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  • Part II Continued - Today's Coach Evolving as a Coach 

  • Problem Solving versus Collaboration

  • Letters to the Editor

  • CoachVille Live Events

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Friday, October 24, 2003

Today's Coach Evolving as a Coach (and as a Person) - Part II Continued

During the past several weeks, we have been exploring the pathway to Masterful Coaching. At the beginner level of coaching, the focus is typically on asking questions and listening for answers in order to solve a problem. You may remember I labeled this "Pavlovian Puppy" coaching. This is a great place to start in coaching, but many coaches find themselves yearning for more.

In last week's issue of Today's Coach, we introduced Collaborative Coaching. At this intermediate level, coaches begin to look for the source of the problem and then discover ways to collaborate with their client to find solutions. Collaboration shifts the burden of coach from problem solver to partner.

In the latest installment of Today's Coach, we explore the power and possibility behind this distinction of problem solver vs. collaborator. We want to thank all of you who have sent your comments to We've included a few of them at the end of the article. Keep 'em comin'! 

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Problem Solving Versus Collaborating

In making a shift from problem solver to collaborator as a coach, there are some key distinctions. First of all, when a coach operates from the beginner level of solving problems, the focus is on the symptoms of a situation or problem, not the source. For example, say you have a client that dreams up a really big goal to create a strategic alliance with one of the largest franchise chains in the country. The client loves the idea of what the alliance can do for his business. But he always seems to find a reason why he can't make that phone call to initiate the alliance. When you discuss this with him, he states that he's been too busy, that there's just "not enough time in the day", that he's disorganized, and on and on.

A beginner level coach might latch on to the client's disorganization and procrastination and assign a time study to solve the problem. After all, that's a great tool! Let's help the client manage his time! And yet even after these efforts the client still procrastinates, and the goal is still far from attainable. This is because the lack of organization is a symptom, not a cause. In this case the cause, or source, turns out to be the client's deeply rooted fear of showing up-having to actually step up and be the person that such an alliance would require. (More about this in a future issue about Core Dynamics.)

Problem solving is often more about coaches' need to prove themselves and their value than it is about serving the client. The desire to package the situation into a nice little box and check it off as done serves the coach's need for completion but often doesn't leave the client with a real solution. This creates a performance burden for the coach and it removes the true responsibility from the client where it belongs. Tips and strategies act as a band-aid. It becomes less and less about the client, requiring a tremendous amount of energy. Most importantly, it's a huge burden to try so hard!

We must become the change we want to see. - Mahatma Gandhi

If problem solving is such a burden and collaborating is so powerful, why don't we do it? The reason brings to light the most profound aspect of living the coaching life. That is, we tend to attract clients with the same problems we have. To collaborate with the client requires us to be truly present to the client's life and the problem. Due to the reflective nature of the coaching process, we have to be willing to face these problems in ourselves.

This brings us to the most perplexing part of collaborative coaching. That is when the best efforts of client (and coach) result in little progress toward the desired goal or experience. The big question: "What is REALLY going on here?" becomes a daily challenge for the coach. Why don't people do what they know they need or want to do? Why are the most obvious action steps so hard to take? When the desire to find the answers to these questions becomes strong enough, the coach is ready to plunge into the world of masterful coaching!

In Part Three of this series, we will explore the next step in the evolution of a coach . . . Causing Problems.

Letters to the Editor

"I loved it when you said in Today's Coach: 'The reason most people struggle with their goals is because the goal isn't right for them in the first place.'

If coaches keep this valuable nugget in mind, it will help them enormously. I had to learn this for myself, and it is one of the evolutionary steps in the life of a coach. Hearing it earlier will hopefully save other coaches lots of time and energy on an 'old technology' learning path."

Lea Belair PCC, Leap Coaching

"CoachVille has become the professional society for coaches and as such, has redefined longstanding disciplines such as consulting, advice, and mentorship into a comprehensive new field. You have given substance to a previously undefined category. By causing coaches to be respected, desired and incorporated into day to day business and life, you will have advanced our society to a higher level of consciousness and made business relationships more profound." 

Jim Cathcart, Lake Sherwood, CA

"I'm walking away from this edition of Today's Coach more aware of why my coaching practice is starting to feel draining and how I can evolve myself into a more engaging life journey partner."

Julia Menard, B.A., Cert. Conflict Resolution - Contemplative Coach

CoachVille Live Events...
Learn more... quickly!

Small Business Coaching Intensive 

Coming to...
Atlanta, GA, October 24 and 25 
San Francisco, CA  November 21 and 22

Small businesses make up a very large percentage of all businesses and the owners of these businesses need your help.  In two days of information packed interactive learning, you will learn the 15 areas from which business owners are likely to hire you and the 15 Small Business Proficiencies that will position you as an expert with these clients.  We will also show you how to market to the 15 entry points and build a website that connects your menu of services with the business situations your service will solve.

For more information, visit

To register, go to and search for 'class' number 2170.

Coaching Springboard Intensive

Coming to...
New Jersey, NJ, October 24 and 25
Toronto, ON, November 21and 22 

This Intensive is for anyone who is relatively new to coaching, interested in using coaching skills in their current profession, wants to bring coaching skills into their company, or interested in getting a quick start in the business.  In this interactive 2 day Intensive, we will introduce you to the fundamentals and help you get your arms around the whole coaching process.

For more information, visit

To register, go to and search for 'class' number 2180.


Coming to...
Chicago, IL, November 14 and 15
San Diego, CA, December 5 and 6 

If you’ve ever had a personal problem that you just couldn’t solve or an issue with someone that you couldn’t resolve, you may have wondered:  “What is REALLY going on here?”  The answer lies in what we call The Core Dynamics of Common Problemssm.  The Absence of You event = the absence of core dynamics at play in your life.  In this seminar, we go deeply into these dynamics, which are the basis of virtually all human problems.  You will learn how to identify the behaviors and begin to absence them.  You will also learn about conflicting intentions and how they dreain your energy.  This is a challenging and soul-searching experience.  While it’s extremely useful for people who coach others, that is not the focus.  The focus in this program is on YOU. 

For more information, visit

To register, go to and search for 'class' number 2122.

Full Practice Marketing Intensive 

Coming to...
Boston, MA, October 31 and November 1
Austin, TX , December 12 and 13 

If you are ready to fill your practice, we are ready to help. This 2 day Intensive is a full-spectrum immersion weekend for any coach who wants to learn what waorks and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing and how to get more and better-paying clients.  We will help you hone in on what it is you really do for your clients and show you how to communicate it in an effective way that attracts people to you – both clients and raving fans,  who refer others to you.  And that, in the end, is what marketing is all about.

For more information, visit 

To register, go to and search for 'class' number 2060.