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Life Coaching: The Four Gifts of Intention

written byErickson Coaching Internationalon 01/08/2015

We all have our own personal big bang. A spark, a moment of truth, and we’re off. We start to follow an intention, an inspired idea that moves us forward in the direction of a dream, our dream.  

But as soon as we have a dream, we need a time frame for its realization. The four gifts of intention give meaning to that time frame.

Here is what we need to develop:  

  1. A strong plan.
  2. The physical framework (action steps) to realize the plan.
  3. A list of stakeholders who would benefit from the results of our plan.
  4. Meaningfulness and enjoyment based on the successful realization of the plan.

An example might be any product. The gifts of all humanity produce the cultural products which give us the day-to-day aspects of our life.

For example, in front of me is a spoon. Someone, somewhere, some time in history, had an inspired idea, followed through with these four intentional steps, and created an object that they and many others enjoy using.  


Think about the four gifts of intention like a 'framing in' of life value. They give us room to define the space of our life. Through applying them we discover individually and collectively:  

  1. Who we are in this meaningfulness.
  2. Why these values are valuable to us.
  3. How we are capable of realizing this further.
  4. What we want to do about it.
  5. Where, when and how we want to start.

Honing our awareness of this process allows us to wake up in the morning into a 'here and now' of deep meaning. Time and space have become a joyful connectivity and we focus on exploring our purpose. We allure to the meaning of our life.  

A good visual metaphor for this is a baseball diamond. Consider a home run as the four stages of planning. We begin with inspiration, moving towards what we want. That's first base. We continue by really exploring how we might get our result. We are now in the implementation stage of our plan, second base. We must reach further. We need to learn from this, value this, commit to this, develop this, enrich this, in such a way that we are satisfied. That's third-base. We create a home-run through our satisfaction in our completion of what we have started. Satisfaction and completion bring us home again. Fulfilling and renewing in us a sense of meaning.  

The conscious mind of man is like the baseball runner following his intention around the diamond of purpose. Our focus tends to narrow when we are in the intensity of action. The deeper knowing of man is like the center of that diamond, now filled with an enriched life that the diamond of purpose has clarified for us. There is a pattern to inner wisdom that we can now begin to define.  

By following our intention we shape our inner life. This is where we pay attention. This is where our life value becomes clear. We pay attention to this as our mind looks with wonder and amazement at what we have shaped for ourselves. We live in the center of our creative life.  

What is the space of our mind like? Is it a swamp of evaluation, judgment, self-doubt and criticism? Or, have we shaped it with intentions that have produced satisfaction? Our purpose defines everything. We may begin to observe when our intention is clear, multifaceted, and beautiful, like a different kind of diamond. We notice the space we produce. We learn to shape intention.  

What has this to do with coaching? Coaching is all about how we shape our lives through intention and attention. Coaching is also about how we share this attention and intention with each other. A coach pays powerful attention while a coachee focuses on a specific intention. We create a beautiful mind in our conversational dance together. This is the Art and Science of Coaching.