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What is Somatic Coaching?


“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique”.     -  Martha Graham

The somatic approach helps you embody your learning.

The word “soma” is a Greek word that stands for the” living body in its wholeness.” A somatic approach is a holistic way of working with your thoughts and ideas; your mood, actions, conversations, and practices, as well as with the health and resilience of your entire body.

I believe that leadership is not just a set of “good ideas” but an embodied capacity for wise thought and compassionate action. From this perspective, and my own experience, I know that the body is the fundamental place of change, learning, and transformation. Your sense of your “self” and the body are indistinguishable. Transformation of the self occurs through systematically working through the body, so the core goal of somatic coaching is to help you embody your new learning.

"Leadership is a performing art."

You cannot become a great leader just by reading a book. I see leadership as a performing art. Although books will provide some new insights about what to do, your existing habit patterns will dictate your behavior especially when you are under stress. Like a jazz musician, you need to practice to master the notes first before being able to improvise and “make music.”

How does this approach work?

To grow as a human being means that we are constantly changing the ways we see and understand the world. With each step forward we expand our capacity to make new choices and take new actions.

Remember how you learned to drive a car? At first it was a very conscious and somewhat inconsistent effort. Now, with years of practice it is an automatic capability that you no longer need to think about.

By embodying this ability, you trust and rely on your competence to be there for you even in an emergency situation. With my support you will begin to develop new ways of seeing the world. You will build the new habits and skills that will support you in seeing more possibilities, making better decisions and taking new actions.

Building this level of mastery takes practice, and we will work together to create new routines that will fit into your life situation and that will lead you, eventually, to fully embody new habits.

How do we work together?

As a candid, skillful and objective partner using the somatic perspective, I can help you see yourself and your automatic, reactive patterns more clearly, and understand your current strategies and behaviors more deeply.   Together, we will clarify who you are becoming and where you want to go.

Finally, we will identify the path and practices that will support you in developing the new habits that will lead to your becoming the person you long to be.


Why do I believe that this approach is so profound?

During the 1980s when I was in charge of corporate training and organization development for a global medical device company, I thought that the secret to learning and change was to attend a really good training program. Now I realize that while training programs can help people build awareness of new skills, they do not fundamentally impact real growth or development.

Then in the 1990s as I learned more about human and organization systems, I began to appreciate the significant effect that organization culture has on behavior, and how learning can be diminished or even “snuffed out” in cultures that are determined to maintain the status quo. Culture can be so strong that it nearly always eats up change. We are all shaped and influenced by the cultures and systems we live in. They often work together with our own bodies and life history to keep us “stuck” or held in place.  

For the last 15 years I have focused my learning on understanding, at a very deep level, how human beings actually grow and change.

The key to this new awareness is my appreciation of the fundamental role the body plays in all that we do. Skillful bodywork, in conjunction with coaching, will help you open up new pathways to more aliveness, energy and choice.  When you calm the mind and bring stillness and peace to the body you can cultivate presence, passion, purpose and power to take new action.

From this place of presence, I can help you embody the capacity to live proactively, (rather than reactively,) to make better choices, and to create a more satisfying and fulfilling life. This is the most profound and effective approach that I know.

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