Compassionate Coaching

Throughout the coaching process, Project New Day (PND) coaches strive to create a sense of connection by careful listening and holding their clients in unconditional positive regard. In tandem, PND coaches use a knowledge-based coaching model to present life-improving methods that open both hearts and minds to new possibilities.

Jeremy Wilson, MS, ICF

“Project New Day’s organized, knowledge-based, coaching model, provides an orderly, positive structure for one’s thoughts and feelings. Not just any structure, but one derived from the wisdom of veteran leaders in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and philosophy.”

What Is Knowledge-Based Coaching?

According to the authors of The Handbook of Knowledge-Based Coaching (2011), “Knowledge-Based Coaching is an approach that involves adapting theories, knowledge, and traditions from a whole range of disciplines and applying them to the coaching engagement, as and when appropriate.”

Leni Wildflower, Ph.D., PCC, and Diane Brennan, MBA, MCC,

“The relationship between coaching and psychology is dynamic. We continue to draw on research from psychology, neuroscience, and other related fields; such knowledge is not the exclusive territory of the specialist, any more than mathematical knowledge is to be used only by mathematicians … And we recognize that while our work with clients is pragmatic and forward-looking, we should not be frightened of the kinds or personal issues that have traditionally been considered the domain of psychologists.”

Traditional life coaching is non-directive. When training for certification by the International Coaching Federation, applicants are discouraged from mentoring and advising. Instead, they are encouraged to ask questions and reflect. Knowledge-based life coaching goes a step beyond traditional life coaching by presenting knowledge from a number of evidence-based disciplines. The Project New Day model evidence-based knowledge includes,

  • Basic neuroscience concepts (how to optimize one’s “happy” neurotransmitters: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins)
  • Martin Seligman’s positive psychology (strengths intervention, gratitude practice)
  • The benefits of creating a life philosophy (the creation of a life philosophy involves understanding one’s values, creating a sense of meaning, and perhaps most importantly, clarifying one’s purpose in life).
  • How to unburden oneself from regret and remorse through forgiveness exercises. Also, unburdening oneself from rigid, defensive thought patterns we all carry from childhood developmental issues. Coaching is not psychotherapy and PND coaches do not delve into past experiences. But coaches can explain the healing processes so clients can pursue “unburdening” on their own.

These concepts have been distilled from the best authors, psychologists, and philosophers over many decades. As such, it is unlikely participants would discover these concepts from within themselves during a set of coaching sessions.

Coaching outcomes are generally most effective when combining both traditional and knowledge-based coaching. For example, a coach might suggest sharing one of the dozens of Project New Day coaching videos with a client by saying, “I can share a short video with you that may be helpful. Would that be alright?” After the video, the coach might ask, “What do you think about that?” and then transition back to questioning and reflecting.

The process, then, is to supply organized, life-improving knowledge to clients, followed by “powerful” questioning. The end goal is for the clients to have their own realizations as to how that knowledge will improve their lives.

Using the Project New Day Coaching Model

The Project New Day Coaching model contains more than 30 powerful and informative multimedia pages. These pages present many dozens of life-improvement concepts in a highly organized way, combining many evidence-based concepts and methods to help both coaches and their clients pursue their best lives possible.

Coaching Model
Click the image to navigate to coaching model

On the coaching model’s “Reframing Your Past” page are steps showing how to recover and transcend from past experiences, including the four steps of healing, as described by Gabor Maté in his book Scattered Minds:

  1. Compassionate inquiry for insight into your true self.
  2. Self-acceptance – tolerating guilt and anxiety.
  3. You don’t punish yourself for where you find yourself.
  4. Choosing a guide.

Perhaps the most significant step is the first: “compassionate inquiry.” Beginning with the concept that trauma is not what happened to you so much as how you have reacted to it, coaches can help participants begin to reframe their relationships with past painful experiences. The Project New Day approach to this reframing is suggesting that, by having a frank and honest relationship with one’s past painful experiences, one can significantly diminish the self-protective barriers that were put in place long ago out of sheer necessity. And further, suggesting that by meditation or by talking through these experiences, one can begin to reduce and even transcend the rigid thought patterns that often lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction. See the Project New Day coaching model “Connecting With Your Deeper Feelings” page for more information.

Encouraging participants to try these life-improvement methods imparts a sense of optimism that life can really be better. In this way, the coach is creating possibilities. All of the methods are evidence-based, so the coach can feel comfortable saying, “This has been proven, you should try it!” Better yet, coaches should try them themselves so they can vouch from personal experience. While on the subject of personal experience, it should be said that relating your own challenges can put participants at ease, knowing they are not alone with their experiences and feelings. But also keep in mind that coaches should resist the urge to monopolize the conversations, as the emphasis should be on the participant’s own progress.

Additional Benefits

Here are some additional benefits to using the Project New Day coaching model:


Occasionally, there can be a lull in the coaching process. Presenting Project New Day coaching web pages or videos is an effective way to reinvigorate the conversation.

Evidence-based knowledge:

All of the life-improvement concepts are evidence-based and have been proven to be effective. Many will resonate with clients, improving coaching outcomes.

Variety and interest:

Sharing the instructional videos in a coaching session adds variety and interest. Hearing a different voice and seeing new information can be a nice break for clients.


Project New Day believes that continually “working toward” healing ourselves, helping others, and helping our environment is the basis for an ever-improving sense of well-being. Learning to live this way, through knowledge-based coaching, makes sense on a number of levels. We know the act of helping increases oxytocin and serotonin and elicits positive social feedback, and that “working toward healing” elevates dopamine levels. Furthermore, living a purposeful life where the purpose is outward facing has significant health and longevity benefits. Studies to support this fact are covered on the Project New Day coaching model “Purpose” page.

Training and Instructions for Project New Day Coaches

Training requirements for Project New Day coaches may be found here.

Instructions for Project New Day coaches may be found here.