Andrea and Robyn discuss the topic “What is Coaching?” During their conversation, they discuss three key questions: 1. What is Coaching? 2. What is Coaching not? and 3. What should coaching be?
International Coach Academy
Wealthy Thought Leader
International Coaching Federation
There were several “definitions” mentioned on the call, including:
ICF Definition – www.CoachFederation.org
“The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. ICF envisions a future in which coaching will be an integral part of society and ICF members will represent the highest quality in professional coaching.”
ICA Definition – www.InternationalCoachAcademy.com
At its most basic, coaching is a methodology for creating change; for moving an individual or organization from where they are now to where they want to be. There is no one way to coach and no coaching model. Rather coaching blends concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports, and spirituality (to name a few)
Is it training? No, training programs usually have a predetermined learning outcome. In coaching the client decides and outcome
Is it Consulting? No, coaching is different from consulting in that it does not seek to present the solutions or answers. Rather a coach supports and challenges their client to find their own answers.
Is it Therapy? No, coaching is not therapy and in fact an early skill to learn as a coach is when to refer a client to a therapist. It is a generalization, but most coaches are more interested in the future than uncovering issues in their client’s past.
Thomas Leonard – www.bestofthomas.com
A Coach is your partner in achieving your personal goals, your champion during turnaround, your trainer in communication and life skills, your sounding board when making choices, your motivator when strong actions are called for, your unconditional support when you take a hit, your mentor in personal development, your co-designer when developing an extraordinary project, your beacon during stormy times, your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own, and most importantly: your partner in living the life you know you’re ready for, personally and professionally. Thomas Leonard
Robyn: Hi everyone! It’s Robyn Logan here and I’m with my co-host Andrea Lee. Hi Andrea!
Andrea: Hey, hey! Welcome to CoachStreet, everyone.
Robyn: So Andrea, shall we tell them what CoachStreet is about?
Andrea: It’s just a fun thing that we want to do because, you know what, we are kinda crazy, we know a thing or two. You’re in Australia, I’m over here in Canada. And between us, how many years do we have within the coaching industry?
Robyn: I don’t know. I was thinking about that but I always think it makes you really old. ‘Cause I think we’ve got more than 20 years between us. Would that be right?
Andrea: Yeah. So it makes you 22 and me 23. And that’s okay.
Robyn: That’s right. That’s right. So yeah, CoachStreet. We’re gonna be talking all things coaching and delving into topics that we’ve come across over the years. And also, hopefully, listener questions which of course, in episode one, we don’t have a whole lot of. But we will be getting there, later on.
Andrea: Our hope is just really to serve you. Some, probably slightly unorthodox, sometimes slightly irreverent, but always useful. And in service of your journey, whether you are just starting out as a coach, you have no idea what coaching is, or you have been around the block a few times, like us, and are curious about what’s next in coaching.
Robyn: The conversations we are going be having will be useful to new coaches, people who’ve only just heard about coaching, or very experienced coaches. So I’m thinking we’re really going the gamut here.
Andrea: I don’t think we can help it, actually. You know what, we’ll try not to make you spit out water or whatever it is you are doing because, you know, these Aussies are really hilarious, I’ve heard. Sense of humor.
Robyn: That’s right. I’ll keep the Aussie slang to a minimum, okay?
Andrea: Excellent! And I’ll try to keep the Canadian “Eh’s” to a minimum too.
Robyn: Yeah, “Eh.” Good! So let’s get into it. Our topic for the first episode of CoachStreet is none other than what is coaching.
Andrea: What is coaching?
Robyn: What is coaching? You might think, oh, that is like a quick and easy topic but it is almost like asking “What is art?” Don’t you think?
Andrea: That is a good parallel. Or “What is religion?” Or “What is culture?”
Robyn: Yeah. What is it? And we are going to crack it in 30 minutes. So let’s get into it. So how about I ask you to start with what is your opinion of what is coaching.
Andrea: You know, to me it’s very simple. Coaching is this thing that enhances everything else in life. And the easy, one-sentence way that I like to be thinking of it is that it’s an advanced level of communication. And that communication allows us, whether it’s you or me or our listeners, right, to get what we want out of life in as effective away as possible. Not necessarily in a fast way, that’s not always the best way, but in an effective way as possible. Whatever it takes to communicate to get that, is, in my opinion anyway, coaching. But you may or may not agree. I have no idea.
Robyn: No. I think that it is an advanced level of communication between the coach and the client. But just to be devil’s advocate here, let me just ask you. I mean, you could say “What is teaching?” Teaching is an advanced level of communication. It doesn’t help you get what you want out of life, I guess. But specifically, what would you say to someone who is like well, what is the difference between coaching and, I don’t know. Where else can you go to get what you want in life?
Andrea: You know I think that is a great point. It’s not necessarily that coaching is the only advanced method of communication there is. There are definitely others. But that specific to I think what I would call the purpose of what this thing is called coaching, that’s the purpose of it – to increase communication among people. Whereas for teaching or even like let’s say, training, there are other purposes. Or should I say “purpii”? But there are other purposes related to teaching and training that I would say that pick back on that definition of advanced communication. What do you think is the difference, between like training? Because I think that is a deep question.
Robyn: Well, it comes up a lot – the differences between coaching and everything else. For me, I think coaching is, at its core, a method or methodology of getting from one point to another point. So whether you’re an individual or you’re an organization. In a way, I sometimes think of coaching as strategic planning for the individual. If you think about what happens in an organization with the strategic planning process where you look at where they are now, maybe a SWOT analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Look at the vision, where do you want to be. And then map out how to get there. But in that instance, it’s a bit more directive. So the difference between that and coaching, I see, it’s a method for creating change, bringing that change, moving someone forward. But it’s done in a very client-centered, client-focused way. And that, to me, is probably the main difference between coaching and some other things like consulting and training.
Andrea: So it’s about the format or the structure in the sense that while teaching often happens where there is a teacher in front of the room, there are students sitting in desks. Well, that’s not the case in coaching. And it’s fairly focused that way. Whereas teaching might not necessarily… Unfortunately, if you look at our public education system, whatever country you are in, teaching is sometimes just lecturing. They don’t really care what the result is.
Robyn: I would say, with the exception of Montessori, and I’m probably biased because my kids go to a Montessori school, but I often think of Montessori as coaching for children.
Andrea: That’s a coaching approach to teaching.
Robyn: A coaching approach to teaching. It very much is. And because it is based on, without going too much into Montessori education, but one of the key philosophies, Maria Montessori is the woman who created this approach to teaching. And one of her sayings is “Follow the child.” And basically what that means in the classroom is that, instead of saying “We are going to learn about dolphins today,” or “We are going to learn about planets today,” the teacher will follow the interests, motivations that already exist for the child. Look at those and create lesson plans around those. It doesn’t mean that you don’t learn Maths. You still do learn Maths but you might learn it through something else that you are very interested in.
Andrea: Well, if the child is really interested in collecting erasers, you could teach math through collecting erasers, for example. So how does that tie back to this idea of coaching? What are the differences and the distinctions? Or is it…
Robyn: I see coaching as a strength-based approach to doing anything. So really what you’re doing is when you are working with your client, you’re looking for the strength, you’re looking for the solutions. You are not looking for problems. And that’s what happens in Montessori. The other similarity is that Montessori is very much into individual, self-paced learning. So it’s the child’s agenda, nobody else’s agenda. And I think this is another really critical piece in the coaching definition. That in the coach-client relationship, it’s not what the coach thinks should happen, in as much that it is very tempting. It’s driven by the client’s agenda. And it’s the coach’s job to listen very deeply, to observe, to ask very powerful questions. Sometimes, the client doesn’t know what their agenda is and it might even take some time. And then once you have that, it is the coach’s role to support, challenge, assist the client to that end.
Andrea: When we say “what is coaching,” I do not know about you but I’m like so happy. It’s my profession, it’s this thing that we get to do and live a beautiful life of being in service with other people. It’s an awesome alternative to a job.
Robyn: Some people say IT IS a job, Andrea. J
Andrea: But you know it is. For people who are thinking about coming into coaching, what is coaching? I will raise my right hand and swear that it’s the most wonderful thing, gift, blessing to my life. To have been able to discover coaching, become good at it, you know, through whatever way, whether it’s through coach training or a certification or experience or whatever it is and be able to get up every day that I choose to serve clients through this thing called coaching. And I’m so grateful.
Robyn: Hey, you know what would be great is if you could tell our listeners how you discovered coaching. I always love finding out how coaches came into coaching.
Andrea: I was very dated in my first business which was a recruitment company, I was a headhunter, helping people to find jobs and helping companies to find people. I got really fed up, Robyn, honestly, with finding fantastic people and putting them into companies that are treating them like (bleep). Right? That’s our official bleep on the podcast, by the way. But I was looking for something else. I felt really disheartened, like many of our listeners I think can relate. It’s like there’s something missing, you know. These people were landing these jobs and I can’t do anything to help them. I took a sabbatical, at which point I was looking online and I discovered this thing at a local college that had to do with helping people live their lives with better life skills like cook meals for themselves and get them off to school. You know, just about having a better life. There was actually a certification program and a whole course you could actually do. It’s actually cool. And I thought I had this “Ding! Ding! Ding!” thing happen where I was like “Oh my God, this is it!” And I kept searching online. Kept searching online and I found this thing called the Coaching Scoop, which at the time was one of the first and only e-zines, online newsletters, that existed on the Internet and they had a volunteer position in it for a transcriptionist. And I thought “You know what? This is it!” I’m gonna get a free coaching education because I’m gonna volunteer as a transcriptionist and type up all the audio classes. And that’s exactly what I did.
Robyn: That’s fantastic! I never knew that. So that Coaching Scoop, that was the Coachville e-zine, with Thomas Leonard, right?
Robyn: Well, that’s very interesting ’cause some of our listeners might not know that Thomas Leonard is often called the father or grandfather of coaching. He had a definition of coaching. I don’t know if you’ve got that there.
“A Coach is your partner in achieving your personal goals, your champion during turnaround, your trainer in communication and life skills, your sounding board when making choices, your motivator when strong actions are called for, your unconditional support when you take a hit, your mentor in personal development, your co-designer when developing an extraordinary project, your beacon during stormy times, your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own, and most importantly: your partner in living the life you know you’re ready for, personally and professionally.”
Andrea: No. You know what, he had several definitions of coaching. So I don’t know if you have one that you particularly remember, it would be fun to share. He really believed that coaching was for everyone and that everyone could be a coach. And back in the day, it was really contentious. I don’t know. Where were you when you found coaching, Robyn?
Robyn: I found coaching through training. I was actually running a corporate training organization. They call them RTOs here in Australia, registered training organization, equivalent to say, universities and colleges. You can get government funding. But also, we do a lot of corporate training and companies. And I would go in and do all the soft skills, leadership skills, communication skills, effective feedback… And then I would evaluate the training three months later. What I discovered was that not much was changing. So I knew the curriculum was good and I knew the trainers were good. But really, after three months, it just wasn’t the results there. People hadn’t really integrated the skills. So I set up what I used to call implementation. Or the other word I had for it was “authentic learning” where I would partner every student or employee in the company with a trainer for a one-on-one call every week to look at their own lives, outside of work and inside of work and to look at the skill we might have learned that week, say, that was effective feedback. And to look into how they could integrate that into their work and into their life. And of course, no surprise, the results were great and fantastic. And around that same time, I discovered an article on coaching in an in-flight magazine. And I thought “Oh my God, that sounds fantastic!” I got myself a coach the next day, just on Google. I searched for business coach. I got one in Sydney so I’m in Melbourne so it wasn’t someone I’ve ever met. And he was a fantastic coach. And within three sessions, after years of being in training and consulting, I knew that if I wanted change to be sustainable and happen at a deep level, then coaching was the approach to get that.
Andrea: I have to tip my hat to International Coach Academy for this non-denominational approach. Like there’s like only one way thing. Would it be too outrageous to say “You’re like the Buddhist coaching school… accepts all religions.”
Robyn: No, I would say it’s not so much Buddhists accept all religions. You know bizarrely, ironically or not ironically, I would say we have a coach approach. I know it’s funny because actually, we are very clear that our trainers are trainers, not coaches. They’re there to teach, they’re there to actually say, give feedback and say “That didn’t work so well. Here’s how you can improve.” Which a coach wouldn’t normally do. But what we do is say that all our students are adults and they all come to the class with their immense experience and backgrounds. So the way to do this is for them to discover the best coaching model process for them. Now that may be an NLP approach to coaching or it could be a solutions-focused approach. Or it could be more of a Buddhist approach. But it’s not about they’re all empty vessels and we’re gonna fill their heads up with our preferred theory of coaching.
Andrea: In the stance of the school, you’re role-modelling what it means to be a coach.
Andrea: Exactly how you want to hold it is…
Andrea: You are not coming into the relationship to fill their heads with something, you are asking who they are and having them come to you.
Robyn: Yeah, that’s right. That is what a coach does.
Andrea: What do coaches not do? What is coaching not, in your opinion?
Robyn: I have two answers to this, one is I guess, an official answer, and the other’s an unofficial answer so…
Andrea: (laughing) Hurry up with the official answer ‘cause I want to get to the unofficial one.
Robyn: That’s right. Well, officially and we make this distinction in our training between coaching, consulting, training and mentoring. So a consultant comes along, a client has a problem, the consultant has experience in those problems and has a handy little solution they can slap on the table and support the coach to implement. Now, a good consultant of course has a coach approach. Coaching is not training; a trainer will come along, look at the client, figure out what the issue is. “Oh, you need training, you need skills, here, I can teach you those skills…” but that is not coaching. A counsellor will come along and say, “Okay, hello client, what’s your problem? Oh, we need to go back and look at your childhood and figure it out.” In effect there’s a saying, if you heard the one about… if a client arrives with a broken leg, the counsellor will try and fix that leg. The coach will say, okay, let’s get going, you’re gonna run the four-minute mile.”
Andrea: No, I hadn’t heard that one, it’s slightly distressing.
Robyn: I think that’s true. Look, it’s a flippant saying, but you know what, it speaks to the idea that coaches are solution-focused; they start now, they’re not really interested in the past that much, they’re like, where are you now, let me hold your vision higher than you will hold it yourself. Whereas, the counsellor might be more interested in how it is that you got to be where you are with a broken leg. Anyway, that’s what I see coaching is not, what do you think coaching is not?
Andrea: You know, I hope it’s okay ‘cause I know this is our first episode but I have a really strong opinion about this one.
Robyn: Oh, good.
Andrea: A very upsetting thing in the name of coaching has been happening that I am so glad we get to talk about it even if it’s just for one minute here, Robyn. It’s like some of these things that are being called “coaching” is actually bullying.
Robyn: Bullying?! That’s left of field, I wasn’t expecting that one.
Andrea: It’s actually, when you actually look at what they’re doing, the person who is acting as the coach is actually bullying the clients.
Robyn: And you’re saying you’re observing this in workplaces.
Andrea: Whether in workplaces, or in coaching companies, or from the stage, or whatever it is… people are getting, like the boot camp approach? ‘Cause like, language is so important, you know. Like, if you’re starting to name, a lot of the offerings have interesting names like intenses, or workshops, or coach training programs or, boot camps.
Andrea: Well, when you think of a boot camp, even if you were the most peaceful, Mother Teresa-style coach ever, ever, ever, and you named your coaching programs boot camps for a year… could you see that, somewhere in there, you might mistakenly think that it was your job to boss your clients around?
Andrea: … Blame them and yell at them to get to their goal? And then you mix in the issue of, of course, wanting to be successful as the person’s coach and that anxiety and the pressure to have the clients to succeed will start to trickle in. And you got this horrible mixture of chemicals that come together and make the clients feel as if they’re being bullied.
Robyn: So you’re thinking that the coach in this situation is drawing their sort of inspiration, their role model for this type of coaching is sports coaching, do you think?
Andrea: You know, I don’t know if they specifically are getting that from sports coaching or not because there’s a whole variety of them and I really don’t think that people are doing it with malicious intent. It’s just that they don’t realize that their exhortation, their cheerleading has become overzealous. And they have forgotten to do exactly what you said at the beginning of our show today, and that is: listen.
Andrea: Right? I’m sorry, but shut up for long enough to listen to the client.
Robyn: Interesting, because I have experienced with some people calling themselves coaches, outside of the coaching field, because you know it’s a very different issue – what is coaching to coaches, and what is coaching to everybody else? People calling themselves as coaches, I would look at them and you’re so not a coach.
However, like in the mastermind group that I’m on, the guy that runs the mastermind group is very direct. Very. So someone will come along with an issue or a problem on their business, and he’ll say, “That’s just completely crap, what you’re doing. It’s just absolutely hopeless and you won’t get a result. You have to stop that right now. What you need to be doing is blah, blah, blah…” Now, that according to our definition of coaching, is so not coaching. He would fail at the ICA exam before he even stepped in the door. Right?
But on the other hand, I sort of think, well, you know, I’ll always defend his right to call himself a coach. He gets results. The people coming to the call are adults. They want the feedback. They want to know what they’re doing wrong. They don’t want just somebody who will be listening, asking them insightful questions so that they can discover why their business is losing millions of dollars. They’re not really looking for that.
Andrea: If the client has expressly come to me and said, “Andrea, I really want you to be really tough with me. I am such a complex, thoughtful, smarty-pants client. I’m gonna squirm around, I’m gonna tell you I want one thing, and then I’m gonna like, try and get around it. I’m gonna like arm-wrestle you the whole way. And I want you to kick my bleep!” Okay, provided I want to take on that client (laughs), depending on the mood I’m in, ‘cause I may or may not…
Robyn: Yes (laughs).
Andrea: When it’s very clear that there was a moment for that and that there was a moment for listening, and I didn’t use that sort of hard-ass, direct thing as my only tool in my toolbox, then OK — I can see a place for it. But where we really have a problem, and this is what happens when coaching becomes mainstream, because that’s really, we’d want to talk about what’s next for coaching as well, right? Coaching has become so much more mainstream now as we almost defy description or definition contrary to what we tried to do today. It’s been so permeated and so bent into so many things. As for the coaching approach, you could almost not really distinguish it from whatever else it is, whether it be playing Frisbee, or being a journalist, or whatever it is.
Andrea: Under the name of programs that are being sold as coaching when you have a very ballsy, or boobsy or like, really strong. If you don’t have permission to do that, then that’s bullying.
Robyn: That’s such a useful distinction. It’s a lot to do with permission, isn’t it, from the client? So if you’re rocking out and you’ve chosen to be there and that’s what you want, then that’s fine.
Andrea: This is like delicate human surgery – internal human surgery. Like a position of power and energetic dynamic of someone who’s been paid to be an authority in a person’s life, and the person over whom, or the person who has given up that authority, in a very real respect, has rolled over and shown their vulnerable belly to get help in this area. This is an extraordinarily intense and delicate interaction or intersection of human beings. So carefulness, lots and lots of practice, guys, lots and lots of practice. You know where you’re free to make a mistake. Try it on family members (laughs). It’s like… I don’t know, Robyn, if you ever wanted to be a hairdresser when you were a young girl? You try it on your family members to make all your mistakes (laughs).
Robyn: Good point (laughs).
Andrea: So, yeah that’s my soapbox.
Robyn: Let’s look at the next and the last question under “What is coaching?” topic. It says: “What would coaching be if Andrea and Robyn ruled the world?”
Andrea: I might disappoint you here, Robyn, because if coaching could be anything, there are certainly some things that I would change. But I think of coaching as a vehicle for anyone who chooses to become a coach or live their life with their career as a coach. We have been so blessed because this has been such as vehicle for helping us express ourselves. I don’t know that I would change the guts of what coaching is. I really think that how it evolved was especially poignant. And how it struggled at the beginning to take root in mainstream consciousness. Remember when people used to say, “Coaching, what sport, soccer or basketball?”
Robyn: Yeah, remember that.
Andrea: To where we are now.
Robyn: Yeah, yeah.
Andrea: I’m pretty content. I’m curious to what you have to say.
Robyn: I think it’s a beautiful thing. I particularly love the cross disciplinary nature of coaching, the way that it really has been influenced by all sorts of areas. You know, organization psychology, even lots of brainwork happening now, like there’s a lot of influences that go into coaching. So I love that, I love the diversity. I don’t know… I feel sometimes constrained by the word. I feel like I would like another word.
I’m sharing this story that happened this week with my son, Ryder. He’s 10. Since forever, he’s had trouble with reading and writing, which on a side note is very ironic, given that I’ve taught adult literacy for like nearly 15 years. The school has suggested various things; the most recent thing is typing. You know, let’s get him to type, let’s skip the whole writing thing and I’m all for that. If he can type, that’s a great skill that I think that every kid should have. Anyway, I wish I could touch type. So I even gave him my old Macbook computer and the idea was he would learn to type. Now, he’s really obsessed with this thing called Minecraft. Have you heard of Minecraft?
Robyn: He absolutely loved it. And so the idea was, alright Iet’s do a deal, like 15 minutes typing for an hour of Minecraft. But how do you think it worked out? I mean every parent or anyone who’s got a kid that plays MInecraft will know it’s impossible to get them off Minecraft. They love it! So it’s just not working. The next suggestion was Kumon. Kumon is a very popular Japanese discipline… Japanese, it is, isn’t it?
Andrea: Yes, it is.
Robyn: And you know I have just been resisting it, because I’m thinking he’s just going to hate it, right? But lots of kids are doing it and the school’s suggesting it. So I know that I’m resisting it, and so this is partly where I think about the coaching thing is like, a lot of it is teaching people to trust their instinct and their intuition, and to be self-aware. I can’t believe we got through a whole episode of “What is coaching” without talking about self awareness.
Andrea: I think we mentioned that earlier.
Robyn: Did we?
Andrea: Yeah (laughs).
Robyn: Maybe (laughs). So, I was just aware, OK, what’s going on here, I’m just not committing to this Kumon thing? And I sat back and thought about Ryder. You know what would be great? What about if I could get a groovy, young teacher to come in after school, two nights a week? Because the other thing about Ryder is that he’s very much a social learner. He isn’t really into sitting by himself. But with a group of friends, no problem. So what if I can get a nice, young teacher to come in and teach an hour after school, twice a week. The first 20 minutes is typing, which is pretty boring no matter how you look at it, you just have to learn the drills of typing. And then 40 minutes Minecraft. And he can use the typing ability in Minecraft, to like create a world and do all sorts of things. Anyway, I told him about it, and he’s so excited. All his friends are desperate to get into it. And I know already that’s going to be a success. And I know that the Kumon would not have been a success.
Andrea: A perfect example.
Robyn: It is, isn’t it? And so I was thinking. You know that actually wasn’t rocket science. But when I talked to other parents they were like, “Oh my God! How did you even think of that?” And how I thought of that was I’m looking at Ryder as a whole person. I’m not judging him. I’m suspending judgment. I’m looking at his strengths. I’m looking at what he already loves to do, what he’s motivated to do. And I’m looking at how I can maximize his potential within that framework. So that, to me, is coaching.
Now the issue I have with coaching is that a lot of people outside the coaching field think about coaching as very much goal setting, action based, results driven. So if I could recreate the world, I have another word we could use so everyone would know that it really meant coaching is about finding one’s true self, purpose, direction, vision, and aligning their lived reality in a way that it will achieve that.
Andrea: I agree with you in spirit, and for me, I really buy into this, again referencing Thomas Leonard, who had a saying that, when you begin to be able to really articulate something well, most of the opportunity has passed. So what you’re describing, hear how earnest and lovely and reaching your energy is describing this thing that you would want a new word for? It’s in that reaching that some of the real gorgeousness and gold is happening. I agree with you, there’s something emerging that’s in the nuances between coaching, training, teaching, and all that. That is really delicious and maybe a new word will come out. I totally respect that desire for it. If we could do that we would. But I think that as soon as you name something, in a way you take some of the mystery and power off it.
Robyn: Maybe it’s our job as coaches to just get better at communicating that. Look, I think that’s a wrap for “What is coaching.” We‘re up and ready for our next segment. (Music) And now, “Spot the Coaching!”
Andrea: Where do we spot Waldo? Is he coaching right now? I mean is Waldo down there?
Robyn: I think it’s Wally down here. Or is it Waldo up there, is it?
Andrea: We have Waldo.
Robyn: You told me about the book. And there’s like, tiny drawings all over it and you have to spot Wally in the book?
Andrea: Yeah, he’s wearing a duke and glasses that are round.
Robyn: OK, I could be wrong you know. Let’s get the listeners to tell us. They’ve got two jobs now: they have to tell us how they came to coaching, and is it Waldo or Wally? (Laughs)
Andrea: Hey, Spot The Coaching. I have this really cool story that I love to share with regards to three signs that I saw on a golf course fence. To me it epitomized the difference between a coaching approach and not a coaching approach, and this idea of coaching being an advanced level of communication.
So I’m going to share with you the three signs, OK?
The first sign is, this is on the outside of the golf course, wherein there’s this wire fence that keeps the balls in the golf course, sort of like a driving range as opposed to a big golf course. Outside of this wire fence were three signs. And they were very clearly different ages of signs. And it’s so interesting, I even took photos of them. It was a very fascinating thing, my brain went “Ta-dah! Something’s going on here.”
The first sign, which was the oldest sign, said: “Notice: All golf balls are the property of Riverside Golf Park. Found balls must be returned immediately. No exceptions.” Very dictatorial. If I look at that sign and if I’m kind of rebellious, I would be like, “Whatever! No exceptions. Watch me be an exception!”(Laughs)
The second sign, the next oldest sign – you could sort of tell because the first s almost illegible because it’s so faded – said something different. It said, “All golf balls are the property of Riverside Golf Park. Return all found balls to our office.” OK fine, it’s sort of a little less angry and imperative. And it wasn’t written in this dreaded red ink, like the first sign was. It seems reasonable enough.
But there was real shift to this newer sign that you could almost feel like, I don’t know, someone who just came out of coaching training school rewrote the sign. This new sign, bright and beautiful and the script in telegrammed-like font, said, “Hit for free! Return our golf balls. For each golf ball you return, we will give you two more to hit at no charge.” And nowhere on the sign says this is from Riverside Golf Park or anything. They figured it out! It’s not about them, it’s about the people they’re talking to. It’s not about you as a coach, it’s about the client that you’re talking to. It’s about understanding what motivates them, what moved them, changed them, transformed them, incentivized them, engaged them…
Robyn: That third sign, that was the newest. So basically the first sign had been there awhile, is that what you think has happened?
Andrea: That’s right, yes.
Robyn: And they just didn’t take it down? (Laughs) That’s great.
Andrea: ‘Cause I knew I was looking for an example of Spot the Coaching, Spot Wally, or Waldo.
Robyn: You know what’s exciting about that? That tells me we’re evolving. That’s probably how a lot of things were.
Andrea: That’s why we care so much about coaching, and why we’re doing Coach Street!
Robyn: Yeah. We love it, we love it!
Anyway, let’s get off.
Andrea: It’s been such a blessing to get to know you guys. Looking forward to future episodes.
Robyn: Thank you Andrea, thanks listeners! See you at the next episode. Bye!