Coaching Principle: ‘Allow for Flow’

As trainers, coaches and teachers we often find ourselves perhaps being a little to rigid, a little too formal. We uphold rules and processes as if they are the deeper meaning behind what we are doing.

I wholeheartedly agree that we must follow a system. As we have learned in Principle #5 ‘Systems over Randomness’, following a system is paramount. Yet a system that has been controlled by rules may just become the institution to be dreaded.

For our clients or students to flourish we need to move beyond the first creation of rules and processes and enter the more meaningful, flexible and fluid approach to our methodologies. This means we transition into the second creation. Call it learning from mistakes and stripping away formalities so that you become immersed in what it is you do.

That second creation involves two fundamental and grounding theories.

They are:

Mindfulness and The Flow theory

For all intents and purposes we will focus on the theory of flow in our coaching space Flow as espoused by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Cheek-sent-me-high):

To achieve the experience of flow there are 8 key factors. For the purposes of this piece I will keep them brief and mention 3 of the key ones:

  • Absorbed in an activity to the point of ‘losing yourself’ in the task at hand.

  • The activity requires a skill such as coaching or teaching concepts to students.

  • There is a sense of timelessness (We don’t look at pour watch wandering if the session is up)

This theory is very intuitive in the sense that you become ‘one’ with the task. It is what distinguishes the true pros from the amateurs; those who love what they do versus those doing it for ulterior motives. You get the drift I imagine.

Now, I don’t want to oversimplify the theory so I recommend you watch the Ted talk by Mihaly which is linked below:

Flow equates to optimal experience and it is not always the case that flow is experienced all the time. However, if we can recognise what it is to be in flow then we know we are closer to connecting with what it is we love doing and pursuing excellence in that endeavour. It will increase your engagement as well as your clients and students and create a sense of purpose and presence in your professional life.

Stay tuned for the next principle ‘Build connections’ which takes the flow concept and looks at strategies to help strengthen and build those connections with clients and students.

Keep reaching


Reference: ‘Flow’ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi



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