My name is Gordon MacKay and I am a Certified Integral Master Coach™. I have been working in the field of human development for more than twenty-five years. Coaching is not a job for me, it is what I love to do. I specialize in helping people to develop balance and clarity in their lives by guiding them to cultivate the inner resources required to move through and to grow from difficult challenges in life.



I have a small practice with a heartfelt focus on the uniqueness of each client and their need to deal with the challenges in their lives.

Integral Coach TM is a registered trade-mark in Canada owned by Integral Coaching Canada Inc. and licensed to Gordon MacKay.



“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”    – Daniel Gilbert



photo credit: Kalman Green

What is a Personal Transition?

Personal Coaching for Life's transitionsEvery time life asks us to change, we are required to let a part of ourselves go. This ‘letting go’ could be to a way of thinking, a way of feeling or a way of life. Life itself could not exist without change. We have to let go in order to create space for something new to begin. At times ‘letting go’ is scary or may even seem impossible.

A transition occurs when we are called upon to leave one situation or condition and to move into another one. The need to transition may be thrust upon us or it might be something that we choose to do. Transitions become problematic if we resist or if we feel unable to meet the perceived challenges.

Sometimes it is not clear that we are being called to transition. We can just feel lost, stuck, disconnected, or confused about what we want. Sometimes we feel like a victim of our situation.

Here are some examples of the major life transitions that I specialize in:



While most people look forward to retirement, many do not. For some the word ‘retirement’ comes loaded with negative connotations. Either way, retirement can be a difficult transition to make. Leaving behind the activities and relationships that have been a major part of both our daily lives and our identities can be a challenge. How do I spend my time now? Not everyone is satisfied to increase the number of hours they spend on what was formerly a hobby. A friend of mine once said: ”retirement is not about putting one thing down and picking up another; it is about becoming a new person.” In Personal Transitions Coaching you will take the time to discover what you want and who you really want to be in this new stage of life. Together we identify and strengthen the competencies that you need in order to make your new reality happen.


Changing Relationships

Challenges can occur at any stage of a relationship often amplified as each partner faces the every day pressures of family and work life. Communication can become frozen over time and lacking in the vibrancy and trust needed to move forward. These situations can trigger old and unproductive patterns of thinking and feeling that simply re-enforce a spiral of discontent. Personal Transitions Coaching helps us to face and creatively manage the emotional and practical realities of these challenges in order to move forward in mutually healthy ways.


Supporting Loved Ones Through Long-Term Illness

Loss can come about suddenly through death or over an extended period of time through a serious debilitating illness. In either case, the pain of losing a loved one can be devastating.

For those supporting someone through a long debilitating illness, the challenges and heartbreak can be drawn out for months and even years. While much inner strength and courage are required to support the loved one, the resulting physical and emotional stress can lead the caregiver into isolation and exhaustion. It is often counter-intuitive to look after ourselves when we are focused on the medical problems of a loved one. When the level of healthy support for the caregiver is not in place, burnout is real possibility.

The instructions given to airline passengers just before take-off is often used to capture the need for caregiver support. In the case of an emergency on an airplane and the overhead oxygen masks are deployed, those who are accompanying small children are instructed to place their own mask on before beginning to help the children with theirs. The message is that if the parent loses consciousness, he or she will not be able to help the child.

Personal Transitions Coaching can help focus the caregiver on what is required while ensuring that their own well-being is maintained through this difficult process.




What is Coaching?

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as ”partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
My focus as a coach is on navigating the personal transitions that we face in our lives. Most of our transitions are successfully negotiated by using a combination of our own resources and the guidance and support provided by our family, friends, teachers and others. Coaching becomes helpful when these resources are not present or are not sufficient to help us move through the current situation. Coaching offers independent, non-judgemental and confidential support in difficult times.
I use an integrated approach to coaching that has been developed by Integral Coaching Canada™ It is a method based on a comprehensive map of human development which provides a powerful and systematic approach to adult development. It produces results that are sustainable over time. Detailed information on Integral theory and coaching methods, can be found at the following link: https://www.integralcoachingcanada.com/
Coaching does not change our outside world directly. It changes how we perceive and interact with that world and with ourselves. It can bring us to a fresh awareness and clarity about our own participation in maintaining the causes of our being stuck. Coaching helps us to deal with what gets in the way of our ability to create the changes that we desire. Coaching is not the same thing as therapy. In coaching we focus on where the client is in their present life and the changes that they want to bring about. Coaching helps to build the capacities and abilities that are needed in order to move forward.
A Certified Integral Coach™ helps us to bring balance to our lives by guiding and supporting us in the incremental development of latent or underused capacities and competencies. Coaching works with our thoughts and emotions rather than trying to get rid of them. The process starts from wherever the client is and moves them towards wherever they would like to be. It is often transformative work.
Personal Transitions Coaching takes place in a confidential one-on-one relationship between a coach and a client. A unique “coaching program” is developed for each client based on where that client is in his or her life and the nature of the transition that is being called for. The coaching process involves a series of coaching conversations generally an hour in length. The number and frequency of the sessions depends upon the needs of the client. Each client is directly involved in their own development by engaging in practices and exercises to build the ‘muscles’ that are required for them to move forward. The pace and direction of the coaching program is guided by the client’s own discoveries and learning from doing each of the coaching practices.
Coaching can be done in person, by Skype, or by telephone.


Looking for a coach?

Mutual openness and trust are the essential ingredients of a successful coaching relationship. If you are looking for a coach, I suggest that you speak to more than one. It is important that you get a sense of what it would be like for you to build a relationship with each person that you talk to. Choose a coach who you sense can see you, hear you and value you for who you are. You should be comfortable with your coach.

Contact Gordon today for a free exploratory consultation »

About Me

About Me

I live in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada with my lovely wife. We have one adult son who is now a father supporting his own family. I worked at Statistics Canada for thirty-five years. For part of my career I was the manager of a communication and client services area before moving into Human Resources Development. There I provided executive coaching services, ran group coaching circles, designed and delivered soft-skills management training courses, and led team development processes. I have been a Certified Integral Coach™ since June 2005.



I have been through many transitions in my life and I expect to go through many more. I know from personal experience how difficult they can sometimes be and also that it is possible, not only to move through situations that seem insurmountable, but to grow stronger from engaging in the process. My more than twenty-five years of sobriety as a recovering alcoholic is one example of a successful transition in my own life. I have also been confronted with two different life-threatening illnesses so well understand the fear and stress that this can generate for oneself and for the family.



I have been helped enormously through various periods of change by family, friends, coaches, teachers and many other resources. Outside support has been critical in helping me to negotiate many of the difficult challenges in my life.
As a Certified Integral Coach™, I support clients by using my coaching skills along with my training in Gestalt Therapy, Palliative Care, Dementia Care-Giver Support, Shamanic Practices, Therapeutic Touch and Buddhist meditation. While I have worked for many years as a corporate coach and trainer, I am now most called to the support of men and women in their personal transformational work.
(Integral Coach TM is a registered trade-mark in Canada owned by Integral Coaching Canada Inc. and licensed to Gordon MacKay.)

Further Reflections

Further Reflections

“Nobody can get into the heart of your experience and fix anything for you. If you want to make your own internal experience more hospitable, only you can do that work.”
—Ethan Nichtern,

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz

“Life is a brief excursion; death is always the destiny.” – Graham Woodhouse

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

“No problem can ever be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
– Albert Einstein



“Love is not about getting what we want. Love is about how we live with what we are given.”

—C. W. Huntington Jr.

“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.”
— The Talmud

“There is no path without straying, there is no life without devastations, no success without many errors.” – Dogen Zenji

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
– Bruce Lee

“As we willingly enter each place of fear, each place of deficiency and insecurity in ourselves, we will discover that its walls are made of untruths, of old images of ourselves, of ancient fears, of false ideas of what is pure and what is not.” – Jack Kornfield

“Before we can know what natural warmth really is, often we must experience loss. We go along for years moving through our days, propelled by habit, taking life pretty much for granted. Then we or someone dear to us has an accident or gets seriously ill, and it’s as if blinders have been removed from our eyes. We see the meaninglessness of so much of what we do and the emptiness of so much we cling to.” – Pema Chodron

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but with seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

“The Taoist symbol of yin and yang is a circle which is half dark and half light. In the midst of the dark area is a spot of light, and in the midst of the light area is a spot of darkness. Even in the depths of darkness, the light is implicit. Even in the heart of light, the dark is understood, acknowledged and absorbed.”  – Sharon Saltzberg

“There’s nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is in being superior to your former self” – Ernest Hemingway

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

– Steven Jobs, former chairman of Apple Computer

“If we cannot hear silence, we do not know how to listen.” —Mark C. Taylor



“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” – Pema Chodron


If what you have read on this site speaks to you and you feel that coaching might be useful, I invite you to take the next step in your transitioning by contacting me for a free exploratory conversation.

Gordon W. MacKay
Certified Integral Coach™
The Dover Group