Principles-based coaching was a game-changer for Liz Scott. When she understood the impact of the Three Principles she knew her coaching would never be the same. The transition wan’t instant and it had its challenges. Here’s Liz’s story.

Principles-based coaching my story of transition

Liz and Stu Scott

Stu Newberry & Liz Scott

I remember the day I began to question the whole foundation of my coaching practice. I suddenly realised that the 3Ps was not another ‘tool’ or ‘idea’. It was a completely new way of viewing the world. What are the Three Principles? You can find out more here.

At the time I was a successful traditional coach. I had a raft of theories, courses and strategies under my belt. I thought the 3Ps was going to be another theory to add to my collection. Nothing could be further from the truth. When I caught a glimpse of what the Three Principles was all about I knew my coaching would never be the same. The Three Principles was a game-changer; there was no going back. There are some distinct differences between principles-based and traditional coaching.

Principles-Based coaching the transition wobble

The 3Ps was something more simple and straight forward that made much better sense.  It was fresh and new to me, a complete contrast to the years I’d spent building up a ideas, concepts and theories of traditional coaching. The downside of this realisation was swift.

You would think that I would be delighted at coming across something that was going to transform my life and the life of my clients. However, after realising that I would be changing direction to principles-based coaching the nerves set in. I didn’t know what this meant or what it looked like. I wondered if I’d be any good and what people would think.

One minute I felt assured that principles-based coaching was the way forward – then a crowd of anxious, insecure thinking filled my head. How would I change direction? What would my clients think? What would my business partner (and husband) think?

There’s no rush to change to principles-based coaching

My initial thought was to change direction immediately and to cast aside my existing coaching practice and start again. I felt a sink of depression as I imagined changing websites, persuading existing clients to stay and trying to find new clients. Then it dawned on me that I didn’t need to do this. All I needed to do was take one step at a time.

The transition was gradual. I knew principles-based coaching was my ultimate destination, however my 3P understanding was quite limited so I could only share what I understood. This meant being patient with myself and my clients. Over the past two years I’ve found myself transitioning. My intention has always been to point people to a deeper wisdom – to help them see how life actually works. I’ve enjoyed pointing to the inner resilience that resides within us all.

As a traditional coach I had acquire many tools and techniques. These no longer feel relevant. I might occasionally share a model or theory, but it is much more rare these days. This seems like a similar transition for other coaches. A few months ago I spoke with Natasha Swerdloff and asked her about being a 3Ps coach.

One of the greatest joys has been watching my husband and business partner Stu also develop in principles-based coaching. We both see the incredible value of this understanding for ourselves and our clients.

What’s the difference for my clients with principles-based coaching?

One of the most common comments I get is from people is that they feel more resourceful and their stress has reduced. Usually they don’t understand why. My job is to continue to explain how life works. How nothing needs to change on the outside, for life to look completely different. Clients can seem slightly baffled at what is going on. Often they look for reasons or strategies that they might have unconsciously adopted. They want to make sense of the changes in their lives by comparing their lives with old psychological maps of the world.

There are some clients that don’t seem to ‘get’ what I’m talking about on a deep level and yet at some level they feel better. They have more energy and are more alert to their thinking and how their thinking can drain them. However they never truly ‘get’ what I’m talking about they just feel better.

There are other clients that seem in tune with their spiritual essence and who become deeply reflective about what they’re hearing. We talk deeply about the spiritual nature of life and the nourishment that can be gained from looking in this direction. When we talk at this level my coaching looks nothing like a traditional coaching conversation!

The bottom line for me is that this is what I want to share with my clients. I don’t sit down and lecture them on the Three Principles. Principles-based coaching doesn’t look like that. I then to listen to them and their view of the world and understand what they are up against. When it’s appropriate I share my understanding in a way that feels relevant for the them.

I love the journey I am on and would strongly encourage you to dip your toe into the water of the Three Principles. Here’s a great introduction to the 3Ps by Ian Watson

About Liz Scott & Stuart Newberry

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are Coaching Skills trainers and 3P practitioners. They help develop coaching cultures within schools and organisations. Liz & Stu use their understanding of the 3Ps within their training and are experiencing great successes and results in the organisations they are working in. Download an Introduction to the Three Principles here. Find out more about Liz & Stu at Liz Scott Coaching and Training