A central theme that you will find throughout Neuro-Semantics, a theme that is consistent with everything we do, is the idea that human experiences inevitably involve an inside-out psychology. This is most explicit in the modeling of wealth creation that I did in the early 1990s and the title of the book, Inside-Out Wealth. It actually took a good bit of time for me to truly understand that. That’s because it is so easy to assume that wealth is an outside-in experience. This is what most people are taught, what is predominant in most trainings on wealth creation, and what seems most natural. After all, money is an external thing, isn’t it?
Yet the answer is that it is not. What we call “money, ” what we typically count as money is not actually an external thing. This is what Dee Hock, former CEO and founder of Visa discovered. And if money is not, wealth is even more so not an external thing. If this isn’t immediately obvious to you, you can read more about it in previous “Neuron” issues (see for the back issues and/or see the book, Inside-Out Wealth.
This principle actually holds true for every human experience. It holds true for Games Slim and Fit People Play (2001). Health is an inside-out thing. You can’t buy it, you can’t insure it, you can’t have it delivered to your home. If you want it, the experience comes from the inside-out. First, you set your own understandings, beliefs, values, intentions, decisions, etc. for it and then—over time— you actualize it in your lifestyle. So also loving relationships. To get love and to have lots of experiences of love, first become a loving person on the inside (Games Great Lovers Play, 2002).
Would the same thing be true of leadership? Is authentic leadership an inside-out phenomenon? Yes of course! That’s because real leadership is not a position, a title, or a status that someone gives you. Typically position, title, and status are signs that recognize that a person is a leader. Yet do you need these to be a leader? Of course, not. Many great leaders had none of these. Think Martin Luther King, Jr. And if effective leadership involves the skill of “bringing out the best in people” this speaks about a high level competency that is within a person (see Unleashing Leadership, 2007).
What about Coaching? Yes, the same thing. Great coaching is an inside-out process. That’s why the person of the coach plays as important a role as the coach’s skills. In fact the skills are really only truly effective when it comes from the being-ness of a caring person. That’s why being the person who has developed his or her own unique synergy of compassion and challenge then enables a person to compassionately challenge by one’s very presence. So no wonder there are times in a session when a coach doesn’t have to do anything—just hold the space. That’s because what happens in coaching is not that the coach adds “formula X” to the client. It is rather than the coach, like any leader who brings out the best in people, does so by enabling the person to unleash and unfold the gifts and resources that are clamoring inside to be released.