Huna and Coaching


‘A‘ohe ‘ulu e loa‘a i ka pōkole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.

(There is no success without preparation).

In this article I take a brief look at how Huna provides a useful framework in which to frame coaching.

What is Coaching?

One of definition that the International Coaching Community gives of coaching is:

  • To help a person change in the way they wish and helping them go in the direction they want to go.
  • Coaching supports a person at every level in becoming who they want to be.
  • Coaching builds awareness empowers choice and leads to change.

Coaching is distinguished from therapy as it is generally about where someone is right now and what they want to achieve and what will enable the gap between the two to be bridged. Despite this, there may be blocks in the way and coaching can help remove those blocks. Coaching empowers as it facilitates the process of the coachee gaining their own insights and making their own changes.

Coaching generally focuses on two levels:

  • internal: awareness and mindset
  • external: taking action in the world

The purpose of coaching is essentially to bring about some kind of change and manifest something new.

Huna as a Coaching Framework

It is evident that Huna can be applied as an excellent framework for coaching. It provides a powerful structure which can be applied across a range of different contexts. In addition, there are a range of tools and techniques within this framework that can assist coaching clients to deal with challenges and support their goals. While the Huna philosophy derives from ancient Hawaiian beliefs, the principles are timeless and focus ultimately on their utility, practicality and effectiveness which makes it an excellent approach to dealing with most modern day issues.


The Huna coaching approach can be applied to many different contexts . The following are some areas that I focus on, however, the possibilities beyond that are vast:

Personal development

e.g. applied or existential. Depth coaching, self discovery, increasing effectiveness, exploring the adventure of life


e.g. changing and improvements in a range of contents, intimate, family, workplace etc

Business and leadership

e.g. authenticity, confidence, personal sovereignty, persuasion, influence, team work

Sports and performance

e.g. overcoming blocks, improving performance.

Some Examples of Applying Huna to Coaching

When one considers applying the principles of Huna to coaching it can be seen that they provide a rich approach which works on multiple levels.

From a coachees’ perspective:

Ike***Awareness*** The World Is What You Think It Is

  • Self awareness.
  • Awareness of others.
  • Broadening the range of thinking.
  • Gaining new insights.
  • Being able to dream and know how to dream big.

Kala***Freedom*** There Are No limits

  • Identifying internal and external blocks and overcoming them.
  • Expanding possibilities.
  • Challenging the limits of thinking and our personal narratives.
  • Overcoming fear and anger.

Makia***Focus***Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

  • Discovering what to focus on.
  • Choosing a purpose.
  • Developing laser like focus and concentration.
  • Minimising ‘clutter’ and distractions.
  • Reducing tension to increase focus.
  • Putting energy into desires. Taking action.
  • Exercising the personal superpower of choice.

Manawa***Presence***Now Is The Moment Of Power

  • ‘Showing up’ in life.
  • Making choices and taking action now that will shape the future.
  • Letting go of the past.
  • Balancing future goals with present experience and developing empowering states in the present.
  • Overcoming procrastination.

Aloha***Love/ Connection***To Love is to be happy with.

  • Finding out what makes you happy and how to get more of it.
  • Overcoming criticism of self and others.
  • How forgiveness can free energy to move forward.
  • Understanding how to make connections internally and externally to support you in your goals.

Mana***Power***All Power Comes From Within

  • Recognising and claiming personal sovereignty.
  • Taking personal responsibility.
  • Increasing personal power.
  • Increasing confidence and reducing doubt.

Pono***Flexibility / Success***Effectiveness Is The Measure Of Truth.

  • Every experience is an opportunity for learning and to adapt to lessons learned.
  • Being flexible, learning what works, and if necessary, varying approaches to get results.
  • There is always another way to achieve things.
  • Understanding that how you approach things determines what the outcome is.

Just some examples of other elements of Huna that can be applied to coaching contexts include:


  • Understanding the success factors in manifestation and goal achievement.
  • Using the tools of words, images, feelings and movement to achieve this.

Hu and Na

  • Becoming aware of natural cycles of stillness and movement and how to flow with them and when to influence them.

Aspects of the self.

  • Understanding and working with mind, body and spirit. Discovering how to work with different aspects of the self to be effective.
  • Understanding conscious and subconscious processes and how to cultivate inspiration and develop a strong core identity and sense of self.

Shifting perspectives on reality.

  • Being able to see things from many different perspectives thereby increasing flexibility and opportunity.

Cultivating the ‘adventurer’ attitude to whatever you want to achieve

  • Developing adventurous qualities such as acceptance, curiosity and play.
  • Enjoying the process and the outcomes. While goals can be achieved enjoying the process is important too.
  • Goal achievement can be a common focus of coaching. However, the notion of ‘goaling’ and enjoying the adventure of life is too.

The Huna Coach

The coaching relationship involves a two way dialogue between the coachee and the coach (Kumu a’o). The Huna principles can be applied to the coach as well to ensure the coaching process is effective. Examples include:

Ike***Awareness***The World Is What You Think It Is

  • Believing that the client can achieve what they want
  • Guiding the client towards new insights

Kala***Freedom***There Are No Limits

  • Letting go of preconceptions and judgements and your own ideas of how things should be.
  • Establishing the boundaries and rules of the coaching relationship.

Makia***Focus***Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

  • Focussing on the client and helping them achieve the result they want.

Manawa***Presence***Now Is The Moment Of Power

  • Working in the present moment and being fully present for the client.

Aloha***Love/ Connection***To Love Is To Be Happy With

  • Showing compassion.
  • Establishing rapport and connection, caring about the client’s success.

Mana***Power***All Power Comes From Within

  • Empowering the client to take responsibility for their outcomes.
  • Holding clients to account.

Pono***Flexibility / Success***Effectiveness Is The Measure Of Truth.

  • Committing to success and being flexible to provide the most value for the client and use whatever approaches work.
  • The coach can be flexible and incorporate traditional Huna techniques alongside other techniques- the key is to use whatever is effective in the circumstances.

A few examples of other aspects of Huna that can be applied to the coach include:

Working with all aspects of the self

  • Having an approach that combines logic, intuition and inspiration.

Working in Ao and Po

  • Working with the seen and unseen.


  • Discovering what things look like from the clients’ perspective.


  • Trusting the process and expecting the best.


Oni kalalea ke ku a ka lā‘au loa.

A tall tree stands above the others.

A person of outstanding achievements.


This article just begins to explore the application of Huna to the broad field of coaching. Huna has a widespread application and can provide a perfect framework to assist people in achieving their goals and achieving success.

Pete Dalton ©2020.  This article first appeared on Aloha International

To find out more about coaching using Huna I offer or the coaching in Huna I offer contact me here.

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