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What is Core Energy?

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

This blog post is about Core Energy™ coaching concepts. I'm a Core Energy™ coach and a lot of people ask me, “Jeff. What is this Core Energy™ stuff?” I will tell you what Core Energy™ is and how it can help you live your lives or grow your business or accomplish whatever you're trying to do a lot better.


If you want to watch a video of this exact same topic, go here:


(Core Energy™ is a registered trademark of iPEC and all Core Energy™ concepts described in this blog post are derived from iPEC’s Core Energy Coaching™ program.)

This is an image of the cognitive triangle. It's a simplified version of the cognitive process. Cognitive meaning how we think and then act.

There's a thought, there's a feeling, and then an action. This cycle is happening continually throughout the day; throughout the week; and throughout the month. This repeating cycle creates what us Core Energy™ Coaches “energy”. These Core Energy™ concepts have been developed by, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching or iPEC. Everything in this post is something that iPEC taught me. iPEC has classified energy into two major types of energy: 1) Catabolic; and 2) Anabolic.

With catabolic energy, we are reacting to something.

An event happens. Then a thought… then a feeling and then an action.

The next form of energy is called anabolic energy. In anabolic energy, we’re being more proactive.

By proactive, I mean that we think, then we feel, then we act, and then the event happens. A lot of people that believe that they're in control of their lives and actualizing what they're supposed to do in life, are in this antibiotic space. People who are constantly reacting to life whether it's the news that you're watching or sporting event results, are in a catabolic space.

Why does energy matter?

Each type of energy has its place and all of us experience both energy levels. It's not as if we're only in one or one space or the other. Happier and more content people spend more time in the anabolic space because catabolic energy tends to tear you down, while anabolic energy tends to build you up over time.

A good analogy of this would be food. Catabolic energy is like that bad food that tastes so good. Candy and cakes are so attractive and great to eat. They give you a quick burst of energy but eventually burn you out. You're left lethargic. Right? Anabolic energy is the nutritious food that builds you up over time. It's not always the most attractive food to eat and so you must be deliberate about your diet and what you're consuming.

iPEC has divided these energy levels up into seven different levels. It goes all the way from 100% catabolic to 100% anabolic. Level one is 100% catabolic, and Level seven is 100% anabolic.

Let's talk about what these levels are… because that may make a little bit more sense to you.

Level One – Victim

Level one is called victim energy. The core thought of level one energy is, “I lose.” At victim energy, you feel like you're not in control of anything. There's something outside of you that’s controlling you and there's nothing that you can do about it.

I coach business owners.

My clients say, “I'm never a victim!”.

I ask, “What do you think about taxes?”

“Taxes are terrible! The government keeps raising taxes and then they're giving it to people that don't work! This is miserable and there's nothing I can do about it!”

I say, “That the victim energy.”

We all experienced this energy on some level and in some capacity in some situations. None of us are immune to victim energy.

Level Two – Conflict

Level two is called conflict energy. This is the most common energy level in our modern workplace and our modern lives. With conflict energy, the core thought is, “I win, you lose”.

We experienced level two in sports and as fans of sports. We experience it in politics. There can only be one winner and one loser. A lot of us think we're getting energized from this competition. It's the thing that gets us going. Right?

Level two is still a very catabolic energy. It will eventually burn you out.

Level Three - Acceptance

Level three is the first anabolic energy level. Level three is called acceptance. The core thought of level three energy is, “I win”. The difference between winning at level three and winning at level two is that you don't care if the other side loses. You're mainly focused on yourself.

Level 3 people will say things like, “It's fine” and “I did my best”. They're happy go lucky. They ignore negative obstacles that are in their way. They walk around them. They cope with negative situations in their life. Thinking, “there’s nothing I can do about it”. They don't dwell on it… they just move on. Level three people are good achievers. They set goals and achieve those goals. They stay in their head and they're in their own space.

Level Four – Compassion

Level four is very anabolic. The title of level four energy is compassion energy. The core thought of level 4 is, “You win”. You means, “not me” but “somebody else.”

You're serving others at level four. You’re very service-oriented. You're trying to build other people up. You care about them. You’re empathizing with their predicaments. Especially, if it's a bad predicament. And you want to help them improve whatever their lot in life is. Good coaches in coaching sessions tend to experience compassion energy with their clients.

Level Five – Opportunity

The core thought at Level 5 is Win/Win. Level 5, as a business coach, is where I try to get all my clients. Level 5 energy is called opportunity. When you're striving for mutual benefit in your business. You're not just trying to get some quick money and leave. If that's the type of businessperson you are, you’ll fail or go to jail.

If you're a good businessperson, you're looking for a win for your customers that is tied to a win for you. You're looking for a win for your employees that is also tied to the win for you. This level 5 energy is awesome for business owners. The problem with level 5 is you try to chase every shiny object. A Level 5 business owner thinks there's opportunity everywhere. So, it's hard for them to focus.

Level Six – Synergy

With synergy energy, the core thought of is that “everyone wins”. Most businesses have some benefit that they provide the community… the world beyond the business relationship they have with their customer… or from the relationship with an employee. Synergy is going way beyond your business box and into the world or into your community.

This is what I like about the energy savings industry where I’ve spent most of my professional career. We’d reduce utility bills for customers. We’d benefit from payments from our customers. The world would benefit from having a cleaner environment. So, “everyone wins”. These wins were not necessarily related just to our business and the customer.

Level Seven – Total Awareness

I call Level 7 “total awareness” or “creator” energy. Most of us are rarely at this level. That's okay. It's not always applicable to our situation. The core thought at level 7 is that “winning and losing don't matter”. At first you may say, “That sounds apathetic!” It does. It's not apathy as much as disconnection.

Your ego is not connected to the outcome of some event or project. If you're trying to win a project, you're not attached to your ego. You may think, “If I win the project, that's great and we're going to do a great job. If I lose the project, that's the way it was supposed to be and I'm going to move on to the next thing.” You don't tie your ego and your self-worth to the things that are happening outside of you.

Level 7 is hard to get to. The other thing that happens at level 7 is it you can pick different any one of the lower levels of energy as appropriate. If you believe objectively speaking that competition is called for, you will put yourself at level 2. That's a competitive level. You're not going to get emotionally engaged. But you’ll participate there and you’ll act there to win when winning matters and the other side must lose.

How is Energy Used in Business Coaching?

Those are the seven levels of energy and that's what Core Energy™ coaching is. How I use it with my clients is I do “climbing the ladder” exercises. I lift my clients up to level seven so that they can objectively see their situation. Especially when they're trying to make big decisions. They can objectively make the right decision for them and their business.

Why does Energy Matter?

Back to our original question, “Why does Energy Matter?” The reason that energy matters is that iPEC has correlated the average energy level to an individual’s level of contentment and happiness in life. If you want to be content in life, your core energy level is critical. When I do a “mindset assessment” … it's also called an Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment. The ELI is created by iPEC. After the assessment I understand how energy is showing up for my client. If a client has low energy levels to start, I know that we will spend more time on mindset coaching. If my client has higher energy levels, I can quickly start coaching on improving the mechanics of their business.

This assessment is completed in my “mechanics and mindset assessment”. If that's something that you're interested in, you can visit my website at to set up a discovery session.

If you are interested in becoming a Core Energy Coach™, you can sign up for formal training at iPEC at:

I hope that you’ve learned more about Core Energy™ and how I use it to help my clients and how you may be able to use it to help yourself.



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