Archive for April, 2008
It was inevitable… When the Conversation Among Masters event collected some of the best minds in the coaching business into one room – the conversation turned radical! In particular, there was a lot of buzz about the idea of having to let go of some things in the coaching world in order for the profession to grow. One of the brilliant minds in the room, Lable Braun, wrote eloquently about part of this discussion on the Coaching Commons , a coaching think-tank and not-for-profit project of the Harnisch Foundation. Biz Tips for Coaches is proud to reprint, with permission, excerpts from his eloquent description. Go to the Coaching Commons to see the entire post and the reactions it is receiving – a lot of it is about certification and its pros and cons. Stay with the Coaching Commons for a future virtual dialogue on the subject.
“Mark Tuesday, April 8, 2008 on your calendars. It will turn out to have been a very significant day in the history of the Coaching vocation. On that day at CAM (The Conversation Among Masters) in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina a most amazing discussion took place …..
Gathered around the table were some of the most experienced practitioners of the coaching art, several of whom had been present at the creation. They had built this profession, and now they came together to set it on fire.
Looking out the windows of the meeting room at the Grove Park Inn, we could see the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains stretching out before us. As the conversation unfolded about the future of Coaching, we were put in mind of how, on those mountains, both Nature and Humans will sometimes set fire to sections of the forest to create the opportunity for new growth. We wondered whether, before we could contemplate the future growth of Coaching, we would first have to courageously examine what it is time for Coaching to let go of. We wanted to set the profession on fire with all its glorious possibilities. We knew, at a gut level, that the new fire would have to be fueled by burning up the house.
Imagine, if you will, the courage it took for those who had built the structure of this profession to now examine what they had to say good-bye to in order to insure its future. But there was no hesitation, no regret. The task was approached with a sense of joy and a feeling of liberation. It was a moment for smashing taboos. Anything was on the table. We would refuse to be bound by tradition or convention. The foundation for the future would be preserved. That which had once served us, but now limited our growth would be released with honor and piled on a hero’s pyre.
Brain sparks flew around the table, igniting conversation and illuminating the path. These are just some of areas the group was courageous enough to put the torch to (Warning: Coaching traditionalists may find some of the following to be shocking and inappropriate for children):
- Being “agenda-less” is a myth. It’s not all about the client. The client is part of a society, as is the coach. The coach has a duty to promote social responsibility in the client.
- Certification is a barrier to many who could greatly benefit the future of coaching. We must welcome those who can help us build that future.
- Coaching has become isolated as a profession unto itself. We must burn down the walls and play in other professions’ sandbox, and welcome them into ours. Even if it means foregoing the safety of the title of “coach.”
- If there is to truly be a Coaching “profession”, we must stop fragmenting and must open up the borders within the profession. Any profession, to be worthy of that title, must be based on a solid academic foundation which validates it to society and prepares future professionals. And academia means openness, the free exchange of ideas and methods. Which Coaching school one graduated from must no longer matter. Which certification one holds, if any, must no longer matter. We must not hold on to our ideas as if they were property. Rather, we must plant them as seeds for the new growth in our Coaching forest. The ideas that unite us and promote our growth must be nurtured. The ideas that divide us and lead to stagnation must be tossed in the fire.
- To become a “profession,” Coaching has come to take itself much too seriously. It has lost the whimsy, humor, and perspective that, in the beginning made it such a powerful tool for personal development. We must be willing to let go of the “seriousness” and return the sense of “joy” to Coaching.
- Most importantly, we cannot hold on to the way things are done today simply because we have become masterly at it. If finding new approaches to Coaching means that we must return to a Novice state, we must be willing to place our Mastery on the fire. If integrating with other professions and sources of wisdom means that we become children again, then we are ready to play.
The question, of course, was faced: What next? We realized that the path to that answer might be different for each of us. We decided to pursue a Quest for Fire. We were put in mind of the legendary Grail Quest. No one on that Quest had a clear idea of what the Grail would turn out to be. They just knew they had to search. They each had an individual path to the common goal of the Grail……
We, too, would pledge ourselves to such a Quest. We would individually search for the future of Coaching.”
You are working hard. You spend hours every week doing business tasks and marketing. You think about coaching all the time and know that you have something very valuable to offer. You have some clients, but the business just is not growing as fast as you would like. This situation happens to almost every coach at some point and is one of the dirty secrets of the coaching world.
Starting a coaching business and running a coaching business are hard work. Your business is likely going going to develop slowly – perhaps more slowly than you were told. It is easy to let discouragement set in. The number one way to combat that sense of discouragement is to have a solid support system. If you are a new coach, one of your most important investments will be in finding your own coach. Make sure that person has been down the road you are on and then he/she can be a source of wisdom, encouragement and even advice. I know, I know – coaches aren’t supposed to give advice, but when a coach is coaching a newer coach, they really have a role as both a coach and a mentor.
While you were in coach training school, you likely had a group of other students with whom to share the journey. Once you finish training, it can be a great idea to find a coaching support group to help you in times of discouragement. In the groups I run, I see coaches help each other all the time with information, ideas and encouragement that can move you out of that difficult place.
By all means don’t let the business get you down. Recently I had been working very hard on one aspect of my business and was not seeing any results. I felt very discouraged until I mentioned that discouragement to several people in my support system. Not only did I get wisdom about the current situation, I was reminded of the tremendous business growth I have achieved in the past year. Please take some time to build yourself that kind of support. The road can be hard and you can be successful “along with a little help from your friends”.