On Sunday, July 10th, 2022 I completed the International Coach Federation (ICF) Coach Knowledge Assessment Exam.  Why would a 69-year-old clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a years-long reputation in his field go learn co-active coaching, comply with all the ICF standards, and attain a certification as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC)?

Well, I created the Jungian Coaching method and knew it would require adaptation to the practical practice of coaching as promoted by the ICF. It would need to be consistent with the ICF’s professional coaching mindset, use its intrinsic coaching vernacular, and comply with the ICF coaching competencies. However, this is only one side of the coin.

Here is what really mattered: In my opinion, there is a slight yet very significant difference between therapy (which I have been practicing for 40 years) and coaching. For those of you who are fond of music, you may well know that it is the structure of the chord which determines whether the note will sound “major” or “minor”. The difference between a major and minor chord is as different as salt and sugar: If the bottom interval of the chord is a small third and on top “stands” a big third – then it will sound minor (mellow, sad, romantic, somehow internalized). However, if the bottom interval is compounded with a big third and on top of the upper interval is a small third, then it will sound major (euphoric, “opened”, easy going, proud).

It is the same in our case – the client’s location in the bilateral relationship makes the difference between coaching and therapy. If the client is the center of the session, leading the process and taking over responsibility and accountability, and if he or she is the leader and sovereign of the decision-making in the process, then the relationship remains on a “sounding scale of coaching”. I wanted to move away from the professional habit of maintaining an agenda for my client, cease analyzing the client, stop manipulating the discourse, and avoid deeply searching the client’s past. Those talents would certainly lead to the “sounding scale of therapy.” I wanted to ensure that I played the right scale!

Now, after 40 years of an exciting psychotherapeutic and creative professional life, I find it refreshing, innovative, and exciting, to treat my clients as coachees. It is a very symmetrical experience to have them try utilizing the cards in the Jungian Coaching Kit to coach themselves into their unconsciousness.