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Special Broadcast - Remembering t

Thomas J. Leonard
July 31, 1955 – February 11, 2003











View this issue online at

Wednesday, February 11, 2004 

Quote from t: 

“My life used to suck and
I used to be well-intentioned, but frankly, a bumbler.

It's all gotten a lot better in the past 10 years.
This coaching stuff really does work.”


Remembering Thomas
By Donna Steinhorn

I see Thomas every day when I pass my refrigerator.  His photo and obituary have taken center stage there for a year now.  But I didn't really need them there...because even without the visible reminder, he speaks to me. Often he laughs at me. The interesting thing is that I have heard the same thing from many I know I haven't lost my mind.  I'm not sure what's actually going on it a trick of the imagination, memories, or his actual presence (I have an open mind.)  But does it really matter? 

I've been privileged in this year, to connect with many people who knew t longer and better than I did.  We swap stories of his emails, his foibles, his proliferation.  And most of all how he touched and changed our lives.  I am grateful for having known him for the short time that I did. 

Many of you knew t, or had met him at one of the live events or his tours. Below we share two of your personal thoughts and conversations.  Some of you never met or spoke to him, but have voiced how you feel like you knew him from his emails, his R&D, his programs and ezines.  And some of you never even heard of Thomas, but you are reaping the benefits of the industry he envisioned all those years ago.  For all of us, I say "thank you t." 

I'll be removing that photo and obituary from my refrigerator today.  I never really needed it there.  Because in the absence of t from the world as we know it, I have the presence of t in my heart and mind.   

Donna Steinhorn

Director of Content Development and Innovation, CoachVille | Schools of CoachVille
Dean, Thomas Leonard Coaching School | Director, Schools of CoachVille

Thoughts on a Friend . . . From a Friend 
By Lisa Micklin 

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since I got the phone call informing me that Thomas had passed on.  The news shocked me into oblivion and I found myself unable to work for days.  I met and began working with t about 4 months before we opened the doors of CoachVille.  I remember being boggled by the amount of work a team of 5 was able to accomplish to make CoachVille a reality.  One thing about t is, he created a work environment of other creative people who could perform the multi-tasking of 20. After we opened CoachVille to the public, about three months in, I received an email from Thomas that we had already reached nearly 50% of our first year's membership goals!  A process he projected to take 183 days, took less than 90. 

What was it about t and his work environment that created this amazing success?  I think it was the "Ville" in CoachVille.  While t was a loner in many aspects of his life, he learned that "It takes a village to raise a child", as the saying goes.  CoachVille was his child at that time, and while he was proficient at making unilateral decisions, anything big that would affect the whole village, he asked for input on. 

The lessons, gifts and wisdom that he shared with us all are countless.  Every one of us who is involved in coaching in any way, can thank Thomas for making our industry what it is.  Thomas' passion for improving the lives of tens of thousands of people, is a driving force for each and every coach in their own practice, in their own way.  Even those who never had the opportunity to meet him in person benefit from his relentless trail blazing efforts to this day and will continue to do so. 

We tip our hats to t with this issue of Today's Coach, and invite you to celebrate his life, his passion, his wit and his wisdom in your own way on this profound anniversary.   We also invite you to subscribe to the "conversations with t" ezine.  This is a new periodic publication exploring many anecdotes and experiences that individuals and groups have had with Thomas that have impacted their lives and businesses. Experiences like the one featured below. To subscribe, visit and simply fill out the form you will find there. 

Lisa Micklin, Web development consultant, self-awareness coach, renaissance woman


Conversations with t
How people are like bath salts...

The Story...
Contributed by Kristin Taliaferro,

During the time I worked with him, Thomas and I spoke often. He was quite the speedy e-mailer, too! If you’ve ever worked with him, you know what I mean. Thomas once said his ideas hit him with such fierce velocity he was utterly defenseless. Well, his emails hit me the same way! When Thomas had an idea, he’d shoot out an email to share it. He always said he created his best work in collaboration with others, and I do believe that’s true. Night and day, those emails and ideas were flying. Did he have a team of elves helping him? Surely, no HUMAN could produce and work as much as he? I wondered.

“What are you up to?” he asked one day with a phone call.
“I’m making bath salts”, I replied.

“WHAAAAT? You have way too much time on your hands.” Thomas said in half-jest.

This led us into what I like to call the “bath salts conversation”. Although, it really wasn’t about bath salts, it was about balance.

“Don’t you ever do anything just for the fun of it?” I said “Sure, I could buy bath salts (and I do) but it seemed fun to make some for gifts. Do you have anything like that you enjoy doing ?” I wanted to know.

“I like to create.” He said. “I also like to go to movies and read. But, mainly I like to write and create” (coaching tools, logos, designs etc)

Mental note to self – Don’t expect any handmade gifts from TL at Christmas. Definitely not any bath salts!

To be honest, that conversation left me with the nagging feeling he was a bit too focused on work. Sure, he loved it! But, isn’t there more to a balanced life? What about people? What about silly hobbies? Working constantly seemed a little too one dimensional to me, to tell you the truth. Sometimes, I felt sad for him.

What Really Mattered...

Thomas’s tour finally reached my hometown. After working with him for months, I was going to meet him face to face for the first time. The RV rolled in, and there he was. Why was I nervous? Even though we were friends and colleagues, it was kind of like meeting a rock star. I felt star-struck for a moment.

“Hello!” I said as I walked into the RV. “How are you doing?”

A bit haggard from the long trip, he said “A little tired.”

I could see from his face he was tired, yet energized. Traveling thousands of miles for months, going from city to city, would fatigue just about anyone. But, imagine if you were facing one of your biggest challenges along the way. Did you know speaking in front of large groups was one of Thomas’s least favorite things to do? He said he wanted to “over-respond” to his aversion, by putting the tour together and placing himself in front of large groups week after week. And, he did just that. What a brave guy. I think he ultimately learned to love being in front of the room.

During his presentation, I sat back in the audience and noticed how Thomas’s presence filled the whole room. OK, he had the touring bus and the coaching groupies, maybe he really WAS a rock star. The only other time I remember feeling so in awe of someone was during the Elton John/Billy Joel concert. Two Legends. Thomas was a legend, too. He had that same “star” quality about him, even though I’m sure he didn’t suspect that about himself at all.

After all of the people in the audience filed out of the room, following the presentation, I remember sticking around to meet with Thomas and wish him well on the next leg of his trip. In the front row, there was one person remaining, however. I don’t know her name but she had a “lost” look about her. She wasn’t a coach, I do remember that. She could very well be one by now, though! I recall some of the thoughts and questions this woman had and I remember asking her if she needed help finding her way home. There was this unmistakable lost or confused look about her. It was unnerving.

Well, after saying our goodbyes, I went home. The lone woman from the audience was still sitting there. She wouldn’t budge! “Should I help Thomas out by moving this lady along” I wondered?

The following day, I received a call from Thomas.

“Remember that lady from last night?” he quizzed with a buzz in his voice.

“I invited her for coffee and we chatted for a couple of hours in my RV. I think I may’ve helped her.” Thomas said with pride.

The Impact...

And it was in THAT moment when I realized what really mattered MOST to him. People. Sure, he wrote and created scores of information to help people, but what mattered the most to him was actually helping them WHENEVER and WHEREVER he could, no matter how TIRED he was. While other experts might just say “Read my book”, Thomas said “Come in for some coffee and let’s talk.”

So you see, Thomas’s bath salts were people. They were his hobby and his life. He loved people. And without a doubt, they loved him too.

You can experience more stories of Thomas Leonard by subscribing to the special ezine “Conversations with t” at, or clicking on the banner below.  

Conversations With Thomas

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