1st Edition

An Introduction to Existential Coaching How Philosophy Can Help Your Clients Live with Greater Awareness, Courage and Ownership

By Yannick Jacob Copyright 2019
    164 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    164 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In An Introduction to Existential Coaching Yannick Jacob provides an accessible and practical overview of existential thought and its value for coaches and clients.

    Jacob begins with an introduction to coaching as a powerful tool for change, growth, understanding and transformation before exploring existential philosophy and how it may be integrated into coaching practice. The book goes on to examine key themes in existentialism and how they show up in the coaching space, including practical models as well as their application to organisations and leadership. Jacob concludes by evaluating ethical dimensions of working existentially and offers guidance on how to establish an existential coaching practice, including how to gain clients and build relationships with strategic partners. With reflective questions, exercises, interventions and activities throughout, An Introduction to Existential Coaching will be invaluable for anyone wanting to live and work at greater depth or to succeed as an existential coach.

    Accessibly written and with a wide selection of references and resources, An Introduction to Existential Coaching is a vital guide for coaches in training as well as an inspiring addition to the repertoir of experienced practitioners. It serves academics and students to understand existential philosophy and allows professionals with coaching responsibilities to access more meaningful conversations.

    List of Figures. Acknowledgements. Foreword by Monica Hanaway. Preface. Introduction;  Chapter 1: Coaching;  Chapter 2: Existential Coaching;  Chapter 3: Existentialism;  Chapter 4:  Existential Coaching in Practice;  Chapter 5: Existential Coaching in Business;  Chapter 6: Ethical Dimensions;  Chapter 7: Establishing an Existential Coaching Practice;  Summary;  References and Resources;  Index


    Yannick Jacob is a coach, trainer, supervisor, mediator and change agent in private practice as well as the former Programme Leader of the MSc Coaching Psychology at the University of East London, UK. He works with coaches, leaders and anybody who considers themselves to be in a position of great responsibility. Yannick believes in balance, clarity, helping people think and developing the courage to live across the full spectrum of human experience as the pathway to happiness.


    "Coaching gains a great deal of depth when it pays attention to the paradoxes of human existence and learns to work with the trials and tribulations of human existence in a philosophical manner. In this clear and introductory book Yannick Jacob shows you how this can be done." - Professor Emmy van Deurzen PhD, MPsych, MPhil, FBPsS, CPsychol, FBACP, UKCPF, HCPCreg; author of 17 books including Existential Perspectives on Coaching and Principal at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, UK


    "Trained by the best in existential therapy and influenced by the leaders in existential positive psychology or second wave positive psychology (PP2.0), Yannick Jacob’s book makes a unique contribution to the coaching profession by combining the depth of existential philosophy and the clarity and optimism of PP2.0. Personally, I firmly believe that all coaches, whether they are in life coaching or positive executive coaching, can benefit from Yannick’s book for its refreshing positive approach to an ancient existential problem. Therefore, I highly recommend this little gem to both novice and seasoned coaches." - Dr. Paul T. P. Wong, President, International Network on Personal Meaning; Originator of Existential Positive Psychology and Integrative Meaning Therapy


    "Coaching unsurprisingly is often fixated with goal focused conversations. But growth can happen through insight, understanding and meaning. Existential approaches allow us the grace, space and time to be with clients as they journey through these aspects of their life towards meaning and purpose. This book provides an outstanding insight into existential coaching from one of coaching’s new rising stars." - Professor Jonathan Passmore, University of Evora, Portugal, and Henley Business School, UK


    "Yannick Jacob is a true pioneer, intellectually and practically, in exploring the fertile ground at the intersection of positive psychology, existential philosophy, and coaching. This book is a wonderful distillation of his thinking and expertise, touching skilfully and insightfully upon many important topics, and will be an excellent and inspiring resource for both scholars and practitioners." - Dr. Tim Lomas, author of 8 books including The Positive Power of Negative Emotions, The Happiness Dictionary and Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life


    "Existential themes have always been at the heart of coaching - after all, we're all human and, coaching, whatever its focus, deals with the strangely cognitive, meaning-making, mortality-aware beast that is the human!  Many coaches, though, shy away from looking at existential themes, often wrongly assuming, or even fearing, that deeper issues of meaning, purpose and our confrontation with being human, are best left to the therapist.  Yannick is part of a rapidly growing movement of coaches who disagree with this dichotomy and recognise that coaching is always about being human and cannot escape the gravitational pull of the existential givens.  In this book, Yannick brings to life the ideas and practices of existential coaching in a way that will allow any coach, new or seasoned, to begin feeling their way into fresh territory or to give language and theory to practices they have naturally been drawn to.  A valuable and much needed book for the coaching world." - Nick Bolton, Founder & CEO, Animas Centre for Coaching

    "I see so many people who are struggling with problems around meaning and purpose nowadays, it's almost epidemic. That's why great coaching can't shy away from addressing existential concerns and has to deal with them in a hands-on and down-to-earth manner. This is exactly what Yannick is doing with his existential coaching and I'm so glad he finally got to put all of his knowledge and experience together into this work. Bravo!" - Seph Fontane Pennock, co-founder, Positive Psychology Program

    "This is an insightful and enlightening introduction to the emerging discipline of existential coaching thoughtfully presented by a passionate and courageous practitioner." - Professor Christian van Nieuwerburgh, Executive Director of Growth Coaching International; Professor of Coaching and Positive Psychology, University of East London, UK


    "As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the idea that the world would be so much better if people truly and deeply contemplated what their lives are really all about. When I started researching meaning, purpose, and existential matters, I found out that, actually, people often freak out if you ask them what their lives are all about! To confront people with such a huge, boundless question can create uncertainty, doubt, even fear. People want to have some sense of safety when diving into these most deep of questions. An Introduction to Existential Coaching squarely provides a beautiful solution to this conundrum. By showing how the action-oriented structure of coaching can be used to help people celebrate, rather than fear, uncertainty, this wonderful book shows coaches and other practitioners how to cultivate the inspiration and safety people need to explore and give birth to the best their lives can be about." - Michael F. Steger, PhD; founding director, Center for Meaning and Purpose, Colorado State University, USA


    "Yannick does more than give a deep, new meaning to coaching, he also provides a challenging and refreshing way to view our own existence and purpose. Reading this challenged the way I think and behave, and though uncomfortable, will likely change how I coach. This book will be recommended to everyone on our team." - Bill Eckstrom, speaker, author and President, EcSell Institute


    "I love the existential approach. It takes you deeper into your personal meaning in life and the experience of authenticity. Combine it with a strong foundation of coaching and you get an inspiring marriage. This book is a wonderful reflection of that marriage, providing you with a clear understanding of both theory and practice within existential coaching. Whether you seek personal transformation, or the coaching of others, this book would be an essential tool in your tool-box." - Itai Ivtzan PhD, Associate Professor, Naropa University, USA; author of Awareness is Freedom: The Adventure of Psychology and Spirituality



    "Yannick Jacob's book delivers on its promise to introduce his understanding of existential coaching to a wider readership. The writing is clear and accessible and Jacob's enthusiasm for the subject is evident throughout." - Professor Ernesto Spinelli, ES Associates, UK

    "This is a must-read for any coach, new or experienced, who wants to begin to learn more about the existential approach to their craft. Yannick’s experience, expertise and passion for the topic shine through, as he presents the fundamentals of existential coaching, whilst also giving his insights into the industry as a whole." - Sasha van Deurzen-Smith, Existential Coach and Programme Leader of the MA Existential Coaching at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, UK


    "This book is a valuable resource to coaches seeking to go deeper with their clients. The book not only identifies the complex web of existential concerns experienced by clients, but also provides practical coaching approaches that help clients to meaningfully examine the underlying drivers of their behaviours. The book has a secondary goal of helping the reader to identify existential themes in their own life, thus refining their coaching offering." - Richard Thorby, ACC, MBA(IMD) leadership coach



    "In his book, An Introduction to Existential Coaching, Yannick Jacob gives us an excellent insight into and positioning of this important philosophical yet incredibly relevant approach. Existential questions are at the core of many presenting issues in coaching and this book will greatly deepen how you support psychological wellbeing in your client. The existential inquiry questions throughout the book create a rich toolkit for self-reflection and for working with others. The book prompted me to reflect on what I do and how I do it and reading it was an excellent way to reflect on my current boundaries of practice. I highly recommend this book for seasoned and new coaches alike and I will be adding it to my practitioner's library. Thank you for writing this important introductory volume." - Dr Magdalena Bak-Maier, High Performance Coach and Heart & Mind Integration Method Pioneer


    "Coaching is often seen as a way to support clients in achieving their goals. In today’s complex and uncertain world, there’s an urgent need for coaching to help clients open up, and explore, the bigger questions of life and existence, and to find ways to live with the uncertainty of life. This book is an important contribution to our profession as it seeks to address the deeper concerns of the world in which we live and work." - Aboodi Shabi, leadership coach

    "Existential writers are not known for their brevity. In contrast, Yannick Jacob has managed to distil an enormous amount of existential philosophy and coaching practice into this short volume. This is the book I wish I had when I first began working as a coach many years ago. It opens the door to the world of existential coaching and maps out a landscape that any coach, whether experienced or new to the world of coaching, can explore. The author’s own authenticity is there on every page, sharing personal insights and questions to reflect upon. Overall, a wonderful introduction to existential coaching, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading - it reminded me why I coach." - Billy Byrne, executive coach and leadership development specialist




    "I suspect that the concept of existential coaching is still, by and large, met with bewilderment in the coaching community. Yet, this approach has much to offer, especially at this time of great uncertainties, so a primer on existential coaching is timely indeed. Jacob's book is easy to read and well structured, offering a step by step introduction to this field that even those without previous knowledge and experience may find useful and may be encouraged to incorporate some of its elements into their practice." - Dr Nash Popovic, co-author of Personal Consultancy: A Model for Integrating Coaching and Counselling; founder of the first postgraduate programme in Integrative Counselling and Coaching


    "Existential questions and yearnings are as old as humanity itself, and it seems that the fast-paced, digital, and global twenty-first century presents its own unique set of challenges. In the face of the uncertainty and instability of our times, mental health professionals are in need to address pressing existential concerns in an accessible yet profound manner. In this inspiring book, Yannick Jacob takes us through a journey of self-discovery and offers a blueprint for living a full and meaningful life. The book weaves together key principles, insightful reflections and hands-on interventions into a comprehensive, integrative and approachable framework. Direct, clear and well-researched, this book presents valuable ideas and engaging practical tools for coaches, therapists, educators, students, and essentially any human being striving to reach increased self-understanding and growth." - Dr Pninit Russo-Netzer, Diplomate Clinician in Logotherapy; co-editor of Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology and Clinical Perspectives on Meaning: Positive and Existential Psychotherapy


    "Yannick’s book fills a significant gap in the existential coaching literature in that it can be readily applied in the organisational space and is accessible to everyone including those just beginning to explore what existential and/or coaching means. Knowing Yannick’s commitment and passion to existentialism and coaching I can truly say that we are fortunate he has given his energy and time to creating a work that will hopefully widen the understanding and practice of existential thinking in the coaching space. It will be an excellent resource for any coaching training programmes of the future as well as to those experienced coaches (in house or independent) who have often wondered what existential coaching is and how to practically apply it to their client work." - Angela Jopling, leadership coach and coaching supervisor, BrightStar Executive Coaching


    "Having been described as a quiet mover and shaker in the field of coaching psychology in the UK, I am perhaps well-placed as a witness to the innovations (or lack of them) in this field. However, just occasionally one’s belief in human potential is revived through encountering an inspirational and life affirming read. Yannick’s new text does just that. I enjoyed reading about his own journey and how this has translated into his practice and teaching. He models the existential commitment in every word and does not shy away from engaging with the big questions. It is a book that is destined to become a ‘go to’ title for any practitioner wanting their minds opened, not only to the essentials of existential coaching, but to how to live and work with courage, passion and authentically in tough times. I have reviewed many books and articles in this field, yet none has given me so much pleasure as this. Writing this endorsement has been a gift and I am reminded throughout of the words of the poet Rumi, who said: ‘Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.’ Yannick’s contribution exemplifies this and more." - Margaret Chapman-Clarke, positive psychologist, existential coach; editor, Mindfulness in the Workplace: An evidence-based approach to improving wellbeing and maximising performance


    "Yannick’s book, An Introduction to Existential Coaching, brought me back to the excitement I felt when I first discovered the existential approach. Thank you! I’ve always appreciated anyone who can wrangle the words of something as seemingly illusive as existential coaching. Not only did Yannick make these concepts accessible, but enjoyable. I smiled almost the entire time reading the book. The only time I didn’t have a wide grin on my face was when I got to the marketing chapter. During that chapter I was nodding my head in agreement. I think any coach who is serious about growing their business will understand that reaction. Yannick’s style brings to the surface, in an authentic way, brain tingling questions, valuable ideas, and important challenges. He successfully integrates complex philosophical underpinnings with practical implications for coaching, which makes the book accessible to new and experienced coaches alike." - Linda DeLuca, author, An Exploration of the Existential Orientation to Coaching


    "Reframing existentialism from its dark associations to something that is profoundly empowering - this is not an easy task! Yannick excels at unpacking big ideas in a playful, analytical and down-to-earth way and communicate practical applications in the coaching setting. He walks the talk - you can almost hear his challenging curiosity and passion for life speak through the pages - encouraging and reminding to reflect, open our ears to the ephemeral nature of moments and to embrace the rawness and uncertainty of life as a source for meaning. A mindset of aliveness. This is a bold and compelling message - not just for the coach reader and their clients but also for humanity." - Georgie Nightingall, life coach, trainer, speaker, philosophy teacher; founder, Trigger Conversations


    "Existential ideas and therapeutic approaches are concerned with questions about the nature of human existence, inviting us to reflect critically and creatively about some of the key challenges of our lives, including: finding purpose and meaning in life, facing uncertainty, crisis and mortality, taking responsibility, living authentically, belonging and more. In this inspiring and thought-provoking book, Yannick Jacob skilfully demonstrates how these ideas can be incorporated into the practice of coaching, to reflect on clients' life choices, concerns and challenges, and help them achieve their desired transformations. With a strong, practice-based approach that draws on the author’s vast experience and the existing research in this area, this book provides a thorough, engaging and creative guide to existential coaching, and is an essential reading for all coaches, scholars and trainees." – Dr Rona Hart, Programme Leader, MSc Applied Positive Psychology, University of East London, UK


    "As a practitioner of existential coaching I welcome Yannick Jacob’s book very much. It is a thorough, inspiring and well written introduction to the principles of existential coaching as well as the philosophical stance, attitudes and competences necessary for coaches who would like to work with other people in this life-affirming way. Even though the topic is complex and not always easy to grasp Yannick writes in a light and motivating way, connecting with the reader by means of important questions for reflection throughout the book. My hope is that this book will help more coaches take up the existential approach and thus develop competences that can truly help people with the work towards living more authentic and hopefully better lives." - Anne Kongsted Krum, senior consultant, Cabi; existential coach, DilemmaCoaching and Stress-Profilen.dk


    "Reading these pages will transform both yours and your client’s lives. Like many freshly qualified coaches, I too felt the need to niche after completing my training. My search for a specialty began and ended at Yannick’s training weekend in existential coaching. This book strikes the same delicate balance as the course. Yannick’s welcoming conversational-style invitation to explore is underpinned by a well-researched foundation, offering a life-changing opportunity for coaches and clients alike. Yannick makes this emerging and often misunderstood area of coaching accessible for anyone seeking to dive deeper into life’s unknowns. Simple, easy to read, yet profoundly needed today." - Marcie Boyer, existential life coach; author, What I Know about Jumping: Real life lessons on finding the courage to make major life change


    "If I would not be an existential practitioner already, I would want to become one after reading this book! Yannick has written an accessible introduction into existential coaching. He explains difficult concepts and complex phenomena in simple words. He embeds the unique position of the existential coach within the wider field of coaching in general. Yannick’s passion for his job shines through his words and personal examples. The author has a bridge-building approach: he is both personal and relational, informed by existential philosophy and positive psychology, both pragmatic and informed by research. Building bridges is of utmost importance in our era of disintegration of people helping professions. This book is timely, as the coaching discipline seems to have fallen into the grip of superficial solution-focused approaches, but Yannick shows the importance and the appeal of basing the practice of coaching on existential foundations. He introduces key concepts from existential philosophy, and his exercises invite the reader to engage actively with the concepts. This book offers readers the first simple stepping stones on the complex road towards existential work." - Dr Joel Vos PhD, researcher and lecturer at Metanoia Institute; leader, professional doctorate, Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, UK; author, Meaning in Life: An evidence-based handbook for practitioners

    "The domain of start-ups represents a special and unique context for existential coaching. Start-ups by nature are fast-paced, action-oriented, and much of the learning is on the job. Knowing has become obsolete. How we behave when not knowing has become the new currency. Many people show up for work blind and groping in the dark. Many eyes have not yet opened to behold the surprising sights of true leadership in the modern workforce. The existential leader is the new holy grail. The coaching space that Yannick lays out allows this leader to emerge and thrive." - Matthew Laffer, Founder & CEO, Goalspriing