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  • Greetings from the New Editor-in-Chief
  • Masterful Coaching
  • Coaching Springboard


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    Monday, October 6, 2003

    Hello there, Dave Buck here - the new editor-in-chief of Today's Coach.

    First of all, we're back! Thanks so much for waiting for us. We've been extremely focused on the inner workings of CoachVille and building a leadership team and now we are ready to put our focus back where it truly belongs . . .YOU!

    Secondly, please notice the new message under the masthead: holding the vision and forwarding the legacy of Thomas J. Leonard, Coach. This is a BIG job and one we lovingly embrace. We are striving to create a balance between moving forward with new ideas and keeping the spirit of Thomas alive by referencing the amazing body of work he created.

    You'll notice that Today's Coach has a slightly different format and some added features. This edition of Today's Coach was written by me and our new Senior Editor, Kim George. Expect to see a new edition every week showcasing the most interesting, exciting, and relevant trends in the coaching field. To that end, we are creating an Editorial Board, comprised of several outstanding coaches, many of whom you already know. You can look forward to meeting them all in the months ahead.

    One of our interactive new features is a Letters to the Editor section. We encourage you to send your comments and suggestions to us, so stay tuned. You might just see yourself in a future issue!

    Be on the lookout for our first series of articles coming out next week: "Evolving As a Coach and a Person - What Is Masterful Coaching?" Traditionally, coaching has focused primarily on helping the client get what they want through support, problem solving and accountability. This article suggests that truly masterful coaching is about CAUSING problems for your client.

    This concept is truly a revolution in what it means to be a coach. We think you'll enjoy it and at the very least, it will challenge your perspective. Again, we thank you for your continued patience in the weeks that we've been away. We look forward to bringing you thought provoking, in-depth articles on the latest trends impacting the coaching industry.

    Keep playing,


    Evolving As a Coach (And As a Person): What is Masterful Coaching?

    All coaching begins when a person (the client) has a desire to bring something new into the world. It may be a goal to achieve, a result to accomplish, a circumstance to experience or some sweet thing he or she very much wants. To have a desire is a beautiful thing. And it is even sweeter when you are ready to find the help you need to make it real. We call that help ... coaching.

    I began my life as a professional coach in January 1997 and it has been a wonderful and wild evolutionary ride. I will be using myself as an example in several places in this article because I believe that my story will be instructive (and possibly entertaining) for anyone in the practice of coaching.

    This is how I describe my evolution as a coach:

    • As a beginning coach I solved problems
    • As an Intermediate coach, I looked for the source of the problem and collaborated with the client to solve it.
    • As a Masterful coach, I CAUSE problems! And then respond to the occurring dynamics in my client AND myself.

    Beginning Coaches Solve Problems
    I got into coaching because I love to help people. My friends always turned to me for advice when they had a problem or challenge. I heard about coaching, I thought, "I'm already doing this. I might as well get paid for it!" Many coaches get started in this way-and create plenty of value.

    During the beginning coach phase, I always took the clients desire or goal at face value. "If that's what they want, then by golly, I'm going to help them get it."

    Distinction: Conditioned Goal vs. "Come Alive" Goal
    Almost 90% of the time, the goal the client wants to work on comes from some conditioning from the past. It's a "leftover" goal. For example, my first career was in computer science. When I was in High school, my grandfather said to me: "You're good at math, you should go into computers. The future is in computers". I didn't want to disappoint him, so I majored in Computer Science and began a 15 year career. Now, while I don't regret all the things I learned and accomplished, computers and I don't get along! But even though I knew it wasn't right for me, it always seemed too late to turn back.

    Even when I learned about coaching, it took me three years to quit my computer consulting career. The catalyst? My biggest client cancelled my project, taking with him 90% of my income! Almost out of the blue, I got 10 coaching clients within a week and never looked back.

    The reason most people struggle with their goals is because the goal isn't right for them in the first place. It is full of inner conflicts that they don't see (and as a beginning coach, I didn't see them either). The best that I could do was get my client to focus, create accountability, and help them solve the problems that came up along the way.

    In contrast, as a little preview, the "Come Alive" goal typically involves accessing something deep within the client. Almost always there is some hidden inner conflict that must be resolved. Most people are less then fully alive (an understatement for sure) because of inner conflicts. So the best goals - what I refer to as "Causing a Problem" - are those that seek to bring these conflicts to the light. As a beginning coach I couldn't even see this, never mind help the client through it. We'll explore this further in part three of this Today's Coach series on "Evolving as a Coach (and as a person)".

    "Pavlovian Puppy" Coaching
    I affectionately refer to the beginning of my coaching career as "pavlovian puppy" coaching. I listened to the client, waiting for him to share something that I could help him with (almost salivating). Then I'd pounce on it with fervor: "I can help you with that!"

    For this reason, most coaching schools start their coach training with a focus on asking questions and listening skills. This discipline, while tedious and in some ways limiting, is absolutely essential in the growth of a coach - it can NOT be bypassed. It is similar to the practice of playing scales while learning to play a musical instrument. It isn't very exciting, but you need to do it.

    The unfortunate consequence of the "only ask questions" style of coaching is the habit of asking leading questions. In other words, the coach knows what they want to say or recommend, but they are so focused on "only asking questions" that he/she asks a series of questions to lead the client see "the answer" for themselves.

    I describe this time as "wearing the coaching hat" and it includes: playing the role of the coach, trying hard to coach, feeling pressure to add value and straining to listen (and taking LOTS of notes on every client call). It's all about creating action plans and accountability structures to get that goal.

    This is the Timeless Way of Building...

    "Then, once this discipline has done its work, and pricked the bubbles of illusion which we cling to now, we will be ready to give up the discipline, and act as nature does.

    This is the timeless way of building: learning the discipline - and shedding it"
    - Christopher Alexander, Architect and Philosopher

    After coaching like this for a while, it became an incredible energy drain! I began to see that there were serious limitations to my own energy and my ability to REALLY help. Almost out of desperation, I found my way to intermediate coaching.

    In our next issue...Intermediate Coaching - Looking for the source of the problem and collaborating to solve it.

    If you are ready to accelerate your path through the "beginner coach" phase of your career...consider the Coaching Springboard Intensive!

    Led by Nina East, Rita Fiore, and Patti Lustig, this two-day training is the type of full immersion you are looking for to get started in the coaching field.

    Coaching is more sophisticated and complex than most people realize. We take a very complicated process and break it down to you, so you can fully master the different levels and nuances to the coaching process. 

    Join us... 
    As a participant, you will learn how to:
    Get your arms around the entire coaching process.
    Gain confidence as a coach by building on what you already know.
    Expand your thinking about what coaching is and what it isn't.
    Learn and discover what the 15 Fundamental Coaching Proficiencies are. (Click here to access.)
    Quickly identify exactly what the client is saying via the 15 Client Clarifiers
    Introduce marketing strategies for building a six figure coaching practice.
    Learn how to articulate what you can offer your clients.
    Understand how to talk about coaching without turning people off.  
    Meet and network with other coaches from you area and from around the world who share common interests with you.

    Register Now!
    City/Date Max
    Tuition  Click to register
    San Diego, CA
    October 10/11, 2003
    Led by Nina East, Rita Fiore
    100 $179 San Diego
    DoubleTree Club Hotel San Diego
    New Jersey
    October 24/25, 2003
    Led by Rita Fiore, Patti Lustig
    100 $179 New Jersey
    Hilton Fort Lee George Washington Bridge
    Toronto, ON
    November 21/22, 2003
    Led by Nina East
    100 $179 Toronto
    Holiday Inn Suites, Toronto/Markham, ON

    Training fee
    $179 USD

    9am-5pm all days
    Maximum capacity:  100

    CoachVille is pleased to provide discounts for airfare and car rental to select cities on the CoachVille Conference Tour.  Click here for details...