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Webinar: Coaching from the Inside Out: How Internal Family Systems Can Deepen Your Work

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Webinar: Coaching from the Inside Out: How Internal Family Systems Can Deepen Your Work

The Internal Family Systems model is an extremely popular form of psychotherapy that is increasingly being applied to coaching. Using it, coaches help clients quickly access a state called the Self which is characterized by qualities like calm, clarity, curiosity, and compassion. Then, from that state, clients explore and transform their relationships with the parts of them that are blocking their goals or their vision. Finally, they are more able to lead their personal and work lives from the state of Self-leadership which creates more harmony in their relationships.

Webinar Summary:

“It is the nature of the mind to have parts and they are all valuable.” – Richard Schwartz

In this dynamic, eye-opening and engaging webinar by Richard Schwartz and moderated by Margaret Moore, Richard helps clients get curious about all kinds of parts, that can be experienced in any number of ways - thoughts, feelings, sensations, images, and more, even the ones doing damage in their lives. He discovered that many of these clients were still frozen or stuck in their past. Richard finds that a client may still think he/she is five years old, resulting in the client conducting themselves in a way that their parts operate almost like a virus, hiding in plain sight. Richard further adds: The parts aren’t what they seem, but they have been thrust into roles that they don’t like but are necessary for protection. 

According to Richard, one key insight of family therapy is that you can’t take a kid out of a family, tell him to behave and expect change as the child’s behavior is interwoven into the family’s patterns. He tells us the patterns need to be changed to free the kid so he doesn’t have to be in this role any more.  

Within this webinar, Richard gives examples of IFS in action and you can listen to a live demo coaching session where Margaret Moore volunteered to be coached by Richard. 

In addition, you get to participate in a demo and experience what it would be like to be coached using IFS by Richard. 

You can also learn more about IFS From Richard’s Website on IFS, the self, an overview of the self and parts https://ifs-institute.com.

The Internal Family Systems (IFS) has four goals/principles:

  1. Liberation of the parts
  2. Restoring the trust of the parts and leadership of self. When you couldn’t protect yourself as a child the parts lost trust in you as a leader. In family therapy this is known as “parentified children”.  The child feels like he/she has to run things even though they are young – Getting the parts to relax and realize the self is a leader who can lead.
  3. Reharmonize the inner system so that not only are they liberated from their roles, but also they are communicating and collaborating.  The person then feels more integrated even though the parts don’t disappear.
  4. Bring this self-leadership to the outside world as well – so that you lead your corporation or your personal life from a place of inner harmony.

The Eight C’s of Self Leadership:

Richard describes eight common qualities of self-leadership that are actually in each of us and are qualities most relevant to healing. They all begin with the letter C. The goal is to release these qualities, not just in individuals but also out into the world because as Richard states, “the world needs them”. Coaches can help their clients identify their Self among the eight C’s. 

  1. Calm
  2. Confident
  3. Curious
  4. Compassion
  5. Clarity
  6. Courage
  7. Creativity
  8. Connectedness

The Parts under the IFS Model 

Richard reminds us in this webinar: It is the nature of the mind to have parts and they are all valuable. Within IFS, parts can be divided into Exiles, Managers and Firefighters.  


  1. Young parts that have experienced trauma and often become isolated from the rest of the system in an effort to protect the individual from feeling the pain, terror, fear etc, of these parts
  2. If exiled, can become increasingly extreme and desperate in an effort to be cared for and tell their story
  3. Can leave the individual feeling fragile and vulnerable 


  1. Parts that run the day-to-day life of the individual
  2. Attempt to keep the individual in control of every situation and relationship in an effort to protect parts from feeling any hurt or rejection
  3. Can do this in any number of ways or through a combination of parts-striving, controlling, evaluating, caretaking, terrorizing, and so on.


  1. Group of parts that react when exiles are activated in an effort to control and extinguish their feelings
  2. Can do this in any number of ways, including drug or alcohol use, self-mutilation (cutting), binge-eating, sex binges
  3. Have the same goals as managers (to keep exiles away) but different strategies

Richard points out that these parts are valuable and have great talents and resources to offer, but they are forced into roles they think are still necessary. They are burdened by extreme leaps in emotions and they are often protecting other parts.

The big distinction between the roles these parts have played over the years is that some of them are locked up inside in inner basements, abysses, or caverns and others have roles to protect those parts and keep them locked up.

Key Takeaways for Coaches:

  1.  In IFS there is no such thing as denial, resistance or disassociation. These are activities of protective parts. For example, if someone is denying, a psychotherapist (like Richard) trained in IFS would say let’s find the part of you that doesn’t want you to know about this and let’s get to know it, and learn what it’s afraid of happening if it lets you see the damage you are doing. The same goes for resistance.
  2. Consider integrating the eight C’s of Self leadership into your coaching, helping your clients gain access to the Self as characterized by calm, clarity, curiosity, compassion, confidence, courage, creativity, connectedness. Coaches can help their clients then explore the parts that are blocking their goals or vision. freeing them to lead from a position of self-leadership which increases harmony in relationships.
  3.  As coaches, it’s crucial to know and understand the difference between coaching and therapy and when to refer someone to therapy. It is important that coaches do not go to the client’s exiles. Instead, they should refer the client to an IFS therapist like Richard Schwartz.

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