What You Get When You Work With Me

by | Aug 7, 2020

What does it take?

Anybody can call themselves a coach. There are no exams to pass, licenses to obtain, curricula to master. Given that, you might be tempted to think that the craft of coaching is easy to master—really, what does it take? Just a few “rah rahs” and “attaboys/girls” from the sidelines, and you’ve done your job.

And, in truth, that is all many coaches do.

But to be a coach that makes a difference in a person’s life, you must master an entire body of literature and hundreds of distinctions; you must learn to be exquisitely attuned to your clients, what they are present to and what they are not seeing; you must listen to their language, their tone, their hesitancies with a laser-like focus; you must have done your own work so you don’t smear your mess onto your clients, and; you must show up to every session clear, authentic, and powerfully transformative.

Professional Training

My professional training began several years before I decided to become a coach. I enrolled in a 7-month leadership coaching program—a program designed to change who you were being as a leader, in addition to teaching you leadership skills. I did this program twice as a participant, once as a coach, once as a head coach, and continued for an additional two years of training and practice.

When I decided to become a professional coach, I enrolled in Accomplishment Coaching, generally considered the profession’s most rigorous coaching school. It offers a year-long program with extensive real-world practice coaching. After graduating, I worked for the school for two more years as a mentor coach, supporting the program, and coaching the participants.

All told, I have five years of professional training.

Ontological coaching

There are many coaching methodologies. Ontological coaching has emerged as the most powerful, the one most likely to create and sustain substantive changes in a person’s behavior and their ability to effectively engage the world. Clients will see improvements within weeks of beginning work with an ontological coach.

My five years of training was exclusively in ontological coaching. Most of my coaching is ontological; however, when it serves the client, I will occasionally use other methodologies.

Done my work

Becoming a coach has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. Not because the body of knowledge was difficult to master, but because I had to do my work. I had to clear out the behaviors, inauthenticities, and ways of perceiving and engaging the world that left me clamped down and disempowered. Coach training is far more confrontative than is coaching clients, and my trainers shoved me up against my own limits time and again until I broke through.

You can’t be a good coach until you’ve mastered yourself. I’ve done and continue to do my work. It is a rare client who can knock me off my center.

Straight—no bullshit

I won’t play your game—no matter how good you are at hiding out, avoiding responsibility, or manipulating others. I will see it, and I will call you on it. I may have to keep the gloves on as we develop your power—your ability to engage the world—but as you get more powerful, the gloves will come off.

Open space

A coach must keep an open space. A coach must not come to a session with an agenda, with judgments, or with wanting things done their way. If so, the coach isn’t coaching but directing or manipulating. The coach must create a relationship with the client that allows the client to be comfortable saying anything without fear of judgment or criticism. If the coach creates a spaced tinged with either, the client won’t explore or grow.

Champion

My commitment to all my clients is that I am their champion. This doesn’t mean that I shower them with hosannas; it means that I will always relate to them as their authentic selves—never as their inauthentic selves. Or, not to put to fine a point on it, when they are whiny, manipulative, disempowered, or just plain nasty.

This can be disconcerting for people—since we tend to teach people to see us as our inauthentic selves. I won’t buy it and remain a stand for my clients’ greatness.

Been there

Life coaching is a new profession, and many of the practitioners are young. Youth, of course, brings its own virtues; however, I’ve been around long enough, and my life experience has been varied enough that I’ve stumbled (or slammed) into almost all the problems or life situations that my clients are navigating. It’s not just empathy that enables me to emotionally and intellectually understand what a client is going through—I’ve been there myself, and have come out on the other side.  I can offer the perspective of a battle-scarred veteran.

Life experience

It’s not a life coach’s job to be an expert in the content that is relevant to a client. I don’t need to know the law to work with a lawyer, medicine to work with a doctor, or programming to work with a software engineer. If you need someone to help you with the content, you hire a consultant. A coach’s expertise is to develop you so that you can more effectively engage your own expertise.

That said, I have a tremendous amount of experience with many different contents—which I use to inform my coaching. Perhaps most relevant are project management, networking, running meetings, running campaigns, working within large organizations, writing resumes, interviewing, public speaking, and the like.

I can work with a client—on a non-ontological basis—to support them in specific areas in which they are working.

Clients I work best with

High-performing professionals, entrepreneurs, or artists who are committed to their dreams and their vision for their lives. People who are “coachable”; people willing to look at themselves and the world in different ways, try on new behaviors, and new ways of being. People willing to take risks because coaching will require you to step out of your familiar, out of your normal, and into someplace new. Stepping into a new place is often fearful—you are at risk of failing, of looking like a fool, of being rejected, or feeling inept because you are outside your area of competency. Being willing to take that step, in the face of fear and trepidation, is your pathway to growth, to achieving your dream and vision for yourself.

You may show up at your first coaching session distressed, resigned, and down on yourself–that’s fine. All it takes to make progress is to be committed to your project, willing to experiment, and willing to stretch yourself.

Getting started

If you are looking for your champion, let’s talk. Contact me here.

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