Relational Intelligence for Coaches: Understanding How Clients Relate to Their Lives

Learn to discern how your client’s internal landscape shows up in their narratives and how you can coach them for greater awareness that leads to greater choice.


In our earliest years of life and over the course of our life, we learn to shape ourself to fit in the family, system, and culture we are in. We unknowingly develop strategies for keeping ourself safe and getting our needs met. We develop ways of relating to ourself, others and our lives that keep us protected.

Many, if not most, of the issues our clients bring to coaching are embedded within how they are relating to their situation, others and/or themselves.

  • Do they experience the locus of control as within them or outside of them?
  • Under stress, do they self-soothe by over analyzing or acting prematurely?
  • Can they see the opportunities in their challenges or are they focused largely on what could go wrong?

The heart of coaching often lies in working with how the client is relating to the issues they are bringing to coaching, not the issues themselves.

And our clients tend to be blind to how they are relating to their issues/challenges. They tend to see their issues (e.g. the critical boss, the unruly employee, the drop in revenue, the overwhelming workload) as the problem versus how they are relating to those issues.

Continuing Education Credits

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has approved this series for a total of 7.5 hours of CEU credit! This includes the 3 seminars and 3 discussion groups. In order to receive credit you must attend live and complete a survey at the end.  After completion of the survey you will be sent a CEU certificate for the number of CEUs that you earned. Watching a recording will not qualify you for CEUs.  The series is also approved for 7.5 hours from Wellcoaches and 7.5 hours from Association for Coaches.

Live Seminar Agenda

Date & Time Topic
January 19, 2023
10:30 am to 12:00 pm EST
Where We Tend to Focus
In this live session, you’ll discover how we come to relate to ourself, others and our lives from our earliest relationships. Further, you’ll learn about what is perhaps the most salient aspect of how we experience our lives called Self/Other orientation.You’ll hear about how Self/Other orientation relates to where we tend to put our focus under stress, more on ourself or others and how it shows up in our relationships. Finally, you’ll learn how to discern Orientation based upon your client’s narrative.
February 16, 2023
10:30 am to 12:00 pm EST
The Dimensions of our Internal Landscape
In this live session, you’ll learn what makes up the dimensions of our internal landscape including Thoughts, Wants and Feelings. Further, you’ll hear how and why we humans tend to rely more on some dimensions over others in an effort to self soothe and the impact of that on our experience of our lives. Finally, you’ll learn how to discern what dimensions your client may tend to over or under rely upon based upon their narrative.
March 09, 2023
10:30 am to 12:00 pm EST
Filters of Our Experience
In this live session, you'll learn the lens through which we humans see the world- positive or negative- and what that really means for how we experience our lives. You'll hear how maintaining a degree of practical optimism in a stressful situation supports us and learn how to discern your client’s filters from their narratives.

Discussion Group Agenda

Date & Time Topic
February 02, 2023
11:00 am to 12:00 pm EST
Is it me or is it you?
In this live discussion session, you’ll practice determining whether a client is Self or Other oriented based upon their narrative and discerning the impact their orientation has on their experience. You’ll learn how to bring your clients awareness to their orientation and how to coach them around it. Finally, you’ll find out your own Self/Other Orientation and explore how it may show up in your life and perhaps in your coaching.
February 23, 2023
11:00 am to 12:00 pm EST
How We Self-Soothe Under Stress
In this live discussion session, you’ll practice determining whether a client relies more on their Thoughts, Wants or Feelings as a self soothing strategy and discerning the impact of that on their experience of their life. You’ll learn how to bring your client’s awareness to the dimension of experience they over or under rely upon and how to coach them on it. Finally, you’ll find out your own self soothing strategy and explore how it may show up in your life and perhaps in your coaching.
March 16, 2023
11:00 am to 12:00 pm EST
Half Empty/Half Full
In this live discussion session, you’ll practice determining whether your client tends to be more positive or more negative and discerning the impact of that on their experience. You’ll learn how to bring your client’s awareness to their filters and how to coach them on it. Also, you’ll discover your own filters and explore how they may show up in your life and perhaps in your coaching. Finally, you’ll integrate the learning from the entire course by practicing discerning how your client’s internal landscape shows up in their narratives and how you can coach them for greater awareness that leads to greater choice.

Seminar Presenter

Photo of Alison Whitmire

Alison Whitmire

President of Learning in Action and Master WE-Q Practitioner

Alison Whitmire is committed to connecting people. She connects people with a fuller experience of themselves, with ideas that help them make meaning of their lives and with others in the community. Alison is a leader in emotional and relational intelligence and is the originator of Learning In Action’s WE Intelligence. 

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So, how do we help a client see something they can’t?

In this 6-part live series, you will gain the tools to help your clients create self-awareness that results in deep transformation. (And let’s be honest, THAT is why you coach!)
You will learn:

  • How we shape ourselves to fit into our lives (in ways we know but can’t see)
  • A map for and the language of our internal experience
  • How to discern how your client is relating to themselves and others through their narratives
  • How to create the kind of awareness in your clients that gives them greater access to themselves and leads to better connections with others.

Our learning sessions and discussions will be grounded in Attachment Theory (including emotional development in childhood), and Narrative Thinking. Relational intelligence extends from concepts in Attachment Theory as related to emotional development. Research indicates that the early influence of one’s environment and primary relationships creates an “emotional-physiological map of relationships” in our brains. Our continued experiences in relationships set patterns of internal responses and our typical expressions of those patterns.

When we can offer our clients more self-awareness and access to themselves, we facilitate their learning and growth. And when we support them in improving the relationships in their lives, we empower them to live happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives.