April 2009

cakeI recently heard a story about Gandhi and a mom who brought her little boy to see him. The boy was overweight, and his mother hoped that Gandhi would tell her son to stop eating sugar. During the first meeting, Gandhi asked the mother to bring her son back in 3 weeks.

Three weeks later, the mother and son returned to Gandhi. Gandhi looked at the little boy and said, “If you want to be healthy, you need to stop eating sugar.” The little boy nodded and walked off.

As soon as the boy walked away, the frustrated mother turned to Gandhi and asked him why they had been turned away the first time, why they had to wait 3 weeks before Gandhi would speak to the boy. Gandhi replied, “Because 3 weeks ago, I was eating sugar.”

The story hit me hard. I had an instant realization that there are areas where I say one thing and do something else. It made me realize that if I want better communication with my husband, I need to be a better communicator.  If I don’t want to be judged, I need to stop judging others. If I want people to be open to change, I need to be open to change first.

This really brings the Scripture in focus about getting the log out of my own eye before trying to remove the speck from the other person’s eye. Lord, help me to listen to Your voice, to be honest with myself and with You, and to make the changes so that I “walk the talk.”



I experienced a new awareness this week. It was a huge surprise and I thought I’d bring it up here to see if anyone else has experienced something similar. After a terrific coaching appointment this morning, I drove away super excited, inspired and fulfilled. I like feeling that way and it is the spice of my coaching life. I quickly contrasted that with various other coaching conversations that seem to tax my coaching abilities to the limit. This client and I were so in sync that I exerted very little effort and felt the greatest freedom to create a “playground” for us both to ask “what if”. We played well together and it was the perfect representation of the kind of coaching partnerships I’d love to experience all of the time.

Reality check.

I guess in coaching, like in all of life, mountaintop experiences are notable because they are so infrequent—and we appreciate them all the more because of that. But my new awareness is not that great coaching moments can sometimes be rare. My awareness came as I took a closer look at my precious client. What she brought to the table of herself was a gift—to both of us. Her willingness to be vulnerable, to sound silly, to think out loud without editing her words, to hope like a little girl in the body of a grown woman, made ALL the difference. As I drove back to my office I thought, “THAT is what ‘coachable’ looks like.” Frankly it’s a relief to realize that while sometimes it is my need for improvement, insight, humility or experience that is called for, other times, a coachable client is simply . . . magic!

Coachability. I like it. I want more clients who possess it. And I want to learn all I can to encourage and inspire it in those I work with.

So I’ll ask you two questions:

1. How responsible are we as coaches to foster coachability in our clients?

2. What can we do to educate them, encourage them, coach them toward coachability?


How about a little fun here on the Coach Approach Here’s how it works: I post a photo, you post a caption that is funny/witty/poignant, etc. and I pick the winner. As an added challenge, the caption you submit should have something to do with Coaching. If your caption is chosen as the best, then you win the satisfaction of being famous for a day here at The Coach Approach!

Look at the photo below and post away. 

Thanks for playing…



picture-9Stuck!  Know the feeling? 

You can’t find a way forward, and it’s too late to go back.    You’re cornered in one of life’s cul-de-sacs.  Your wheels are spinning; you can’t get traction again.   You’ve driven off the edge of your map onto a slippery slope.

It’s way more than run-of-the-mill frustration.  You’re at a complete impasse.   You feel trapped in a blind alley, a situation with no exit.  Your mental maps don’t work now.  You don’t know what comes next, but you dread whatever it will be.  You have your toes curled over the edge of the ledge, deepening a “sense of abyss.”  You are stuck!

There are common reasons for becoming stuck. For example, important relationships have ended in death, divorce, or disappointment, leaving us feeling abandoned and off-stride.  Or, we’ve had big failures, and they’ve unsettled our confidence.   Maybe markets have shifted seismically, and the old rules of the workplace no longer apply.  Or, the economy has soured, and we feel trapped.  You’re on alien terrain.

 Usually we stall and plug along, hoping the impasse will pass soon.  Unfortunately, that tactic often just amplifies our negative inner voices to full shout.  But, impasses open new worlds to you by closing old ones.  When your maps no longer work, adopt a pioneer perspective.  Scout new territories.  Draw new maps to new places.

 Launch out to a new place.   You’re stuck, right?  You want to get somewhere else, right?  The time is right to risk drawing a new map.  Go. 

 Venture to the verge.  In Old French, “verge” described the brink or border where fields merged into forests or coastlines into seas.  It was clear a margin would soon be crossed.    The adventure of getting unstuck will take you past the verge.  Step over lightly into adventure.

 Exploration creates new maps.   Approaching new places invites learning.  With new eyes and ears, you will sense more possibilities.  With a pioneer’s innovative repertoire, you can map yourself to a place beyond your current impasse.

 Use the perspectives of low and high places.   Explorers prefer vistas—places with long views like seacoasts, middles of rivers, tops of mountains, outer space—for charting directions.  Position yourself to “see” a longer distance.  That larger perspective can get you unstuck.

Being stuck demands new directions.  Don’t give up.  Enlist a coach, and get past your impasses now.



Something was brought to my attention today and I thought to myself…. “Hey, I’ll bet the coaches that read and converse on The Coach Approach Blog have some great things to say about this.” So, here’s my question, “What makes a powerful question MORE powerful when it is asked by a coach than when someone asks that questions of themselves, internally? 

For instance, I’ve gone through workbooks or Bible Studies that attempt to get me to ask myself pointed or powerful questions, but those same questions, asked aloud by someone outside my own head, really ratchet the value way up. 

Why do YOU think this is true?