My name is Gordon MacKay. I am a Certified Integral Coach™ and I have more than twenty five years experience in the field of human development. Coaching is not a job for me, it is what I love to do. I specialize in supporting people who are going through major life transitions. I help them to achieve emotional balance and to cultivate the inner resources required to move forward in their lives.

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

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

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:


Facing Serious Illness

The diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness, for ourselves or for a loved one, can have an overwhelming impact. Despite the natural reality of death, it is something that we don’t normally talk about in western culture or think about in our daily lives.  Sometimes a traumatic event catapults us in an unprepared way to face the realities of the impermanence of life.  This can produce a whole range of emotions, even for those with deep religious or spiritual values.  At the same, the stress on family members and care-givers can take a physical and emotional toll on them.

Personal Transitions Coaching can help to soften and to release our fears in order to step into a natural relationship with death, aligned with our deepest beliefs and values.  It can also support care-givers as they attempt to maintain a healthy balance between the requirements of attending to a loved one and their own personal needs.



Loss of a Loved One

The pain of losing a loved one can be devastating.  There are few events in our lives that are more traumatic.  Just as everyone has a unique personality and life situation, the grieving process is different for each of us.  Healthy grieving is about fully experiencing and working with our difficult emotions and the thoughts that accompany them.  Grief can shatter our inner landscape; we must take the time to heal.

We mourn by sharing our grief with others – those who love us and who are capable of supporting our process.  Slowly over time we develop the capacities necessary to travel through grief and to redirect our energies back into life.  Our grief does not go away; eventually it stays as a quiet companion, sometimes close, sometimes distant.  It helps us to face the reality of death while we gradually re-open our hearts to the fullness of life.  This process calls for patience, compassion and eventually, acceptance.

Personal Transitions Coaching can help to honour and to process the pain of our loss while moving towards engagement in a changed life.




While most people look forward to retirement, many do not. Either way, retirement can be a difficult transition to make. It can be a challenge to leave behind the activities and relationships that have been a major part of our daily lives and our identities.

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 your new life.


Divorce or Separation

Each divorce or separation is a unique and deeply personal experience. For some it may involve feelings of betrayal, abandonment or anger; others may feel lost or fearful about their new situation. If we ignore or succumb to our strong emotions, we can carry the wounds for many years and into our next relationship. Personal Transitions Coaching helps us to face and manage the emotional realities of this difficult time in order to move in a healthy way into the next phase of our lives.





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 interest as a coach is to help clients maximize their personal potential to successfully navigate major life transitions. Most of our personal transitions are successfully negotiated by using 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 just 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 on the Integral Coaching Canada website.

Coaching changes how we perceive and interact with the outside world and with ourselves. It 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 suppress or struggle with them. We start from wherever the client is and move towards wherever they would like to be. This 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 independent and living on his own. I worked for Statistics Canada for thirty-five years. The later part of my career was spent in human resource development where I did coaching, training and facilitation. I have been a Certified Integral Coach™ since June 2005 and working in private practice since October 2006.

Divorce, retirement and more than twenty years as a recovered alcoholic, are examples of major transitions in my own life. My involvement as a volunteer in palliative care and my curiosity about death began over thirty years ago when I discovered how awkward I felt trying to talk with a dying family member. I have since accompanied many people and their family members through the process of dying. This includes my own parents. An openness to the fact of death, both literally and figuratively, is an important part of my spiritual practice.

As a Certified Integral Coach™, I support clients by using my coaching skills along with my training and experience in Gestalt Therapy, Palliative Care, Shamanic Practices, Therapeutic Touch and meditation. While I have worked for many years as a corporate coach and trainer, I am most called to the support of men and women in their personal transformational work.

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

Further Reflections

Further Reflections

“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

“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

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

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 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

“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.”
– Steve Jobs, former chairman of Apple Computer


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