What Is Coaching?

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Coaching is designed for people who are already performing well to go from Good, or Very Good, to Great.  Or, if they are already at “Great” (and very few people or enterprises are), to go to what might be unprecedented, even unimaginable.

Coaching is a conversation with an expert who is committed to your commitments, who engages in observations, requests, and demands such that you, the player, are left with new, and unforeseen, openings for action.  It is key that you get the phrase “openings for action.” Information by itself causes nothing.  Performance is a function only of action. Certain language acts allow action and some don’t.  You and I are trained to talk about things, so certain communications such as declarations, promises, requests, offers, inquiries, trial statements, demands, and acknowledgements – communications that make things actually happen – are omitted.

In coaching we get clear on what future you or your enterprise is authentically committed to, a future that isn’t going to happen anyway.

Some people are extremely well trained in evoking, in the player, new levels of excellence. We work with what we call “blind spots” which are aspects of performance that you don’t know that you don’t even know. By way of a skillful inquiry, we have you see what’s missing (not what’s wrong) and put it in. This facility allows you to produce outcomes beyond prediction, precedent, and know-how – reliably. Not predictably, but reliably. Like some baseball players have high averages, but you can’t hit a baseball merely mechanically – there is something else going on.

Coaching is designed for people who are up to something beyond what they already have handled, and for people who are committed to lead, and lead authentically. Mostly the people in our culture aren’t leaders. They are managers, at best. Please see the enclosed called, “Leadership vs. Management” and the article, A New Model of Leadership by our colleagues, Alan Scherr, an IBM laureate, and Michael Jensen, Harvard Business School professor emeritus, and also “Without Integrity, Nothing Works.” It distinguishes different languages in the worlds of managing, and leadership, and points to the “being” of leadership in contrast with the “doing” and “knowing” of management.

There is no leadership without “being” a leader. All the knowledge and doing in the world will not generate “being” a leader, authentically.

Leaders create and stand for new futures; managers fulfill a given future. Without managers, nothing happens. Without leadership, nothing of consequence happens. Both are essential, related, yet completely distinct.

Coaching is designed to increase, dramatically, your satisfaction and fulfillment in life, and thereby interrupts the short term, repetitive “driven-ness” that people get caught in when they are not fully masterful with their accountability. Unlike your wife, partner, or friend, your coach has no other intent or agenda, other than your being empowered, inspired, and developing abilities and learnings of which one didn’t know one was capable.

Our client outcomes range from thousands of percent increases on NASDAQ to University Presidents causing contribution and endowment to go up 400% in five years – when it hadn’t moved in ten. We coached founding entrepreneurs to create, fund, and brand the premiere fitness center chain in NYC that is now evaluated at over $1 billion. We took the West Coast region of a prominent insurance company and increased their retention rates 25% over the other zones in 6 months – retention having been a problem they had been stuck with for decades.

The structure of leadership and executive coaching is two meetings, twice a month. The meetings are 2 hours each.  They are outcome driven.  The outcomes include quantitative, financial outcomes. In order to work with us, you must be willing to play for outcomes that you can’t obtain by working harder or being someone more clever.  Our work requires that the client be interested in a “breakthrough.” A breakthrough is a shift in who the client is being, what they do, and what they know, to their clear advantage. It is a shift from the past by default to the future by design.  It is a shift from what’s predictable, to what is possible.

We train people to be able to operate from the future, fully. This is completely distinct from what other people do, which is  to operate from the past, i.e. knowledge that already is.

The 3 promises are:

1.      You will have breakthroughs in performance to which you can point, that were not predicted or known how to be done.

2.      You’ll see how a breakthrough and transformational leadership approach hangs together and how it’s designed and operates, just the way there are design principles and operative practices in law, accounting, medicine, or home-building; and you will be able to do it, fundamentally, for yourself, inside 6 months. For keeps.

3.      In being an authentic leader who can transform difficult, even impossible, challenges into actionable pathways, you will inspire, impact, and impart it to others, both in your personal life, and your professional life, formally and informally.

We promise all three will happen.  And, they will.  The rest is getting it very specific to what you need to do.