Life Coaching is about empowering you. It’s about giving you access to all of your potential and helping you become the best you can be.
Yet there are so many coaches, so many ways of coaching. How can you choose the best approach?
Perhaps by starting with a system of coaching which really works! In twenty years of work in the field of personal growth and development, I haven’t come across any system of change more powerful, fast and effective than life coaching using the fundamental human archetypes and their associated energies. This approach is known as archetypal coaching or shadow work.
Archetypal coaching, or shadow work, whichever name you prefer, really will bring every aspect of your personality into balance. It will allow you to access your full power, eliminate any areas of weakness, and heal emotional wounds so that you can truly access your full power, potency and leadership.
When you are able to do that, you’ll be a powerful agent of change for yourself and for anyone else. You’ll become more confident, happy and successful. You’ll overcome your limitations, and you’ll achieve greater success and satisfaction than you ever dreamed possible.
Shadow work, which is an approach to coaching using the archetypes of King, Queen, Warrior, Magician and Lover, is transformational coaching. It’s the kind of personal work which can truly make you the person you were always meant to be.
A good introduction to shadow work is my book, Warrior Magician Lover King: A Guide to the Male Archetypes Updated For The 21st century. You can see it here. With clients, I work on Zoom so I can reach them in any part of the world, because using Zoom can be just as effective as one-to-one, in person, coaching.
Video – Introduction to Shadow Work
Life Coaching And The Human Archetypes
The word “archetype” is simply a shorthand term for a fundamental part of the human personality. We work with four archetypes in shadow work, each of which has a specific role to play in a balanced personality. That balanced personality represents the expression of the person you were born to be.
And Who Were You Born To Be?
We are all born with the potential to step into four mature masculine and feminine archetypes: the Sovereign (King or Queen), the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover.
These are shorthand terms for different parts of your personality. They overlap and enrich each other, but they represent fundamentally different entities or energy flows within you.
You can’t see your archetypes; you can only experience their effect in the way that they show themselves in your behaviour in the world, and in your feelings. However through skillful coaching, you can come to experience them more clearly and fully, and when you do this, you can bring your full power to the world.
You can think of your archetypes almost like members of a management committee which lives inside your head.
You, the part of you which you think of as “me”, also known as your “ego”, is the chair of this committee. The other members of this committee are your archetypes – the sub-personalities which make up different aspects of your being. Let me introduce you to them….
Your Sovereign (King or Queen)
You can think of your Sovereign archetype, your King or Queen, as the leader in your life.
This is the part of you responsible for making decisions about life, and for discerning what is right and proper for you and your Kingdom or Queendom. Your Sovereign is also responsible for forming a vision for your life, and identifying and pursuing your life mission or purpose.
Your King Or Queen is a part of you which finds its expression in many ways: in parenting, in mentoring, in supporting and loving others. It’s the leader in your life. It’s the part of you responsible for developing a sense of vision, mission and purpose – and then making the right decisions to bring those things into reality.
Sovereign energy, leadership energy, along with vision, mission and purpose, are some of the most repressed and hidden aspects of the human personality. This is why life coaching is almost always needed to reveal your full strength and power in this area.
In fact life coaching in this area is of prime importance, because this is the part of you which allows you to step fully into your power in all the other areas of your life.
Your Sovereign is also the part of you which is – or should be – a compassionate, decisive and just leader who can take control of events in your Kingdom or Queendom when firm and clear direction is needed.
Sovereign energy – whether King or Queen – finds one of its fullest expressions in the wise Elder who knows that his or her own knowledge and influence are finite. Note that being an Elder is not necessarily about being of a certain age. It’s really about wisdom, though we have a habit of assuming that wisdom comes with growing older. Truth is, people can develop the qualities of Elderhood at very different ages.
Anyhow, the Elder’s attitude to the world can be summed up in the expression “Ah, it is so.” In other words he’s reached a stage of acceptance. He’s lost the young man’s impulse to change the world, and he knows the limits of his power. (She’s lost the young woman’s desire to have children, to build family. Now she may be more interested in building community for following generations. Or more interested in her own desires and wishes than in other people’s.)
In its fullest form, Sovereign energy represents truly mature Adult psychology. People who embody Sovereign energy are the emotionally mature men and women who are so uncommon – and so desperately needed – in the world today.
Your Other Archetypes
The Warrior (aka The Action Taker, or The Guardian Of Boundaries)
This is the part of you which gets things done, protects your boundaries, and brings your mission and purpose into reality. The Warrior is the part of you which goes out into the world and carries out the Sovereign’s orders, defends your Kingdom, and ensures all is safe and in order.
The Magician (aka The Transformer, Problem Solver, Counsellor, and Adviser)
This is the part of you which holds the knowledge, finds solutions, and comes up with creative solutions to problems. This is the part of you which creates different options, and then acts as adviser or counsellor to the King or Queen within you, so that your Sovereign is fully informed and can make good decisions.
The Lover (The Feeling Body, Holder Of Feelings, Connection, Sensitivity and Spirituality)
This is the part of you which is all about feelings, connection, energy flow, and sensitivity. And it’s also the part of you which understands the concept of spirituality, and believes in the possibility of there being something greater than you.
Always looking for connection with others, always open to the joy of beauty – be that nature, art, poetry, music or more – the Lover archetype looks for the sensual experiences and the connections which tell us we are human. This archetype can soften your Sovereign, making his or her decisions more compassionate. This archetype is, perhaps, the fundamental source of your humanity.
Mature Man and Mature Woman Psychology
Emotional maturity and emotional intelligence are rare things on our planet. And strong, wise, unselfish leadership is even rarer.
Sadly, the physical and psychological circumstances in which the majority of people alive today have been raised do not allow for the full development of their human potential.
Even in our Western society, with all our material and technical “advantages”, child neglect, abuse and inadequate parenting are rife. And so most children grow up in an environment which leads to the suppression, distortion or inhibited development of their Sovereign energy.
This is not been helped, of course, that our “civilisation” involves so much disconnection and separation from each other, either geographically, emotionally or spiritually.
For those of us who care about fulfilling our own individual potential, for those of us who care about the future of the planet, and for those of us who care about fathering our children respectfully and successfully so that they too can grow into mature adults, recapturing the fullest expression, the most mature expression, of each of our own archetypes is an essential task.
Yet without a guide, without a counsellor, a mentor, an experienced coach, someone else capable of facilitating the process, how is this to happen?
Not very easily, is the painful truth.
That is why initiation rituals and rites of passage in historical societies were always facilitated by members of the community. Individuals were not left to navigate the process of internal growth on their own!
Perhaps the modern day life coach or shadow work coach, is the equivalent of the shaman of yesteryear; they are both facilitators of change, and provide a way in which men and women in the community can reach into themselves and be supported as they rediscover their archetypal energies.
Yes, the idea of life coach as a Magician and a Sovereign blended makes a lot of sense to me! The Magician archetype provides intuition, thinking, insight and strategy; the Sovereign archetype provides leadership, direction, vision and purpose.
We Are All Driven By Our Archetypes
However good or bad our society looks, whatever the future holds, we are still human. And so the call of the archetypes to express themselves as fully as possible is felt by every one of us who is sensitive to the voice of the unconscious mind. (Read more about your soul’s calling here.)
If you have a life coach on your side, walking with you on your journey and supporting you as you go, then you can truly start to fulfill your potential. You can start moving towards being who you were always meant to be.
And if you have a coach skilled in working with the shadow – one who is trained in shadow work – a life coach who has done a lot of work on their own archetypes, and knows how to access them, so much the better! In this case your guide will have a profound understanding of the human personality and how it works.
This is because coaches who have done a lot of work on accessing their archetypes and healing and developing them are very well placed to help you do the same.
I’ve been working in this field for almost twenty years, during which time I’ve done a great deal of personal work. So I can help you meet each of your archetypes, balance them, and show you how to access the power which lies within you – so you can take control of your life.
That is the purpose of shadow work: it is life coaching with a foundation based in the most profound truths about human nature. It is transformational coaching. And it works!
Knowledge of how the archetypes manifest in every day life allows a trained coach to help you move with clarity and purpose to where you want to go.
To move from an incomplete sense of self, a place where things are not quite as you would like them to be, perhaps even a powerless place, into the fullest expression of who you are. Into the fullest expression of what you can be, and ultimately into the fullest expression of your humanity.
To know what a difference this can make to your life, you might be interested to read what the mature archetypes of the human personality look like in their fullest expression: Sovereign, Warrior, Magician, Lover. Or you can read my book: Warrior Magician Lover King: A Guide to the Male Archetypes Updated for the 21st Century which is on sale here (UK and Europe sales) and also here (USA and rest of the world sales).