The Power of Combining Coaching with Human Design 

Human Design and Life Coaching….a brilliant combination!

Any kind of coaching when combined with Human Design creates better results for clients.  Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Health Coaching, Wellness Coaching and even sports coaches can benefit from knowing their client’s Human Design. You will be a better coach and your clients will get better results.

Or, if you believe in the coaching process, have used or are using a coach, then this article can give you insights as to the deeper support and advice you can receive from a Human Design Life Coach professional.

In this article I will share information about how Human Design can play a vital part in the coaching process and what benefits it can bring.

A Brief Overview of Human Design

Human Design was discovered in 1987 and asserts that we each have a unique energetic design or imprinting that we received at birth.  Think of your Design as your own energetic blueprint.  If you know how to interpret your blueprint, you know a ton about how you best move forward in life and how you and your energy relate to others and the world around you. You also gain insights regarding your purpose in life and your unique gifts and qualities.

Your Design is calculated using your birth data, time and place. A Human Design application returns a graphic image of your energetic blueprint called a Bodygraph or Life Chart. If you love to do your own detective work you can decipher your Bodygraph using resources found on the internet. I wrote a lengthy blog about How to Read a Human Design Chart So It Isn’t a Mystery” that can assist you.

This is what a Bodygraph and a Human Design Report looks like:

Human Design Chart Report Example

Who were you born to be? This is a question that Human Design can answer and answers with astounding accuracy. There is so much pressure to ‘fit in’ in our society today. We are constantly bombarded by messaging and expectations. Even if we are fiercely independent, those messages and expectations can get embedded into our sense of who we are and/or who we think we should be.

Learning about our Human Design by a trained professional provides us with a way to bypass all those messages and expectations and get crystal clear about who we are and what is natural and therefore best for us. I can’t tell you how many times I have been working with some utterly amazing person and during our Human Design reading they share, “Oh, but that’s the part of me I’ve been trying to change!”

Without fail, what they are trying to change and do away with is an inherent part of their energetic imprinting.  What they’ve been taught to believe is a weakness or deficit is actually a core part of their identity and a true strength. I work with my clients to reframe this aspect of themselves so they can relate to it and leverage it as valuable and a strength.

I speak in-depth about four major themes of Human Design in this blog post. Getting clear about these themes of energy level, decision-making, social orientation and how to move forward in the world can be a game changer.

The Role of a Coach

As Life Coaches, or any kind of coach, we are here to empower our clients.  We support them to get clear about their purpose and goals so we can coach, advise and support them to obtain the results they desire.

My professional bias is that as coaches, we should be supporting our clients to find their own way forward.  What is correct for them.  Not, how we think it should go for them. Not how we think they should be taking action.  And that is a tricky balance.

I remember 16 years ago at the beginning of my coaching career and going through a fabulous year-long coach training immersion program.  We were taught numerous tools for helping our clients get clear about their essence and gifts as a person, how to think outside our old comfortable boxes and how to dream big.

Yet, when it got to the technique of coaching our clients to make their dreams come true, we were taught just one method: help them define their goals, make a plan, declare milestones and then hold them accountable to create results according to the timeframe they had declared for themselves.

Sounds reasonable, right? And in my previous career as a IT project manager of multi-million dollar projects, I am really good at helping clients put a plan in place. So that is what I did.

One Size Does Not Fit All

But, what were the outcomes?  Why could only about 15% of my clients flourish using this method? Something wasn’t right.  Either I had really inept clients, or I was an inept coach….and neither of those were true.  Or maybe this one-size-fits-all approach is flawed.  This observation had me searching for tools to help me help my clients move forward in a way that is correct for them while generating success.

When I discovered Human Design in 2008 everything just fell into place.  I wanted to shout “Eureka” from the top of my lungs.  For me as a coach, knowing my clients’ Human Design helps me understand how my clients are ‘wired’ to process information and to move forward.  I can tailor my approach to how they best operate in the world.

The results have been outstanding.  I am actually doing less coaching because my clients, once they understand the dynamics of their own design, are so immediately empowered, they are moving forward faster with less need for coaching and guidance.

Do I help them think outside the box? Do I help them dream big? Do I help them create traction and momentum and generate results?  Yes.  But we now do it their way.

Human Design allows me to treat each client as a unique individual.

Let’s look at some of the insights we can gain about ourselves and our clients from Human Design.

4 Human Design Insights We Can Apply to Life Coaching

Insight #1: Decision Making, Timeframes and Tempo

From the lens of Human Design 51% of the population needs to take time to process their choices.  Another 15.5% never know when their brilliance is going to congeal.  That leaves only 33.5% of people can confidently know in the moment what is correct for them. This has huge implications for the coaching process.

How many of us urge our clients to embody the Nike Slogan of “Just Do It”?

I have one client who is in the very rare category of Human Design Reflector; only 1% of the population has this Type.  Amazing man.  He has a very successful business that is doing well financially, but was stuck at $750,000 for annual revenues. However, he had the vision for, and knew logically based on his market, that he was quite capable of breaking well past the 1 million dollar annual revenue mark.

He was doing everything ‘right’.  He used professional consultants and coaches and made continual improvements in his business. He hired a team to help him hire the much needed office manager, but that exercise didn’t find a good candidate.

The financial breakthrough that was important to him remained illusive.

When I looked at his bodygraph chart and saw what he really needed in order to be successful, I took every single expectation about urgency and deadlines out of our conversations and process.  Reflectors have a unique and circuitous decision making path, needing time and space to gather information and expertise.

He thought he needed more structure and deadlines, when what he needed was more freedom and time.  He thought he needed to bear down harder and sharpen his focus. All this did was shut him down.

I talked to him about the process a Reflector goes through in 30-day cycles, which he recognized immediately as his natural inclination. But he was discounting this trait because it wasn’t ‘businesslike’. He is naturally gregarious and interacts with an incredibly huge slice of our community.  I told him to just go about his process of gathering insights and relationships and trust that he would recognize when the time was right to search for that office manager again.

After about 6 months he called me and said, “I think it’s time”.  When we got together he shared how he had let an employee go and in doing so had to step in and learn his job, which in turn made him more confident about what he was looking for in an office manager.

The time was indeed right. He put up the job posting. Had 3 quality responses and hired a person who eventually will buy the business.

And…that next year his financial dreams came true. His business now breaks $1.2 million in revenues.

Knowing your client’s Human Design tells you a lot about how they work best with timeframes and decision-making.  I pay a lot of attention to my client’s tempo and what is correct for them.

At times as coaches I think we lose sight of what is most important.  Are deadlines the most critical? The driver of the process? Or is it the quality of choice, the quality of decision making that should be given priority.

In my coaching practice I choose the latter. I believe that when my clients make quality decisions that are correct for them, in the way that is correct for them, their progress will be consistent, reliable and long-lasting.

Insight #2: The Myth of Will Power – How We Perpetuate Our Client’s Suffering

The theme of consistency and constancy flows throughout all aspects of Human Design theory.  Which of our gifts and qualities are constantly available to us? Which of our gifts and qualities are transitory, they come and the go? Each of us has constant gifts and we also have gifts that come and go based on the people around us and the transit of the planets.

It was a huge epiphany for me to learn that only 30% of us have consistent, constant access to will power.  Only 30%. Therefore 70% of us have no reliable relationship with will power. Will power in the classic sense of the word doesn’t exist for us. We shouldn’t seek it.

And what does society tell us? If we don’t have will power it is our own darn fault…try harder.  So we do. We have all these people running around trying harder, trying to access an energy that doesn’t exist for them in the way they are seeking.  They get caught up in a cycle of constantly trying to prove their value. It’s a black hole of a trap.

How can you tell if your will power is constant or transitory?  First, calculate your design on one of the Human Design calculators you can access on the internet.  This Get Your Free Chart from Jovian Archive is easy to use.  You have constant access to will power when that energy center is colored in on the chart below. If that energy center is white, then you are one of the 70% that don’t have constant access to will power.

Human Design Energy Center Names
The Will Center is the smallest triangular shape on the center right. It is also know as the Heart Center.

So how can we leverage this knowledge in life coaching? What are the implications? And how may we have been perpetuating our client’s negative sense of self and disempowerment?

Many coaching models are built on the “Just Do It” Nike slogan.  Set up your goals, make a plan, set milestones and deliverables and then ‘just do it’. Models of this nature require that you access and apply will power. In the beginning people are generally excited taking on a new project, they are accessing that excitement and promise of results to move the project forward.

Again, though, in general, there is a good percentage of people that begin to falter in their forward progress. They start ‘trying hard’. They try to access that will power that doesn’t exist for them in the same way that those 30% experience will power.

When we as coaches press our clients to push through obstacles to meet artificially set timeframes, we perpetuate their experience of trying hard to prove themselves and not having an easy experience of achievement and success. They continue to feel bad about themselves and believe that progress involves some extent of struggle and as a result, suffering.

The beauty in all of this is that none of us need will power in order to move forward in life, in our life’s projects.  We do fine without it. We can generate amazing success without employing will power.

Human Design gives us clues how to get around our societal obsession with willpower and access a deeper more authentic way of creating momentum in life. We start by understanding our Human Design Type, Inner Authority and Strategy. When we correctly enter into our projects from a clear message from our Inner Authority and follow the tenets of our unique Human Design, our energy naturally flows. And persists in accordance with our Design.

If we have constant access to willpower, that willpower pushes from behind like a steam engine. If we have a design with transitory access to will power, we get the benefit of will power as it comes and goes, but it isn’t what we rely on.

I am one of those people that does not have constant access to will power, and I am less likely than most to even get temporary access to will power energy. When I learned how to let go of the idea that will power was the only way to create success, my life transformed. The ease I experience now in achieving results is jaw dropping.

This is one of the concepts I teach to coaches, therapists and other helping professionals in my Applied Human Design Training & Certification Program.

Insight #3: Is Your Client Logical, Conceptual, or Individual?

One of the things I love about Human Design is how much it shortcuts the entire coaching process.  What took me multiple sessions to deduce when working with my clients, I can infer before I even meet them! My clients are astounded when I zero in so quickly, they feel seen and validated. Think of the money this saves them and the speed it adds to their projects!

Through analyzing their Human Design chart, a coach or therapist can deduce how their client’s thinking is processed. Does my client think and process and express information logically, conceptually, or individually. Are they a combination? Is one dimension possibly most dominant?

Let’s look at these attributes one by one.

Logical mental processes are forward looking, desiring a secure future outcome. The logical thinker sees patterns, looks for the logical progression and are interested in improvements over time. They question if they are doing ‘it’ right. It is important to note that it is your client’s personal logic, not The Logic of the World.

Conceptual mental processes are past oriented. They look to the past for wisdom and experiences to best understand how to move forward. The conceptual mind evolves in cycles, cycles of experiences, cycles of realization.

Individual mental processes are all about your client’s inner truth. It is purely creative, out-of-the-box, mutative, melancholic, and comes when it comes. While both the logical and conceptual thinkers love to express their thoughts, share their knowledge and realizations, the individual aspects of a client ‘just knows’. It knows and can’t necessarily explain.

Knowing the nature of my client’s mental processes allows me to talk in their language, to shift my style to theirs. All effective coaching must be built on a foundation of good communication that works for the client.

The last thing a client wants to do if they are a pure individual processor is to explain themselves. When they learn that they don’t have to explain themselves to others, especially to us, they relax immediately. We can provide strategies and sound bites they can use with their friends, family and colleagues. We can honor their creative viewpoints and support them to see this aspect of themselves as a gift and strength.

Conceptual mental processors love to understand things, understand life, make sense of things, get to the ‘why’ of it all. Conceptual thinking is about belief systems and abstract concepts. As coaches, we can leverage this understanding and get our clients to express and communicate in these terms. If a client is strongly conceptual, how do you believe they will relate to highly structured and logical project plans with deadlines?

I have a client who is an absolute dynamo. High energy, highly successful.  And a total conceptual processor. Project plans just throw her for a loop. They don’t compute. Did she have a traditional business plan when she started her clinic? Not at all. But she is brilliant in her own way, showing that you don’t have to be logical to be successful.

When I coach her on her business we set intentions, not goals. We don’t set strict timelines, we talk in terms of what she needs to have in place before she makes an investment and launches a new offering. In the end, the doing gets done, her way. It is always successful.

The logical processor is more in alignment to societal norms. These are the clients that make plans, make checklists, move forward in a steady, predictable and, to the outsider looking in, logical manner. They can quickly see where the trajectory of a decision is going to take them or others and can express it. Remember though, it is their logical perspective.  Not yours. I never challenge my logical client’s perspective, I only ask them to consider options I may see for them.

Then there are the hybrids. Clients that have multiple mental styles. Clients that are logical and conceptual, looking forward and to the past. Some have all three.

Some clients have no set mental processing at all! It is fun to watch how each client plays out their unique mental expressions.

And in the end, from a Human Design perspective, the mind is meant to be enjoyed. In Human Design the mind is not a reliable decision-maker for our own path in life. So it is always best to not get too caught up in our mental processes and take them too seriously.

Insight #4: Your Client’s Social Orientation

Knowing your client’s inherent social orientation is yet another dimension of their personality that you can support and empower. By analyzing a client’s Human Design chart, we can know if they are predominately collective, tribal or individual in their social outlook.  If you don’t know Human Design this relates to energetic circuitry. You can see more about it in this article, “How to Read a Human Design Chart”.

For this article just know that Channels lay along certain pathways or circuits. A Human Design analyst can quickly sum up the circuits of a Design’s Channels.

Collective energies are oriented towards the good of society at large, towards the good of us all. Our public systems and institutions are an example of the gifts of Collective Channels. The Collective theme is that of Sharing.

Tribal energies are oriented towards the good of the group.  These are groups of choice that a person resonates with. That tribe might be the traditional family unit, but it could easily be your friends from college, your work mates, or a sports team. It is best to think of this trait as group orientation in general. A person with predominately tribal orientation probably belongs to many groups. The Tribal theme is that of Support.

Then there is the Individual orientation. The Individual orientation is interested in what lies outside the safety of the Collective and Tribal orientations. The Channels on this circuit are the explorers and trailblazers, the change agents and creatives. The Individual orientation is comfortable going it alone.  The Individual theme is that of Empowerment.

And like the other traits of Human Design, your client may likely be a combination of these orientations or heavily dominate in one. But it gives you clues in how you coach, advise and support your client.

Would you have a predominately Individual client join groups and find her tribe? Would you advise a highly Tribal client to go it alone?

Knowing your client’s social orientation gives you clues as to how to put them into action in the world in a way that is organically correct for you.

Summing up the Power of Combining Human Design and Life Coaching

Human Design informs my Life Coaching in a multitude of ways. Far more than I have described in this article. If you would like to bring these skills into your own coaching practice you can learn more about combining coaching or therapy and Human Design.

The chart below summarizes how I see the intersection of Human Design and Life Coaching.

Human Design and Life Coaching

All my client engagements begin with a Human Design reading. They learn the fundamentals of their design: decision-making, life tempo, the nature of their will power, how to enter into agreements correctly, their world view and their unique gifts and qualities. We then leverage this information towards what improvement they are seeking in their life.  Human Design can support a person to make huge strides in their career or business, all relationships, leadership, parenting and general communications.

I also bring in the primary tenets of my ontological coaching: be intentional, be conscious of your communications, be responsible and own your circumstances, make the complex simple and make transformational versus incremental change.

The combination of Human Design and Life Coaching is truly transformative. My clients experience leaps of growth in rather short timeframes.  If you are interested in learning more about how this winning combination might work for you personally or professionally, don’t hesitate to schedule 30 minutes on my calendar.   I am happy to talk with you.

Catherine RiversCatherine Rivers is a Human Design Master Professional Consultant and a Certified Professional Coach. She brings to her clients 20 years as an Information Technology Executive, 16 years as a life and business coach and 13 years of deep study of Human Design. Do you seek transformation? She is a natural catalyst; intuitive, profound and effective. You can find her at www.catherinerivers.com.