared. And so he relaxed and he's settled down and when people settle down, that's the equivalent of opening their eyes. And when you look, you see, and so he hadn't gotten to be the CEO of a successful company for 20 plus years by not being good at it. Right. So once he was settled down and looked, he could quickly see, okay, I know what to do about the regulations. I know what I can't do about at the regulations. I know what to do about the, the people that I'm struggling with on my team. And I, I can see, okay, this person, I can work with this person. I can't, I know what to do about this, the sale of my company, which is, I don't know.

Michael Neill (14:50):
But the knowing you don't know is great. Because then you stop trying to force an answer. And within less than two months, he wound up selling the company at a huge profit. Now if the offer hadn't been there, I'm sure he wouldn't have, but that was a very quick turnaround in just a, a few days from, I don't know what to do to, I don't know what to do. It's okay. Because I have this super computer that will tell me when I need it. And that's the thing is it's surprising how little people need as coaches. I think we often think, okay, what else can I give them? What else can I give them? What else can I give them? Let me overwhelm them with value. It's a waste of time. It just gives them more to think about it. Gives them more to remember it gives them more to do actually take somebody who is essentially competent at their field.

Michael Neill (15:34):
And then you help them be at their best while they're doing it. They're gonna do great. I, I don't know if I've used this analogy with you, but one of the analogies I put in, I think it was actually in super coach was that if, if bill gates came to you with amnesia and asked you for business coaching, what are you coach him on? Like, are you gonna share your top 10 strategies for success that you learned in coaching 1 0 1? Or are you gonna do everything you can to help him remember that he's bill gates? Cause kind, he's probably got it from there. Well, every leader that I work with is their own version of bill gates. They just are so distracted that they forgotten what they know. And so my job isn't to give them more information, they should have more industry information than I do if they don't, that's their problem, not lack of coaching, but what they often don't have is access to it when they need it.

Michael Neill (16:24):
And that when you realize that coaching, isn't teaching people how to do something, especially not at the level of leadership it's helping people get the out of what they've got. It's helping make sure that people have everything they need to be at their best when it matters. Like we think of coaching like a football coach with the X's and the O's and right here, I'm gonna diagram the play. If you happen to have industry expertise, maybe, but most coaches they don't, but a strength and conditioning coach is how hopeful to everybody. And they don't have to have specialized industry knowledge cuz they're not trying to teach them a strategy. They're trying to make sure that they're match fit. They're trying to make sure that they are as good as they're gonna get on game day and that they'll have the stamina to keep going when the going gets tough and maybe even get stronger when the going gets tough and coaching leaders, impacting leaders, it's much more strength and conditioning coach than nexus and host coach. And I think what psychs people out is they think they're supposed to know what the other person should do. If I had to know what my clients should do, I would've been screwed 10 ways to Sunday. I don't know it's not my field, but boy human beings are my field. I'm really good at that.

Ajit Nawalkha (17:33):
It's just we, which is really powerful distinction to really remember as to what is your role as a coach in game of coaching in many ways. So if you were to just capture in many different ways, what would be a recommendation to somebody who's watching this interview right now? It makes perfect sense. It is so beautiful. It's such a different and a beautiful approach to really approach coaching and, and how you've taken away. The fear of yeah, working with leaders and so forth and, and just knowing the three principles and operating from it. What is it that comes to you right now in this moment that you feel needs to be heard by individuals who may go, this is amazing. Awesome. I would love to do this. What could be some things that I could be doing right now to get into that place?

Michael Neill (18:18):
So I'm aware that this is gonna sound contradictory and paradoxical and yet it's the best answer I've got. And so it's two things. The first is look for yourself first, see what you can see be your own first client. Are you able to give over to this intelligence? Are you able to open your eyes and start paying attention to what you've got going for you? Can you begin to see through some of your thought created realities and go, you know, I don't know that it really is the way that I think it is. But then when you're with a client, Don, think you matter, you can be having the worst day. You can feel like a fraud, but if you're able to put your thoughts aside and just get really present with somebody else and help them open their eyes, it doesn't matter what you see or don't see. And we put way too much weight on what our insights, when actually what's gonna change my client's life are their insights. We put way too much weight on how can I share what I see instead of going, nobody cares what I see when it really comes down to it. But what they see will make their life heaven or how easy or hard successful or not

Ajit Nawalkha (19:24):
Beautiful. Beautiful. Before we leave. I, I do have one final question. And the reason it's, it's a selfish question in some way, because it was like three principles. One of the most beautiful ideas that I've heard from you when I thought it was so useful to me personally, that I want to share it with everybody that's watching. This is the concept of the idea of innate intelligence, whatever is the right word to use for it of innate intelligence and, and trusting in it when you are in a coaching up. Yeah.

Michael Neill (19:52):
The context where occurs to me to talk about is confidence. See people think confidence comes from experience. It comes from preparation. It comes from knowledge, but those are all borrowed confidences. The confidence that we own is the confidence that we'll know what to do when we need to know what to do that a confidence that will go with you everywhere. It's not dependent on the known. It's not dependent on the past. So the more you look to that, the, the more confidence you naturally have because Hey worked again and we dismiss it. We think, wow, I got lucky. Oh wow. I got lucky. And we, what if, what if I'm not lucky? Next time you will never run out of luck cuz it isn't luck. It's how it worked. I sometimes describe it like a, a magical refrigerator where if you open it, when you're not hungry, there's nothing in it. But if you open it, when you're hungry, there's the perfect food. It's a real time intelligence. It won't help you with, what's going to be on your plate tomorrow. It won't help you with what was on your plate yesterday. But it's perfect for eating what's on your plate today.

Ajit Nawalkha (20:51):
So Michael, this was beautiful. This is amazing. And we are going to set up with some of the sessions that Michael has done with other individuals or leaders or coaches, just for you to watch how Michael coaches and uses the principles to be able to really bring out the potential of the person he's speaking, but at the time, but just to capture the final thoughts or any closing thoughts that you have for coaches that are curious and want to know more and wanna learn more or just anything that you wanna leave us with.

Michael Neill (21:18):
Yeah. I think the number one mistake I see coaches make is they confuse care and heaviness. So they really want to care about their job. They really want to care about people, but it comes with this kind of heaviness that we would call it seriousness. But it's not really seriousness. It's heaviness. You could be completely serious about things without the feeling of heaviness. So there is a lightness to this whole exploration. Yeah. It's people's lives, but how we're all doing the best we can anyways, and you don't do better. Nobody does better with the weight of the world, on their shoulders, your clients don't and you sure as hell don't. And so I, I sometimes ask people, you know, why do you think it's so hard to let it be easy? And I think the reason is because we think we need to be serious in to be effective. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

Ajit Nawalkha (22:12):
Thank you so much for sharing all this amazing intelligence with us, Michael, thank you so much for taking the time and joining us today.

Michael Neill (22:18):
Good to see you, man

Ajit Nawalkha (22:19):
Now that was just a part of the conversation that I had with Michael around three principals coaching. If you wanna take a further deep dive in Michael's work, remember you can always do that by joining Evercoach Membership. Evercoach Membership is one of the most affordable yet the most powerful way for you to continue to become a better coach. So go ahead, find the link in our show notes below and join us in Evercoach Membership. If you enjoyed this episode, then hit the follow button so you can get notified every time we post a new episode here at Master Coaching with Ajit. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is Coach Ajit and you're listening to Master Coaching with Ajit Podcast.

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