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Coaching for Breakthrough Success
Proven Techniques for Making Impossible Dreams Possible
By Jack Canfield, PETER CHEE
McGraw-Hill EducationCopyright © 2013 Self Esteem Seminars, Inc. and Peter Chee Lean Hock
All rights reserved.
THE COACHING SPIRIT
PRINCIPLE 1 Believe in Human Potential for Greatness
Man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness. —Zig Ziglar
At the heart of a great coach is a firm belief that each person is a uniquely valuable individual with distinct gifts and potential for greatness. A coach knows how to appreciate what is special in others and believes that every person is created to be magnificent in their own way.
Leadership guru John C. Maxwell asserts that talent is never enough. "Belief lifts your talent. Your talent will not be lifted to the highest level unless you also have belief." There are four main ways in which believing in human potential for greatness can be a talent lifter.
Lift your talent to coach by believing in people's potential for greatness.
Lift the talent of the people you coach by believing in their potential for greatness.
Lift your talent by believing in your own potential as a great coach.
Lift the talent of the people you coach when they believe in your potential as a great coach.
As a coach, you gain increased motivation when you are able to see the champion in each person you coach. When you have strong faith and belief in the potential of the people you coach, it lifts their talent and inspires them to accomplish more. When you believe in your own potential as a great coach, you lift your own talent and motivation to coach. When the people whom you coach believe in your potential, it will lift their talent and motivation to be coached.
The net positive effect in believing in one's human potential for greatness is multiplied when it permeates the relationship between the coach and client. Coaching is an unconditionally supportive relationship, and as you coach you want to offer full acceptance and an unbiased belief in the person you are coaching regardless of his or her present performance.
It has been said that belief is more than a thought that a person possesses; it is a thought that possesses the person. A belief in the unlimited human potential for greatness is a habit of the mind in which confidence becomes a virtue to be embraced. In order to be a highly effective coach, you need to make believing in people, yourself, and your mission one of your top priorities. If you want good results, you have to perform good actions. If you want to perform good actions, you must have good expectations. To have good expectations you must first believe your goals are achievable.
The globally acclaimed author of Fully Human, Fully Alive: A New Life through a New Vision, John Powell, estimates that an average person taps only 10 percent of his potential, sees only 10 percent of the beauty that is all around him, hears only 10 percent of its music and poetry, smells only 10 percent of its fragrance, and tastes only 10 percent of the deliciousness of being alive. Since most people neither see nor seize the untapped opportunity that constantly surrounds them, there is a vast potential waiting to be unleashed.
You know that people are always capable of much better results than those they are currently getting. This might include better physical fitness, higher job performance, more loving relationships, and so on. As a coach, you will encounter situations where people do not succeed or don't measure up to expectations in the face of huge commitments. During such times, your belief in their potential for greatness is even more important; that belief needs to remain steadfast.
Even at a time when someone is going through great difficulties at work or at home, as a coach you must still be able to see the goodness in them and bring it to the surface. This is easier said than done, but believing in people no matter what must be a conscious choice, a decision you make, and a habit you inculcate with constant practice even when it's challenging. If, as a coach, you covertly believe that your client is not able to succeed in achieving his or her goals, if you feel that she or he is not capable enough, this can undermine your entire coaching process.
If you are coaching someone to become an effective presenter and have seen the person performing poorly, you may have formed a belief that this person is unlikely to become an effective speaker. When this happens, your ability to coach the person will be flawed. When you are pessimistic regarding the outcome, this will undermine your coaching conversations. Your negative expectations could subconsciously affect their confidence and lessen the likelihood of success. This does not mean that if someone sets an unrealistic goal that you should not explore ways to make changes to the goal or work on a different goal. But it does mean you should maintain a positive view of the outcome of your coaching.
Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War that when troops prepare for battle, if they lose the fight within their own minds even before the battle begins, their chances of winning are diminished by up to 50 percent. He emphasizes the profound effect that belief has on the ability to win. The certain belief in the great potential that lies within all people, releases the power that drives a successful coaching practice.
CASE STUDY: DAVID'S STORY
David was a general manager of a multinational shipping company based in Long Beach, California, and formerly a captain in the armed forces. His father fought in World War II and while raising his kids had followed a strict military regimen. David was well known in his company as a very tough, no-nonsense boss. His employees feared him since he was good at finding people's faults, though he also fixed them. His command-and-control style meant that employees were not expected to act proactively and creatively in the face of escalating environmental changes. Employee morale was low, and business was declining rapidly. David had to face this crisis on his own without the support of his employees. The prolonged high stress affected David to the point that he had to undergo heart surgery.
One of our professional coaches worked with David. It was very difficult initially, and for the most part his staff believed that he could not and would not change. The coach had confidence in David's greatness and believed that he was capable of notable achievements. When David knew that the coach was fully present for him and would champion his cause without being judgmental, he began to speak what was in his heart. When David fully articulated the tremendous pain in his life and his coach listened empathically, it was as if a massive weight was lifted from his shoulders. David became aware that his leadership approach was not bearing fruit. The awareness and acceptance of how his approach was limiting his achievements became the eureka moment that fueled his transformation. It gave David the motivation to invent his new approach to leadership, which he called "Participative-Appreciative Leadership."
Old habits take time and discipline to change, so David's coach encouraged him to create a way to remind himself to stay with his new approach until the new habit became locked in. One of the many self-created support structures that proved effective for David was this: He instructed all his employees that every time he reverted to his old style of leadership, they were to say to him, "Yes, Captain!" He knew—or suspected—that when they did this he would laugh out loud at himself, interrupting his old military pattern.
As he constantly replaced his old pattern with the new one, he began to reap the rewards of what his coach believed he was capable of achieving. His belief in himself soared, and so did his performance.
Nine months into the coaching relationship, David had created a new work culture that increased staff satisfaction and performance. The change was so profound that he received the "Outstanding Leader of the Year" award from his head office. His wife expressed deep gratitude when she told the coach that David was now a changed man. In his acceptance speech David said, "I am eternally grateful to my coach for believing in me when no one else did. You are the wind beneath my wings. You lifted me up and that changed my life." When he paused to wipe away his tears, you could have heard a pin drop. The song "Wind Beneath My Wings" sung by Bette Midler played in the background, and David's coach and staff were moved to tears.
* * *
The mindset of a coach includes the belief that people are inherently good; they want to contribute, and they want to improve. The coach knows people make mistakes but that most people do not make those mistakes intentionally. Remember to take a stand for people's greatness and always start from a belief that people want to succeed in their goals and commitments. Everyone has talents and strengths, and the role of a coach is to bring these out and to help people to use their core genius purposefully. When they do, they will shine magnificently.
The more you believe in people's potential, the more reason they will give you to believe in them. Eventually you will wake up one morning realizing that you have also been transformed, and the way you look at people and life will never be the same.
Imagine when you are searching for that rainbow, faced with an apparently unassailable mountain range in your way, that there is a coach who truly supports you, wholeheartedly believes in you, and knows that you are capable of climbing over those mountains. You will be inspired to grow and become the best person you can be. Such an experience is tremendously uplifting and enriching. That is when you will embody the true spirit of a coach who firmly believes in human potential for greatness.
You must understand that seeing is believing, but also know that believing is seeing. —Denis Waitley
PRINCIPLE 2 Fulfillment Flows from Adding Value to Others
Where your talent and the needs of the world cross, your calling can be found. —Aristotle
Calling, Life Purpose, and Fulfillment
Great coaches realize that coaching is a calling, a clarion command to use your talent to serve something bigger than yourself for a greater good. Answering a calling keeps our life purpose from becoming selfish, while it addresses our deep desire to use our lives for something significant and worthwhile. Ultimate fulfillment and significance come from a lasting sense of joy and satisfaction, from fully living a life purpose centered on adding value to others. An important part of personal fulfillment is the sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that our work makes a difference for others. As coaches, we know that the world is a better place because of what we have done.
How Coaching Adds Value to People
Coaches add value to people, in five ways. They help people to find satisfaction in (1) achieving goals, (2) overcoming problems, (3) learning and developing, (4) installing new beliefs and habits, and (5) experiencing fulfillment in their work and lives by uplifting others. As we saw in the earlier case study of David, the coaching process made a big difference for David and created lasting fulfillment for the coach. The strong feeling of fulfillment and gratitude that he received touched the coach so deeply that he would remember it for the rest of his life.
What People Appreciate and Remember Most
When world-renowned leadership author Richard Boyatzis asked people who had been the most valuable people to them in their careers, he found that about 80 percent of all people said that it was those who had helped them extend their dreams and reach for new positive experiences in their lives. On the other hand, those people who highlighted people's faults and made others feel small were not valued.
The Absence of Fulfillment
We all know people who pursue money, power, or pleasure as an ultimate end. They are never happy because they can never get enough, and they always want more and more for themselves. These things are temporary and fleeting, and even if their possessions make people feel good for a while, soon enough they run out; yet like an addiction, they keep yearning for more. There are many people in the world who seem to work very hard and achieve success, money, and fame—yet a true sense of lasting fulfillment is still largely absent from their lives because they have not dedicated themselves to serving a greater good. The positive emotions of true fulfillment tend to come most strongly as a result of hard work and sacrifice in the service of an end that is bigger than yourself.
CASE STUDY: JESSICA'S STORY
At the age of 28, Jessica was depressed and devastated. It had been a bed of roses when she was in school in Hong Kong. She won a national interschool speech contest, wrote award winning poems, was very popular and scored straight As. She was in a great school with supportive teachers, counselors, and schoolmates. When she was able to shine, she felt loved and appreciated by the people around her.
After completing her master of banking and finance degree in Sydney, Australia, she took a job as branch operations executive in a bank. Twenty-four months into this unfulfilling job, she was totally disillusioned about life. She hated her boss and secretly called him a sadist since he seemed to gain pleasure from making people suffer—just because he had gone through a lot of pain himself. At the slightest mistake he would trample on Jessica in front of others. He never seemed to leave the office, and his staff was not supposed to leave before him.
Jessica's parents had high expectations of her, but she felt no love from them when she could not achieve the success they wanted from her. Her boyfriend decided to leave her, sending a note saying that he could not live with a loser. Every night she cried herself to sleep in her lonely apartment.
A friend invited Jessica to a life-changing seminar by Anthony Robbins. During the seminar she raised her hand to say that she needed help and expressed the seriousness of her problems. "Before the end of the seminar," she says, "I was approached by a coach who said he was willing to work with me with no expectations or monetary reward; I decided to give it a try. Since my coach was a very busy person from Malaysia, we did two-hour sessions every two weeks using Skype. My coach knew that the pain in my life was unbearable. He did not talk much, so I did most of the talking. By the third session, I broke down in tears. After I had poured out all my suffering, I suddenly felt empty but much lighter. He then started to ask me about what I loved to do most and what I did well in school."
The coach gave Jessica a template to fill out each week over a period of 12 weeks. She was to write down what she did well and enjoyed doing at work. It was difficult at first but eventually she came to a realization that what she did well and loved to do at school and at work boiled down to similar things. "I loved to express myself in front of many people, socialize with like-minded people and develop and create new things that others could enjoy. My coach asked me how I could embrace my true strengths and passion and that became my revelation. Before that I had totally forgotten about my giftedness. Now I began to engage it."
With encouragement from her coach, Jessica had the courage to visualize what her life would be like if she used her gifts to the fullest. "He even asked if I wanted to create my own affirmation." She fashioned one that sounded like, "I am gratefully and masterfully presenting, creating, and relating with people." She recorded this with her special tune on her smartphone and programmed a reminder to play this six times a day.
"My turning point came when my coach asked me how I could change the circumstances that I was faced with. I thought about it for a whole week, and the answer came when I met the head of training in the bank during a training session. I spilled out my affirmation to him and asked if I could work with him. I was astounded when he called my boss, called my coach, and then called me to say yes."
Excerpted from Coaching for Breakthrough Success by Jack Canfield, PETER CHEE. Copyright © 2013 Self Esteem Seminars, Inc. and Peter Chee Lean Hock. Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill Education.
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