What’s in a Name?

Triskelion-in-Stone

“Add moonlight for contrast and shadowy suspense.

Add sunlight for bright clarity and illumination.

Mix these both in your soul.

Then you become the horizon.

Then you spread into your full expanse.

This is the cohesive concept of the trinity.”

~ Avia

At about the same time I was finishing my professional coaching certification with Integral Coaching Canada I visited the prehistoric site of Newgrange in Ireland.   The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers.  The exact meaning or use for the mounds is unclear.  Some believe they were used as part of some sort of burial ceremony.  Other theories relate them to astronomical rituals relating to the solstices.  The Newgrange mound may have been used during the winter solstice when the rising sun shines directly through the passage illuminating carvings – most notably the triple spiral (triskele or triskelion) on the front wall of the chamber. 

The site was decorated with Neolithic art consisting of lines, rectangles, circles and spirals.  The most notable (for me anyway) were the triskelion features found on the entrance stone and on the front wall of a chamber deep within the mound.  The carvings drew me in.  It was somehow a growth experience being present amongst these ancient stones and spirals. The triskelions imparted a feeling of perpetual motion and growth – Integral Coaching works through cycles of development to propel personal and professional growth. 

The setting and the Celtic history spoke to me.  It was as if I had found a new way to describe and unite my coaching and life philosophies.  As part of my move towards giving up a very comfortable life to move into the unknown I had started dabbling in the art of letting go of fear and welcoming in something bigger than me to guide me.  The prehistoric Celtic spirituality of Newgrange rang of this connection to something indefinable and yet inspiring to move forward. 

Triskelion Symbolism

The symbolism of the triskelion spoke to the style of coaching I practice.  Growth requires cycles of development.  The triskelion – 3 spirals joined in the middle – itself symbolizes a joining of the mind, body and spirit in a triangle.  In integral coaching we ask our clients to explore growth in these three energies, believing that growth in one will spiral into growth in the other two energies.  No one energy can exist without the other being present.  The triskelion represents the triangle of foundational necessity – you can’t have a healthy whole without mind, body and spirit being joined together.

In Celtic folklore the triskelion is associated with the power and strength of women.  Specifically, it represents the 3 powers of mother, maiden, crone – matriarch or creator, young woman, elder. It is a sign of female power especially through growth.  As an integral coach I work with women in transition to empower them to be the best they possibly can be in work and personal life. 

Spiral Symbolism

“The human mind always makes progress but is a progress made in spirals.” 

~ Madame de Stael

The spiral has been used for centuries, by different faiths and belief structures.  It speaks to evolution and holistic growth.  It is a spiralling labyrinth representing the path we all take in life.  It reminds us that our path is never from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.  As an integral coach I guide my clients through these perpetual cycles of development.  The client gains awareness of himself/herself always moving outward to gain more broad experiences and skills that invite growth and improvement of overall well-being. 

The spiral symbolizes and inspires:

balance

progress

direction

initiation

centering

expansion

awareness

connection

journeying

Integral coaching facilitates all of these to inspire growth in areas of your life that you feel stuck.

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So what exactly is Integral Coaching?

The Integral Coaching Model is about human development.  It is not a series of weekly, never ending conversations.  It is a process of cycles of development, which build on each other. It guides you through spirals of change and helps you build the skills to effectively integrate the change into your professional and personal life.  The coach and client work together to define and clarify goals and develop specific practices.  We use a powerful metaphor to describe your current way of relating to your topic and another to describe a new way to relate to your topic.  The current metaphor allows the client to clearly envision themself as they currently move about their world.  The new way metaphor gives the client a clear vision of how they want to move about their world.  The practices are designed to help the client develop specific skills and ‘muscles’ to integrate the changes required to achieve goals and become able to live in the manner of their new way metaphor.  
The process takes 6 to 9 months on average to complete, depending on the goals and the effort you, the client, put into the assignments and the process.  

The Process

Planning Stage


  • Part 1 – First meeting to explore the topic and objectives (1 to 1.5 hours)
  • Part 2 – Second meeting to present – Coaching Plan, Developmental Objectives, Current and New Way Metaphors, First Assignment (1 hour)

Cycles of Development (Execution Stages) (1 hour each)


  • Meet every 10 to 14 days to review assignments designed to develop muscles needed to achieve developmental objectives and introduce new ones. 

Conclusion (1 hour)


  • Review progress and decide on future plans
  • Celebrate and honour accomplishments

Spiral Exercises

Use any media to create your own spirals – imagine the controls of your mind loosening with each outward spiral.  Feel the wave of possibilities you created as you move in the spiral motion of your creation.  Be mindful of the feelings it inspires as you move ever outward or gradually bring focus into the centre of what is on your mind.

Use your whole body to create spirals – walk a spiral path, spin in circles.  As you move, open your mind to the growth possibilities in the spiral.  Be mindful of the feelings it inspires as you move ever outward or gradually bring focus into the centre of what is on your mind.

Look for it in the natural world.  Feel the connection to growth, progress and motion in nature. 

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