View this issue online at www.todayscoach.com/2003/1007.html
Monday, October 6, 2003
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!
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.
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.
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.
Evolving As a Coach (And As a Person): What is Masterful
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"
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
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
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.
is the Timeless Way of Building...
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
This is the timeless way of building: learning the
discipline - and shedding it"
- Christopher Alexander, Architect and
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.
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
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.
October 10/11, 2003
Led by Nina East, Rita Fiore
DoubleTree Club Hotel San Diego
October 24/25, 2003
Led by Rita Fiore, Patti Lustig
Hilton Fort Lee George Washington Bridge
November 21/22, 2003
Led by Nina East
Holiday Inn Suites, Toronto/Markham,
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