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Coaching Outside the Lines

November 3, 2017

Even though I’ve been coaching for 15 years, I still sometimes ask myself, “Am I doing this right? Do I have permission to do this?”  (No doubt, that’s my doubt showing up.)  And yet, when I look at the World’s Top 30 Coaching Professionals for 2017, it’s clear, to me anyway, that they didn’t ask anyone for permission.  And apparently, they didn’t ask the question “Am I doing this right?” Instead, they opted for figuring out what was right for them and did it.  (And of course, wrote a book about it, got it published and successfully promoted it – which is nice. 😊 ).

The Secret Sauce of Coaching

I don’t know what “My Way” of coaching is, my “secret sauce.”  And I sincerely respect (and am somewhat pissed off by) people who do.   I barely understand my way of coaching well enough to do it, much less write a book about it.  That said, I don’t believe there is any ONE secret sauce of coaching.  There’s a secret sauce we make for and with our clients.  Perhaps if we each could figure out the recipe for our own coaching sauce, we each could bottle it and sell it.  And what feels important is that we coaches create that secret sauce with our clients in a way that brings out not only the best in them, but the best in us, as well. (more…)

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Posted in: Coaching

Does the Client Really Have All the Answers?

October 27, 2017

I’ve been wrestling with this question for some time.  Must I only ask and never tell? Does the client really have all the answers? I recently completed a course intended to prepare me for MCC.  While it truly transformed my understanding of coaching (from an ICF perspective), I also found it frustrating.  When I tried this more MCC –like approach with my clients, many just didn’t want to play along.  (Likely because I had “trained” them to expect something different from me).  All the same, when I recently surveyed my clients about what works about our coaching and what they wanted more of from me, the comment most frequently made was “Tell me what you think!”

Does only asking questions work?

I attended the Institute of Coaching conference in Boston a couple of weeks ago and had the opportunity to get up close and personal with few high profile coaches to ask them this question.    I spoke with David Peterson, head of coaching and leadership for Google and asked him, “How much do you believe the idea that the client has their own answers?”  He responded “If you didn’t know where the bathroom was and said to me, ‘I want to figure out how to find the bathroom”, am I going to ask you how you feel about it, or why you want to go to the bathroom or what finding the bathroom is going to give you? No!  I’m going to tell you where the bathroom is!”  This pretty much summed up what I heard from a number of coaches who attended this very academic conference, focused on the research and study of the efficacy of coaching.  

Also, I had the opportunity to spend a day in a small group with Marshall Goldsmith.  I asked Marshall point blank his stance on the efficacy of the classic ICF-style approach of mainly just asking questions.  His response: “There is no scientific evidence of any kind that proves that approach to coaching works.  Mine works.  I have decade of proof that it does.”  BTW, Marshall requires all his clients sign a contract saying that they’ll do exactly what he tells them to do.  Neat job if you can get it. 😊
(more…)

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Posted in: Coaching

4 Things They Don’t Teach You in Coaching School

November 18, 2016

coaching school

Do you know the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? It’s a marvelous book written by a Seattle-area author. I wish I could write the same book about coaching school, All I Really Need to Know About Coaching I Learned in Coaching School. However, after 10 plus years of coaching, I’m realizing how much I didn’t learn about coaching in either of the two certified coaching programs I completed.

While I really could write a whole book about what I didn’t learn about coaching in school, I’m focusing this article on four key insights I’ve gained only from thousands of coaching hours, much of which has felt like trial and error. I’m hoping these four key concepts that coaching schools don’t emphasize will help make your learning curve steeper than mine was! (more…)

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Posted in: Business of Coaching|Coaching

Getting in Sync with Your Client Through the State of Engagement Model

November 10, 2016

coaching tool

As a coach, few things are less satisfying than a disengaged client. Let’s face it, most of us coaches do what we do to make a difference in the lives of our clients. And when WE seem more engaged in our client’s progress than THEY do…. well, that’s a bummer!

I’ve previously discussed the importance of creating and maintaining the rhythm of the coaching relationship. And that structure isn’t always enough to keep the client consistently, proactively engaged in their own progress. In fact, most client’s commitments wax and wane throughout the coaching relationship. And what can be most useful for nurturing their forward movement, is naming with the client, their level of engagement in the work and introducing it into the coaching conversation. (more…)

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Posted in: Coaching|Coaching Resources

Top 5 Mistakes New Coaches Make (and How to Avoid Them)

September 22, 2016

All too often I see new coaches struggle to get their business off the ground.

And it starts with focusing on the wrong things. Many times, new coaches focus too much on creating the structure around the business and don’t focus enough on finding the business. Sure, the organizational stuff has to get done, and focusing on the wrong things can be an exercise in self-deception.

In this post, I detail the five most common mistakes I see new coaches make (and some established coaches too) and how to avoid them to create a thriving coaching business.

Wasting too Much Time Getting Your Business Set Up

You probably received lots of advice when you announced that you were going to start your own business. You were likely told that you need to:

  • Write a business plan
  • Create a website
  • Develop a logo
  • Get established on social media

While these tasks do eventually need to be accomplished, they’re not your first priority. Your first priority is to coach. You don’t have a coaching business if you’re not coaching, and you’re not coaching if you don’t have clients. Too many coaches distract themselves with these so-called “necessary” tasks while putting off the truly essential and potentially intimidating work of getting clients. (more…)

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Posted in: Business of Coaching|Coaching|Coaching Resources