What Is Coaching? A Bit on Philosophy and Approach

chagall's painting, golden boat

The other night I was having a late holiday dinner with friends and family and invariably the question about my work as a coach came up.  

"So, what is it you do exactly?" one person asked, a mouth full of ribs.

"Yeah, what kind of people do you work with?" another piped in, juggling a few kids on her lap.

There were five very young children in the mix so I never got around to fully answering the questions. But I feel like spending a bit of time this month talking about the practice of coaching, how it works, how I like to approach working with people and how coaching changes lives.

Here's my favorite coaching quote:

"Coaching is a profession of love." --Eddie Robinson, American football coach

In a nutshell, coaching is a communion between two people that takes shape as a conversation. The dialogue involves more questions than suggestions because the client knows best, s/he just has to tap into that wisdom pool. The client is an individual with a dream, a striving, a yearning, a vivid goal or an unseen but felt tug, a foghorn of desire. The coach is a person with rich experience, training and compassion who serves as a guide to create shifts and clarity within the client so he/she can step into a new way of being and achieve big bold goals.

That's one answer. Another version of an answer goes:

What do you want, and how can you get it? The coaching serves as a practice to get it.

All coaches bring a unique personal style and approach to the coaching experience.

Today I'm going to share my coaching philosophy with you. It's taken from my What is Coaching webpage, which has more details about how I work with people.

Coaching philosophy & approach

  • Your reality is defined by your thoughts. Events and circumstances are neutral. They're information; data. It's how you respond to each piece of data that creates a thought that trips a feeling, defines your reality and life result. 
  • You're perfect. Imagine that your natural state is peace, confidence, creativity, kindness, following your heart, being OK with all the thoughts and feelings swirling around inside you, confident that none of them define you or your fate. Sound too good to be true? 
  • Being stuck is often the state of imprisoning yourself to old stories. Just as a story is written, it can be re-written. And consider this: What if you moved beyond  story? What if you let your past wash off you as if you are a duck, your stories just water. There, and then POOF, gone.
    P.S. Being "stuck" or "overwhelmed" or "confused" is also a way of staying safe and out of a false sense of "harm's way"--aka transformation and change.
  • A feeling is not the truth. You might feel like the last five years of your life were disappointing; you might feel like the company doesn't respect you; you might feel emptied of all creative inspiration--but it’s just a feeling. NOT the truth. You don’t have to let a feeling direct you.
  • A thought isn't the truth either. It's just a reaction to a circumstance--which is data. Neutral content. You can decide what kind of thoughts you want to have--positive, neutral or negative. You can even decide to detach from all thoughts and let them pass by like cars whizzing by your front door.
  • It’s in our nature to be creative. Being “creative” isn't about standing with an easel in the French countryside.  Creativity is expansive! We are creative in how we work a complex spreadsheet; break a family pattern to make a better life for ourselves; start a business; build relationships and community; create a laugh among friends, you name it. Creative expression gives life purpose, meaning and joy. And being creative also helps move roadblocks so you can get to where you want to go, being the person you want to be.
  • Your work is so much more than just a job. Every thing you do, every day, no matter how big or small is part of your life's work (or play if you prefer). Imagine if you looked at your work as a playfield of personal discovery. A lab for personal development. A sandbox of play and creativity. The human zoo. The secret is, it's up to YOU to bring purpose and fulfillment to your work--not the other way around.
  • You Can Do ItThis is a bedrock of the coaching partnership. I will believe in you even when you’re not so sure—because sometimes that’s what we all need. You don't have to go it alone. There's a village of people eager to support your rise to greatness, too.
Miniature of a man walking in front of some glass fish ornaments.

While we're here, I have three new offerings for 2018. If you or someone you know might be interested, I always offer at least one coaching call as a test drive, no charge, no strings attached.

2018 here we come

Kick Your Year in Gear! One Month Coaching Intensive

This blast-off package is perfect for the New Year, and for people who like the power of intensive learning and trainings. This coaching is your surest shortest way to get there faster: trade in old habits for new ones and start playing a bolder more creative game ASAP. Includes four hour-long coaching calls and daily check-ins M-F.

Coaching in Motion

When we walk and exercise, we think more expansively and learn better, studies say. This package is perfect for anyone who likes to move, and knows you do your best thinking in motion (and want to get outside and move during the day). We do our sessions while running or walking--and any other activity or sport you can think of that works. Study after study tells us we learn best when having fun, so let's make this fun! For those of you who walk or run with friends, you know how the conversations go: deep, insightful, fulfilling, life changing, epiphanous. Can you imagine the outcome of hitching that power-wagon to coaching?

Crazy-Good Year Group Coaching Mastermind

Blow your own mind. Unshackle yourself from personal thinking, change your life, and do it in the company of like-minded women. For more information, click here.

On Thursday, January 4 between 3 - 5 PST I'm holding office hours. This means you can call me at any time and we can have a half hour coaching conversation. No strings, no cost--just like in the old days when you showed up at your professor's door and begged for a better grade. Just kidding! There are no grades in coaching! You can reach me at 206-406-6196.