INSEAD Working Paper 2011/94/EFE
People who work in the helping professions are familiar with the vicissitudes of incremental change. However, coaches occasionally encounter greater dramas than the small victories of day-to-day coaching exchanges. Most coaches have witnessed special "Aha!" moments, tipping points in clients’ lives that contribute to meaningful life decisions. In this article, I explore the tipping point phenomenon, discussing such concepts as the good hour, the transference cure, regression in the service of the ego, and the corrective emotional experience. I examine linear and quantum change processes and discuss the neurological basis of tipping point moments, in particular the role played by the amygdala of the brain. In addition, I conceptualize a number of phases in the trajectory of tipping point moments: preparation, incubation, illumination (the tipping point moment), and verification. This deconstruction suggests that preparatory work leading to cognitive, affective, and behavioral reframing of life situations is essential to effecting tipping point moments. Finally, I refer to unconscious themes in the client-coach dyad that reach consciousness during their interface. These "cloud" observations are a sine qua non for breaking the stalemate that can arise between coaches and clients.