Thinking Triangles in Coaching

Apr 5, 2018

Years ago, when I was leaving a position I’d been in for almost ten years, I was given an interesting gift at my going away party: a triangle. You know, the musical instrument in the shape of a triangle. This simple instrument is a part of the percussion family. About 14 years later, at another job, a committee I’d worked closely with dedicated the Easter Orchestra’s percussionist chair to me, They even wrote in a part for the triangle, which was played with great enthusiasm!

If you’re wondering why the triangles keep popping up in my workplace, it’s because I talk about triangles all the time. All. The. Time. So, the triangle becomes a joking gift, but also acknowledges what the concept of an emotional triangle has taught us all about working together in a healthy way.

The concept of an emotional triangle is found in the work of Dr. Murray Bowen, founder of Bowen Family Systems Theory. In conceptualizing relationships within the context of a larger system, Bowen said that we are always engaged in the dance of togetherness andindividuation. This dance of closeness and distance is always at work as we seek to live our goals and aspirations while staying connected with others. Triangles are the basic building block of human relationships. Having a good understanding of this concept can help us become more fully who we are, as we live and work in the systems to which we belong.

For the upcoming Mindfulness Coaching Call, I’ll be discussing the concept of emotional triangles and exploring ways they might be useful to “think triangles” in our coaching relationships. We will talk about how an understanding of triangles can help us clarify our role as coaches and invite our clients to take ownership of growth and change in their own lives.

Join me for an hour of stimulating conversation on Monday, April 9th!

All best,
Meg Hess, ACC, D. Min.
Mindfulness Coaching School Faculty


More Posts


Ann Marie is an inspiration who teaches with a great command of the material.
Jeffrey GoldwasserD.C.Sylva, NC
It was a different type of MCS class and yet one of the most powerful ones. All classes were filled with practice, real time coaching and wisdom that can be applied in everyday life. This class is for coaches and people who want to develop their communication skills, empathy, listen deeply and speak skilfully. It’s also a class to learn a compassionate approach towards yourself, others and life in general. Read more
Zsanett Czifrus, Mindfulness Student Coach, Former Business Consultant
This was an amazing instruction on EMDR. I highly recommend this class. [The Dynamic Trio]
D. Paul WilcoxStudent CoachFountain Valley, CA
I enjoyed The Dynamic Trio course immensely. Learning new and effective techniques that I can use in my practice is just what I was looking for in this course. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for new ways to expand their knowledge and life coaching practices.
Daniel MeyerStudent CoachNew Ulm, MN
I’m on a new path and wanted to thank you! I accepted your challenge of saying the loving kindness meditation 3 times per day on the ‘live on the air’ coaching January 21, 2016. It has helped reframe my perspective and pull up more of my hope and optimism.
Lee Craver, ICF Okanagan, British Columbia Chapter
[Right Speech] was incredibly valuable for my coaching skills, and for my life. There was so much applicable information presented in an embodied and pragmatic way. [Meg Hess, PCC, D. Min.] has an ability to evoke wisdom from everyone.
Jasmin BristowStudent CoachHawthorne, CA
Ann-Marie was so open and honest. She was extremely patient and I look forward to more classes with her. She embodies the true spirit of a coach as she pushes you towards your own personal goals, while managing to teach you to focus on the client’s goal as well. Kudos to her and her team!
Sparkle C. BuntyonStudent CoachHermitage, TN
Body Electric gave me more confidence in the mindfulness and somatic tools I was using in my coaching as well as added a whole new dimension of tools to my toolbox. Having access to effective somatic tools has deepened and enriched the coaching experience for me and my clients.
Victoria FontanaMCS Graduate (PCC, MWSC)Grand Island, NY
More than just a class to help us eat more mindfully, Mindful Eating, Mindful Life is a great class for anyone interested in the topic, anyone with a desire to practice mindfulness in a new way and for anyone wanting to dust off or deepen their meditation practice. The course and materials may seem small, but they are so expansive. Thanks to Brittany for bringing this topic alive and for the school for providing such an amazing course in mindfulness.
Gretchen LarsenMCS GraduateBirmingham, AL
If you want to know how to speak the truth and how to communicate much better, take this class [Right Speech]. You will be glad you did.
Lisa Matovich-BrookeStudent CoachBillings, MT