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Monday, February 18, 2002


On January 30, 2002, we extended an invitation to the Today's Coach Readership to join us to discuss the question:

"What is the emerging role of Coaching in Societies, Worldwide?"

Nearly 200 of you chose to open your hearts and minds to this dialogue, and we've compiled some of the results for today's issue below...  If you weren't able to attend the discussions in person, the RealAudio recordings for three of the six sessions are now available to listen to at your leisure. (You will need a copy of RealPlayer to at

Also in this issue is a special offer from our sponsor for day, MJVA, Michelle Jamison VA & Associates, specializing in Professional Coaches. More details below.

Happy Reading,

Andrea Lee
GM, CoachVille


The text below is a compilation of highlights from three calls.  For the intact discussion, click on the link in the numbered boxes in the body of the article. Also please note [XXX] in the transcription indicates a participant in the discussion other than Thomas Leonard or Dave Buck.

Thomas J. Leonard: Hi! Welcome; this is Thomas Leonard. Today we'll be teasing out the discussion on "what is the role of the coach in society". It's a subtle role and a big role, and we don't know what it is yet. Share as much as you like, this is very much a discussion. I'll talk for a few minutes to let you know where I'm coming from and then we'll open it up to discussion.

Thomas LeonardWe first got started with this idea when I was reading "Wired" magazine. The next challenge for technology is to resolve the equity issue, in terms of economic abundance, freedom to express, etc. That got me thinking about the role a coach might play in resolving that. Then I thought what the role of the coach is anyway? Because I have an accounting background, I often draw an analogy to the accounting profession. The American accounting system is really the preferred system in the world. In fact, Daimler Chrysler decided to list themselves on the NY stock exchange and to do so, they had to use the American accounting methods. That's a small example of a profession that besides doing their job, also has a bigger role to play: giving the investor a bigger degree of confidence that stimulates investment.

I think the same can be true of coaching. We have a bigger role to play that will benefit society in some way, and I think it's important we know what that is now so we can position ourselves well in society and with the media.

Dave Buck: Put another way, the basic idea behind our discussion is to look at coaching from a broader perspective.  As an example, asDave Buck Thomas says, you can make a comparison to accounting. The big picture role of accounting is to facilitate investment in a particular organization. The accountant's job is keeping track of the numbers, but in society, the role of accounting is to provide confidence for people to invest in an organization.  That comes from knowing the numbers are accurate and legitimate and that sort of thing. Now, let's look at coaching - what's the bigger role of coaching in society? What do we see as the bigger role of coaching in the world?

[XXX]: I see the role of coaching is to assist in producing free thinkers, operating from the paradigm of finding solutions - and that's a positive vision. It upgrades the quality of life on earth.

Thomas J. Leonard: And a positive vision?

[XXX]: It would be renovation, rather than repair.

Thomas J. Leonard: So kind of helping society is more oriented in that way. That's a pretty fundamental shift in common thinking. Thank you very much!

[XXX]: I see the role as supporting people to manage the huge changes that are going on in the world today.

Thomas J. Leonard: How do we do that as coaches? By helping individuals adapt?

[XXX]: Yes, and supporting them in their choices and being able to manage change in their lives, whether it's a good change or a negative change.

Thomas J. Leonard: That's true - we haven't actually managed the process of change because we've probably felt powerless about doing so. We have more power today to design and dictate our lives.

[XXX]: And people are very confused.

[XXX]: To continue with what she said - one thing I've noticed with coaching, people tend to focus on themselves, rather than other people. Focus on improving yourself and you can do more to change the world.

[XXX]: I think behind all of us we have to get in touch with our authentic selves; we're so used to preventing ourselves with walls of protection, and we don't act out of love but out of fear. I believe in authenticity.

Dave Buck: And that's another great example of what we do with clients. All the things we're talking about are things we're familiar with, but what we do with an individual person. If we accomplish all of this, what effect does that have in the larger society beyond what we do with a single person?

[XXX]: If there are enough people doing something, then eventually we'll all be doing it. If there are enough people who understand what we talked about, it multiples fantastically - that's my personal belief. Everything out there has to start in here. We're laying the groundwork to take off the whole population to that place of higher consciousness, peace, and so on.

Dave Buck: That's cool. Let's hear some more ideas.

[XXX]: I think as we become more and more technical as a country and a people, we become more withdrawn into ourselves. A coach now has the ability to draw people out again. People go home to their home office and they're shopping differently - they're doing so many things alone. We need to bring people back together again, and touching and reaching them is one way to do that - to understand the need is important.

Thomas J. Leonard: So when folks are hibernating maybe - isn't it true that people are learning how to have incredibly rich relationships that heretofore only existed in person and now can exist virtually? I can say my best friend - I've met him twice but we talk everyday on the phone, Dean Jackson, and we have an incredibly rich relationship, but we don't spend physical time together. So, is it a question of us spending more time together or a question of finding ways to have rich virtual relationships in addition to our geocentric ones?

[XXX]: I think the latter.

Thomas J. Leonard: Because people are often going - they're hiding out in front of their computer and not connecting the way they used to. Thanks. Who else?

[XXX]: I guess - one of the pieces I go back to is Milton's whole idea that if we care about the folks we're working with, we really care about their growth. That's where we need to come from - a place that's extremely respectful of the person we're working with.

Thomas J. Leonard: And no other role in that person's life.....?

[XXX]: There are others; I think anyone that cares for you encourages you to grow....

Thomas J. Leonard: And a coach may have the technology to help you do that - we have a set of skills and tools the average population probably doesn't have to take that to the next level. Any other comments?

[XXX]: The one that struck me first is that we're here to help each other master the art of relationships - not just people, but with money, resources, and so on. By being a role model for what that's all about facilitates our ability to communicate and displays compassion.

Dave Buck: What you said is definitely adding to the picture of what we provide to our clients. Do you have a thought on what the global effect is?

[XXX]: To me it's the art of mastering relationships and evolving people to the next level.

Dave Buck: So the role of coaching is almost like we're part of this huge global research project to get at the source of what makes human beings have a wonderful life, rather than just figure out what's wrong?

[XXX]: That's right. That's the value of coaching to me.

Dave Buck: Great; very, very clear.

[XXX]: To me, coaching is freeing people to lead bigger lives.

Dave Buck: That's great; I like that. We have all these value-oriented people running around, then what would happen?

[XXX]: We would have an evolution of the species.

Dave Buck: Right!

[XXX]: I think it's been in the realm of the spiritual coach, but I think it relates to a lot of things we're learning about coaching - working from our strengths, for example. If we work from that basis globally, then each individual has something to share, even if we think they're competing with us and threatening to us. If we work from our strengths, we can work together better.

Dave Buck: So our role is to enhance the evolution? That's pretty cool.

[XXX]: The coach doesn't have an agenda, so they're not attached to whatever the person wants to be or do - it's probably the only role in society where there's no attachment to you being something for the other person.

Thomas J. Leonard: Well said! And that itself alters the relationship.

Thomas J. Leonard: One of the comments earlier was that we help people develop their unique set of gifts and skills. In some cultures, it's not about the individual, but more about society. In the US, it's more about the individual. In other countries, it's about conformity or what's best as a tribe. It's almost like finding out what is unique and special about you, helping you grow and nurture that, and then helping you replicate it in some way so that it's a bigger contribution.

[XXX]: To go on that - i did a lot of counseling in Japan and know the culture very well. Part of the problem working with young people, if they didn't fit in the way they should, they didn't like themselves. It was really hard to make them realize that they can simply add to the group.

Thomas J. Leonard: Well said; thank you.

[XXX]: I see coaching as one of the most invaluable services and it's what coaches do that is of infinite value. Coaches are a gap between the personal and professional, and are finding information on the source of human problems. We're like ants collecting data on the symptoms of the human condition.

Thomas J. Leonard: We've got a couple minutes left. On the whole notion of gifts and strength, uniqueness and potential, (if we think of that as one little circle), and the other circle is this notion of peace, harmony, and the role of the coach to help folks transcend some of the stuff, what then, is the bridge between the peace, transcending bridges, and harmony and strength and uniqueness?

[XXX]: The bridge is the communication that provides a deeper understanding, beyond just communicating with words.

Thomas J. Leonard: Are you saying that if I know what my strengths are, what's unique about me, I'll be naturally more at peace with understanding differences?

[XXX]: Yes.

[XXX]: I wonder if the bridge isn't somehow an image or picture of the underlying commonalities that exist and the fact that - it's like a symphony orchestra, you need to have a melody - if everyone plays a unique melody, the sound is richer. As a coach, we're inviting people to play their unique melody. It's a unique role, it's an important role, and the whole is enriched.

Thank you to all Dave Buck, Thomas Leonard and all the Coaches who shared their thoughts on this topic.

Copyright 2002 by All rights reserved.



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