Dr. Elizabeth Fried applies breakthrough techniques to achieve rapid, lasting results by blending traditional and alternative executive coaching methods. Below is an interview with Dr. Elizabeth Fried, who is personally ranked among the world's top 15 most influential executive coaches by CoachingGurus.net. Her executive coaching firm represents over a dozen highly skilled professional coaches to insure clients always have a choice. This interview is extracted from her chapter in Coaching for Success (2009). For a complimentary, downloadable PDF of the chapter, click on the book cover. Click here for the firm's Home page to learn about the its full compliment of services.
David Wright (Wright)
Today we’re talking with Dr. Elizabeth Fried, author, consultant, and
executive coach. She is also President of N.E. Fried and Associates, Inc. For
twenty-five years her firm has served more than fifteen hundred clients
worldwide. A vibrant and entertaining speaker, she addresses audiences on
such topics as 360 feedback, employee engagement, and coaching. She is best
known in the coaching world for her pioneering alternative coaching strategies
that help executives achieve their goals quickly and effectively. Dr. Fried has
published three books and more than fifty professional articles. Her work has
been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The
Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, US News and World Report, MS, Business
Week, and FORTUNE Magazine. She has also been a featured guest on over
one hundred radio and television broadcasts. www.TheLearningEngine.org,
www.MyExecutiveCoach.net, and Intermediaries Speakers Bureau are divisions of
Dr. Fried, welcome to Coaching for Success.
Dr. Elizabeth Fried (Fried)
Thank you, I’m excited to be talking with you today.
You are known for using a unique strategy that helps executives achieve
their goals more quickly. Tell me about that.
For progressive clients who are open to alternative and somewhat metaphysical
thinking, I use a blended approach. I combine traditional coaching techniques
with an innovative methodology that I call Wave Goodbye, Say Hello! ™
How does blending traditional coaching with an innovative technology
help speed up results?
Typically, I’ll use traditional assessment tools to obtain a baseline, such as
360 feedback and behavioral styles and values inventories. I’ll also gather
information on personal and work-related goals and help the client prioritize
them. And, I always hold my clients accountable for their promises to
themselves on accomplishing these objectives through standard coaching
strategies. These conventional approaches are valid and helpful in achieving
the desired results. However, they take longer when used alone. I’m able to
boost results when I combine them with my alternative techniques.
Blending traditional methods with innovative technology speeds up the
process because this technology offers an added ingredient, which does two
things. First, it helps the individual clarify goals and secondly, it actually helps
remove the resistant habits that stand in the way of goal achievement. By first
removing the resistance to adopting new behaviors, we clear the path for
quicker integration. Thus, regression to old habits is less of an issue. Clients
can then move forward and assimilate positive behaviors easier and faster.
Clients usually come to me because they need to change a behavior to
achieve their goals. Kicking old habits is hard, requiring a lot of practice,
reinforcement, and coaching. Thus, without constant practice, backsliding can
occur more readily with traditional methods alone. I use my Wave Goodbye
methodology to clear out subconscious barriers that impede and lengthen the
coaching process. By removing these subtle obstructions up front, clients can
reduce their coaching time and achieve quicker results.
Why is it easier to backslide when using traditional methods alone?
We’re talking about behavioral changes. Usually, when I’m coaching
executives, the focus is on improving their leadership. It’s difficult to change
existing behaviors; it’s much easier to learn new behaviors.
For example, managers have been using their current management or
leadership behaviors for years. Even though they may be using poor behaviors,
they are very good at behaving badly—after all, they’ve been practicing for
years! So, when they enroll in leadership training, they’re faced with having to
take an existing maladaptive skill and convert it into an adaptive one. In order
to do this, the maladaptive skill, which has been with them for years and has
really been wired deeply in their brain through neural networks, must be
disconnected before the new skill takes root. That is the challenge and change
doesn’t happen overnight
With traditional coaching, the client would learn a new skill, have
opportunities to practice it, receive coaching, practice, practice, practice, and
obtain more reinforcement and coaching until it is ingrained. This takes a
significant amount of time.
For example, let’s say I teach you a new skill and tell you why it’s
important to change your behavior. Cognitively you know it makes sense and
you get it, but are you going to do it on a regular basis, or fall back on old
habitual behaviors because they’re easy and comfortable? Let’s look at a very
concrete example to demonstrate how this works.
If I said to you, “Would you like me to show you a new way to tie your
shoes so they won’t come untied? And the neat thing is that you don’t have to
double-knot them anymore and deal with the hassle double-knotting gives you
when you have to untie them.”
You say to me, “Yes, Elizabeth, that sounds great. Show me.”
I show it to you, you’re thrilled about it, and you’re so excited that you
even go home and you show your significant other. Both of you think it’s
pretty cool. That evening you go to bed, but in the middle of the night your
smoke alarm goes off. You’re scrambling to get your shoes
on . . . but . . . which way are you going to tie your shoes? More than likely,
you’ll tie them the old way. That’s because changing a skill so that it’s
comfortable and natural requires practice, reinforcement, practice, coaching,
and more practice. And often times you get worse before you get better
because you are learning and it’s awkward. Tying your shoes is not a new skill.
So, until you disconnect the old behavior from your brain, and replace it with
a skill that feels comfortable and natural, you will fall back on your old
patterns when under stress.
The same concept applies to management behaviors; however, I can
shortcut that process by getting change to happen more quickly with my Wave
Goodbye approach. This method dismantles some of those deeply embedded
neural networks associated with old behaviors, allowing the individual to
reduce the amount of practice and coaching needed to ingrain new behaviors.
What comes to mind as an example is Tiger Woods. He is arguably the
best golfer who has ever lived. But, two or three years ago he stopped what he
was doing in the middle of all his wins and changed his swing; he then started
to lose. Everyone thought he was nuts! He had to disconnect everything,
which took quite a while, but through constant practice and coaching he is
now winning like crazy again.
He just won the 2008 U.S. Open here in San Diego. You’re absolutely
correct. That is a perfect example. If I could have used my Wave Goodbye
approach on him, he might have resumed his winning streak more quickly.
(I’ll share a client golfing story with you later.)
How do you blend the techniques? Which do you use first, and what is the
actual process you go through to make goal achievement occur more quickly?
As I mentioned earlier, I will often start with a typical assessment to get a
sense of style and values. Depending on the circumstances and issues, I will
conduct a 360 feedback to find out how the executive is perceived by his or
her full circle of influence. That may include the manager, peers, direct
reports, and customers. Then we sit down and say, “Where do you want to go
and what do you want to work on?” Once that is established, I begin by
removing some of the old habits that might stand in the client’s way even
before I address moving toward his or her goals. These habits or conditionings
are called Core Dynamics of Common Problems™ that have taken place from
the time the individual was a small child.
I was first introduced to the core dynamics when I attended a human
software engineering seminar developed by Tom Stone, president of Great Life
Technologies. Tom is an expert in the application of biophysics and changing
patterns of energy in the human body. I credit him for providing me with the
foundational knowledge and standard protocol. Because I knew the original
labels and descriptions of the core dynamics may not appeal to my business
clients, I worked with him to modify their definitions and application to the
There are twelve core dynamics that affect all of us to some extent. The
process to remove them usually takes about six to eight sessions.
So how do you clear these core dynamics?
The best way to describe this is through Tom’s computer analogy because
core dynamics are like computer viruses—they stand in the way of performing
optimally. Let’s say that you get a brand new computer and you take it out of
the box; you start it, and it is running wonderfully. Then, after time, it starts
to slow down because you’ve been on the Internet and your computer has
picked up viruses, adware, spyware, and so on. When this happens, David,
what is the only way to get rid of a virus on your computer?
I’d take it in and get it cleaned. It is then returned to me in brand new
So you either reformat the disk to delete the virus or run antivirus software
to delete the virus. Formatting the disk causes you to lose your data. If you
don’t have a backup, and want to keep your data, you’ll probably use antivirus
software and delete the virus. Correct?
If you didn’t use anti-virus software to delete the problem, and I said to
you, “Hey David! I want you to see how this virus is eating up your files.”
Would simply making you aware of it get rid of the virus?
If I said, “You know, David, if you just had a little more will power and sat
in front of your computer and said, ‘Virus leave!’ ” would that get rid of it for
Right! The only way to get rid of a virus is to delete it. The same is true for
these twelve core dynamics. They essentially need to be deleted in order to
debug our human software so we can operate more effectively.
Here’s why. As healthy babies, we start out as essentially perfect, with all
the right software running smoothly. And then when we go out into the
world, someone might say to us, “You can’t do that,” and then give us one or
more reasons why, such as: you’re too fat, you’re too short, you’re too tall,
you’re not quick enough, you’re not pretty enough, you don’t deserve that.
These statements cause us to start developing conditioned responses (core
dynamics), creating subtle fears that limit our performance. My job is to help
clients get rid of these obstacles first, so they have a clear path toward
accomplishing their goals.
We’ll spend the next few minutes summarizing these twelve core dynamics
and how they limit optimal performance.
1. Limiting Possibilities. This dynamic is based on the illusion that if
you experience things fully you won’t be able to handle the feelings
that come up and fear you’ll become overwhelmed emotionally. (And
really, who among us ever wants to let anyone know we feel that we are
freaking out?) This illusion comes from experiences of having been
overwhelmed by intense feelings when we were very young. In order to
avoid this overwhelming feeling, we make the inner decision to resist
feeling things fully. Physiologically, as children, we only have so much
ability to handle emotional crises because the place in our brain that is
designed to handle difficult situations (spindle cells) has not matured.
As adults this area grows and matures, enabling us to deal with complex
situations without the fear of falling apart.
Here’s another one of Tom’s computer analogies: The original PCs
operated on DOS. They often crashed if given complex programs.
Today, we have Windows Vista, which handles hugely complex
programs that DOS could never handle. The problem with humans is
that many still operate emotionally on “DOS.” They don’t even realize
they have an emotional “Windows Vista” operating system, capable of
handling so much more. So one of the first things I do is dismantle that
perception. When you are free of this obstacle, you say, “I can feel
anything without fear of collapsing into being overwhelmed.” In other
words, “I’m cool with it, bring it on.” In business, this will help us deal
with complex issues without being an emotional wreck. We are able to
accept assignments that are broader in scope and enjoy the
responsibility and rewards that come with them.
2. Disregarding Your Instincts. In this case, you are ignoring your
intuition. This dynamic occurs from having been punished as a child
for acting on your inner knowing, or intuition. It’s based on the
illusion that if you act on your intuition you’re going to be
overwhelmed with the consequences, such as punishment or upsetting
someone. Let’s say you were a kid and you had an artistic creative bent.
You had this intuition that you wanted to draw so you looked for an
ideal blank canvas—the wall. You had a great time with your crayons
and were very proud of your work. But then, in walked your parent
who spied your artistic creation and starting yelling, “What are you
doing?” or maybe even smacked you. Now you think, “Well, gee, if I
ever do what I feel inside of myself, I am going to get punished and
make someone upset.” So you don’t act on your intuition and ignore
that little voice. The reality is, however, if you follow your instincts
they rarely betray you.
Now, let me ask you this, David. Do you tend to trust your instincts?
What happens? Have they ever failed you?
They failed you?
Sometimes. Hmm . . . Were you truly listening to your instincts or were
you applying logic? Or perhaps there was some other personal agenda
operating that drowned that little voice.
I have misjudged people a lot down through the years.
That’s interesting because generally, when we trust our instincts, there is a
little voice within telling us whether or not we should do something. If we
ignore that voice and apply logic or get distracted by a personal agenda, we are
usually wrong. Generally, when we trust our instincts, we are right. Now, it
could be that there was something in your particular case where you were
applying thinking (instead of knowing) or personal desire. If you think back
you will probably realize that on some level, you really knew what you should
have done, but you quieted that voice and acted otherwise. When this
happens, sometimes I will ask clients, “What were you pretending not to
You are probably right. I have this bad habit—character flaw actually—that
wants to save everybody in the whole world. Sometimes people don’t want to
be saved. I always go into a relationship—business, employment, or
whatever—hoping for the best. Sometimes I have been discouraged about the
So, you did know it, you were just hoping that in your desire to save them,
you could. But your intuition told you there was an issue. You didn’t listen
and you went down the rescue path. (For the record, David, you can’t save
people. They have to want to save themselves. For that reason, I refuse
coaching clients who aren’t committed to the process.)
I wish you had told me that a few years ago!
It’s never too late to learn—if you really want to! Basically, when we have
removed the issues surrounding what keeps people from trusting their
intuition, they feel that they can completely trust their intuition and always act
on it. From a business perspective, trusting our instincts helps us make better
choices and keeps us from going into analysis paralysis.
3. Being Judgmental. When we judge something or someone, we’re
distancing ourselves by attempting to create a feeling of being separate
from it. We might say, “Hey, I’m not like that.” However, in reality,
the things we judge often reflect a part of ourselves that for some reason
we don’t want to acknowledge. We find, for example, that when we
don’t have any kind of charge about something, we feel neutral toward
it, so we’re not judging it. But, if something is causing us to feel
uncomfortable, we have a habit of avoiding issues that we really
probably need to address or resolve within ourselves.
Interestingly, when this is present, we are often hardest on ourselves.
We don’t try things because we don’t want others to judge us as we
would judge others. This can paralyze us from moving forward because
we want to be perfect. When we don’t have this issue, we feel that
everything we experience is a part of us and we acknowledge and
embrace it. In business, this gives us the courage to depart from
convention, try new things, and fearlessly move forward.
4. Getting Distracted. When this dynamic is operating, we’re avoiding
the present. We don’t deal with the here and now and instead get lost
in stories that we created about past events or we start possibly
projecting negative outcomes into the future. We avoid being present
because we fear that if we do stay present we won’t be able to deal with
whatever feelings come up.
Remarkably, the fear of the feeling is often worse than dealing with the
feeling itself. Many addictions that people experience are a result of a
number of unresolved emotions about the past. They feel it’s too
intense to deal with the present. They often numb themselves with
addictions whether it is smoking, eating, drinking, or drugs because
they do not want to feel the intensity of what might come up if they
allowed themselves to stay present.
In business, managers sometimes ignore harsh realities and bury their
head in the sand because it could be too frightening to think about the
business going under, job loss, or other consequences. Once this
dynamic is dismantled, people feel they can live completely present and
in the moment. Decisions improve.
5. Lacking Self-Esteem. When this dynamic is operating, we try to get a
sense of ourselves from outside sources. For instance, we might define
ourselves by our actions, our accomplishments, or maybe our
possessions. It’s based on the illusion that we are incomplete and
something outside of ourselves will complete us and make us whole and
contribute to our happiness. Basically we are saying, once we have that
promotion, that corner office, that bonus, things will be perfect. Or, if
only this person (my spouse, my boss, my parent) acted better I would
be happy. Those things are outside of you, as opposed to saying,
“Look. I am whole and complete as I am. And I am just fine.” When
this dynamic is no longer present, you have self-appreciation and are
naturally happy. You recognize that external conditions do not dictate
your self-worth. You are in control of your personal happiness.
6. Seeking Validation. Now, when this dynamic is operating, we confuse
love, which is unconditional and requires nothing in return, with the
need to receive something from someone else. Think of it this way: love
lets go and need holds on. This dynamic is based on the illusion that
love is something you get from outside of yourself. This is constantly
modeled to us through our cultural conditioning, movies, songs, and
media, particularly country-western songs. Our whole society talks
about getting love from someone else as opposed to understanding that
you need to love yourself first. So when this dynamic is no longer
present, you say, “I love unconditionally and participate in
relationships of mutual giving.” This enables you to truly network
7. Fearing Change. This one is huge. When this dynamic shows up (and
it does in most of us), we find ourselves looking for events around us to
stay the same so we can feel secure. It’s based on the illusion that
stability and security can be found in the changing world around us
rather than within us. So, people don’t want to change because they
think that they can keep things the same all the time to feel safe.
When you’re free of this dynamic, your attitude changes. You are likely
to say, “Wow, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but whatever it
is, it’s going to be a good surprise.”
In my case, for the first twenty years of business, every January I
would say to myself, “Oh gosh, I wonder where my next dollar is going
to come from.” I worried because the research I developed had a “shelf
life” and I would have to identify new cutting-edge research and figure
out first what to research and then how to market it. This sent me into
panic mode, scrambling for solutions and not being very pleasant to be
around until about March. However, after having the core dynamics
“debugged” about six years ago, I found myself saying, “Oh gee, I
wonder what cool things I’m going to be doing this year to increase my
business. It’s sure going to be interesting and fun to find out!” The
result of this change of attitude and embracing of change was to double
my revenues that first year and enjoy steady growth over the past five
years. I see similar results for my clients. They may not double their
revenues, but they definitely increase their bottom line and do it with a
lot less stress.
8. Playing it Safe. This dynamic is particularly prevalent among women
who are commonly taught to “be nice” and not make waves. So
sometimes the glass ceiling can be self-imposed, negatively affecting
their careers. It also affects men preparing for executive positions. Here,
both men and women are limiting self-expression because they tend to
hold themselves back in the fear of losing approval of others or that
they’ll be leaving others behind. It’s based on the illusion that if they
powerfully express themselves; they are going to be isolated. Many
times people who could go well beyond their potential are afraid that if
they really express themselves and do what they really want to do, their
peers, their parents, or their family won’t love them anymore. They’ll
be abandoned and they will feel lonely at the top. What they don’t
realize is that there are other people at the top and that they will make
Regrettably, playing it safe because of fear of isolation promotes
mediocrity. We see this all the time in business. In the corporate
environment there are often politics involved. Knowing how to express
oneself in a politically charged environment adds to the challenge, but
is possible. Thus, when this dynamic is removed, one can say, “I am
fully self-expressed without fearing loss of love of others.”
9. Trying to Force an Outcome. When this dynamic is operating,
people feel compelled to make things happen. These folks are
commonly known as control freaks. They want things done in a
particular way or in a particular time frame—“my way or the highway.”
They mistakenly believe that they alone have control over what
happens in their lives. When this dynamic is removed, they get a sense
of themselves from the essential nature of who they are rather than
from their actions or accomplishments. This is true particularly in
leadership roles. Many leaders who have to lead and direct others make
the mistake of thinking that they are the ones who have to do it, as
opposed to setting the example and letting others take on their own
10. Needing To Be Right. What happens here is excluding others’
perspectives. When this dynamic is present, we tend to over identify
with our minds and think we have and need to have all of the answers.
It comes from not recognizing the difference between thinking with
our minds and knowing from our deepest level or our soul. When this
dynamic is absent, we are free to continually be open to new ways of
seeing things and increase our creativity. With that mindset, we start to
look for greater possibilities that could lead to serendipitous results and
creative breakthroughs, rather than narrowly focusing on a solution to
one particular problem and never seeing beyond it.
11. Biasing Reality. Basically when this happens, we manufacture
interpretations by unknowingly fabricating explanations. We get overly
absorbed in trying to explain or interpret events, instead of recognizing
things “are what they are.” There is nothing to explain. This behavior is
based on the illusion that everything is not perfect as it is. Our intellect
gets in the way and tries to justify things instead of accepting them as
they are. When this dynamic is absent, we tend to be in the flow and
appreciate the present. From a business perspective, we learn to
capitalize on a situation, rather than to fight it. Hence, we take the
path of least resistance, which enables us to see opportunities and move
12. Overreacting To Circumstances. When this is present, we become
overly disturbed or distressed by what happens to others or ourselves. It
interferes with our ability to maintain a strong sense of who we are
under extreme conditions. This limits our ability to see things clearly
and make informed decisions. We jump to conclusions by making
erroneous assumptions. When this dynamic is removed, we feel a sense
of balance or calmness, whether we are experiencing a joyful or painful
event. This balance allows us to maintain perspective and not take
things personally when business crises occur, allowing us to lead with
Once these twelve core dynamics (conditioned responses) are removed, it
makes accomplishing a client’s goals much easier. There is much less struggle.
For example, if you fear change, how are you going to respond to a goal that
requires significant change? By getting rid of the obstacle, then you can address
the goal and create an action plan without the underlying resistance.
Will you tell our readers how you test to make sure they are removed?
I use something called “muscle response testing” and it is based on
kinesiology. Let me give you a little background on that. Muscle response
testing is a diagnostic technique that’s valuable in many procedures and
treatments. It was originally developed by a chiropractor. In fact, many books
have been written on muscle response testing, including one written in 1995
by Dr. David R. Hawkins who is a medical doctor and psychiatrist. Dr.
Hawkins previously coauthored a book on Ortho Molecular Psychiatry with
Nobel prizewinner, Linus Palling.
This is how muscle response testing works. A practitioner gently pushes
down on a client’s arm, which is resisting a downward pressure. If we irritate
the nervous system for a second, it will cause a temporary short circuit causing
the testing arm to momentarily go weak (off). We can irritate the nervous
system by touching a sensitive area of the body, a weakened reflex, or
acupuncture point. It has been found to be about 90 percent accurate.
When I use it, however, I apply the same principles, but I use energy as my
focus. There are thousands of instant reactions going on in the nervous system
on a cellular and tissue level. But before I continue, I must ask you a question.
Do you believe that everything in this world is made out of some form of
Yes. If we look under an electron microscope we can see molecules and
atoms and they are constantly moving.
Okay. So do you think our thoughts create energy?
Yes. An EEG picks up brainwaves when tests are done on the brain. So, my
answer is yes.
Okay. So basically, when I talk to somebody and he or she makes a
statement or expresses an intention, I can test whether the person truly believes
in or resonates with that comment. For example, if I said to you, “Please
extend your arm. I’m only going to take two fingers to press on your arm—
don’t let me push it down, but just meet my pressure and make it strong.”
Then I say, “Now, tell me that your name is David Wright.” And you say,
“My name is David Wright.” Typically, the results will be that your arm will
remain strong (on). If I say, “Say my name is Rick Springsteen.” And you say,
“My name is Rick Springsteen,” your arm will go weak (off) because you don’t
believe that. It doesn’t resonate with you.
When I remove a core dynamic, I test clients initially to see if the core
dynamic is present. For example, if I say to a client, “I want you to say, ‘I
always live in the present,’ ” and the person’s arm goes down (off), this tells me
that he or she doesn’t believe that statement. This then leads to a discussion.
We bring all the issues up related to that core dynamic so the client is very
conscious of his or her thoughts about it. The objective is to bring these energy
thought wave patterns within the client’s sphere. Once that is complete, I use a
piece of equipment called a Wavemaker® to debug the core dynamic. The
Wavemaker uses inverse wave technology or wave interference and deletes the
energy patterns associated with those thoughts.
Here’s how it works. Have you ever heard of noise canceling earphones?
Noise canceling headsets use a built-in microphone to pick up background
noise and run the waveform of the noise through circuitry designed to invert
it. Both the mirror image of the noise and the original noise are sent back to
the ear simultaneously. This process results in completely eliminating the
noise. You simply don’t hear it. It doesn’t just shield the ears from the noise—
it actually takes the energy pattern of the noise and wipes it out by producing
its own electronic mirror image. This physics principle is termed “wave
So in the case I mentioned earlier, when I am ready to debug the core
dynamic, I have the client hold onto two terminals and we do the wave
interference. One terminal is the input that picks up and scans the person’s
body of the energy wave pattern of that thought. The other one sends back the
inverse or canceling pattern. After a prescribed period of time, the particular
core dynamic is debugged. To insure this, I muscle test the client and I have
him or her repeat the same statement: “I always live in the present.” When I
do, I won’t be able to move his or her arm down; it will be strong.
Every time I do this, David, it amazes me. I’m a person who tends to be
very scientific; the first time I was introduced to this I thought, “Yeah, right!”
until I had it done to me and saw it happen. And the interesting thing is, once
these core dynamics are removed, then the person can progress more easily,
thus requiring less practice and coaching. Here, we’ve basically kicked the legs
out from under obstacles that stand in the way.
I was introduced to kinesiology many years ago and like you, I was just
dumbfounded by it. It’s so simple it can be demonstrated by anyone, but most
people I demonstrate it to think it’s like a parlor game. There is nothing
mystical or magical about it. I remember the first time I did it. A gentleman let
me hold a sealed envelope and he tested my muscle by pushing down on my
arm, but he could put it down with one finger. Then, he gave me another
envelope and he could almost chin up on my arm, it was so strong.
What was in the envelope? Do you know?
Sugar was in the first and nuts were in the second.
In other words, your body was definitely weakened by sugar and it was fine
with nuts. Now, if you had been allergic to nuts, it would’ve gone down.
You could almost test any food that is good or bad for you that way. It was
so fascinating, as you said. On me it worked 100 percent of the time.
Now let me ask you, once you’ve cleared out all major obstacles through
this testing, then can you actually start working on the goals?
Absolutely. Initially, I have the client list all the goals that he or she wants
to work on. Then we will muscle test to determine which goals should be
worked on first. I’ll typically say, “Which goal would you like to work on first?
Then, let’s test it and find out if it’s really the goal that you truly want to work
on. Sometimes the goal you choose is one that you think is logical for you to
work on because someone else wants you to, but is not necessarily the one that
best for you.” Typically, if the client works on the goal indicated by his or her
body’s signals, subsequent goals are easier to accomplish. This process amazes
me each and every time that I do it. It’s a very thrilling and satisfying
Now, I do have one caveat. After I clear out the core dynamics, sometimes
there are deeper issues that come up. The analogy I like to use is cleaning your
house. Let’s say your house is very dirty and you hire a cleaning person to
come in. The cleaning person cleans the whole house and all of a sudden it just
looks sparkling. That’s like clearing out the twelve core dynamics. As you walk
around the house and you look around, you are very pleased. Then you
happen to run your finger along the windowsill and notice that there is some
dust. Now, you wouldn’t have even noticed the dust if the housekeeper hadn’t
cleared everything else away first for you to see it. So we still have some “dust
bunnies” that might surface because they were so hidden by all the stuff that
was on top of them and they couldn’t be noticed. We clear the dust bunnies in
a similar way with the Wave-maker and muscle checking.
Remember, this process does not replace coaching. It supplements it,
making your coaching faster and more effective. Generally, I can help a client
achieve significant results within four months—at the most six—on
engagements that would typically take a year to two. It’s just faster. Now, if a
client doesn’t want to go down this route, that’s fine with me, it is a matter of
choice. I’ll go the traditional route only, but I know the blended strategy just
speeds up the process. It’s up to the clients and their comfort level.
Will you give our readers some examples of clients you have helped?
I’m going to give you a golfing example. My work is confidential but this
client has given me permission to share her story. Susie had a desire to become
a scratch golfer and play with others whose skill level was higher than hers. We
talked about what was preventing her from doing this. She said to me that she
had learned to play golf at age fifty when her sister bought her a set of clubs for
her birthday. Her sister, a skilled golfer and always the top player at her
country club, taught Susie how to play. While instructing Susie, her sister was
somewhat impatient and would say things like, “Now be sure you’re ready.
Don’t take too much time to set up or people aren’t going to want to play
with you.” Every time Susie stepped up to the tee, she would hear her sister’s
scolding voice in her head, which would make her very nervous and she would
blow the shot.
We nailed down which core dynamics were operating through a series of
questions and discussion followed by muscle checking. For example, we
determined one of the core dynamics present was playing it safe. She feared
that if she did it her own way and fully expressed herself that she would upset
her sister and cause a rift. So we removed that core dynamic in this particular
instance along with another related one.
Then something really unusual happened. The very next day, Susie called
me elated. “You’re not going to believe this. I went to the country club and I
was grouped with people I had never played with before and they were all
better players. We not only won the round, but I also never heard my sister’s
voice in my head the entire time I played!” And, she has never heard it since!
Several weeks later, she called me again—I’ll never forget—and said, “Here
is one for the record books. I got a hole-in-one!”
After congratulating her I said, “I’ll bet your game fell apart right after that,
She sighed, “Well, yeah.”
The hole-in-one was lucky and then she got so excited she couldn’t
concentrate for the remainder of the game. We probably should have worked
on overreacting to circumstances in that initial session. But who knew she would
get a hole-in-one!
This really is fascinating stuff. I really appreciate all the time you’ve taken
with me this morning to answer these questions. I always enjoy talking with
you. I always learn a lot. I can hear your passion for your subject even as we
Well, as I say, I’m always amazed at how well this works. It’s like the
radio—I know sounds come through the radio and I’m not exactly sure how it
works, but it works. That’s all I can tell you.
Even stranger, how do pictures fly through the air, bounce off satellites and
I know I went out on a limb today to talk about something that was very
far out there. It would be interesting to discover which readers of this book can
embrace thinking about things in a slightly different way. But, I challenge the
doubters who say if you can’t see it or feel it, it can’t be. I’d ask them to think
about viruses and bacteria. Before the microscope was invented, we never
would have believed that they existed and could affect us.
Maybe you went out on a limb for a lot of people, but you are preaching to
the choir with me. I don’t use it as you do, but I certainly believe in it. I wish I
could discipline myself to use it more often. In any event, I’m sure that our
readers are going to get a lot out of this chapter. I really sincerely appreciate
your doing it.
Well, I’ve kept a pretty low profile on this until now. I’ve been using it for
about five years with select clients. But, as you know, timing is everything. I
think that there are more people ready to hear this today, especially with
recent interest in the laws of attraction discussed in The Secret. It’s my
understanding the book sold more than six million copies and was on The
York Times’ best-sellers list for over eighty weeks. These concepts have even
reached mainstream television like The Oprah Winfrey Show. So, it was my
pleasure to share this. I know it works because I’ve helped many people
Today we have been talking with Dr. Elizabeth Fried. She is an executive
coach. She is also an author and a consultant. She speaks to audiences on
topics such as 360 feedback, employee engagement, and coaching. As we have
found out here today, I think she knows what she is talking about.
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for being with us today on Coaching for
I’ve enjoyed our time together, David and am glad to have had a forum to
discuss this exciting new approach.
About the Author
Dr. N. Elizabeth Fried, author, consultant, and executive coach, is
president of N. E. Fried and Associates, Inc. For the past twenty-five years, her
firm has served more than fifteen hundred clients worldwide. A vibrant,
entertaining, and informative speaker, she is frequently invited to speak on
such topics as 360 feedback, employee engagement, and coaching. Her first
book, Outrageous Conduct: Bizarre Behavior at Work, was a Society of Human
Resource Management best seller, followed by its sequel, Sex, Laws, and
Stereotypes. Her work has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today,
The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, US News and
World Report, MS, Business Week, and FORTUNE Magazine. She has also been
a featured guest on over one hundred radio and television broadcasts.
TheLearningEngine.org, MyExecutiveCoach.net, and Intermediaries Speakers
Bureau are divisions of the firm.
N. Elizabeth Fried, PhD
2100 Sun Valley Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92078