Naked Coaching

All right, all right…. relax! I’m not suggesting THAT!!! (Although coaching over the phone does afford one the opportunity to…… oh never mind!) Actually, I’ve just finished reading Patrick Lencioni’s newest book Getting Naked and it has got me thinking.

As you know Lencioni writes some of the best stuff out there about managing, working together, teamwork, and so on…. And he writes from the perspective of a consultant. Patrick is not a coach, however a lot of coaches I know use his principles in the work they do with others.

I promise not to give away all the good stuff from Getting Naked – you’ll want to read this yourself – but in it I found a lot of the same principles coaches use with their clients… vulnerability, generosity, servant leadership…. coaches use these principles every day in helping their clients move forward to the life/goals/dreams they are pursuing.

Vulnerability is a common theme in Lencioni’s books. The idea that it’s so rare that it warrants such attention may seem odd to coaches. Most coaches I know use this principle to build the kinds of relationships that lead to powerful results. Rather than damaging a relationship, willingness to look wrong or silly or uninformed can actually deepen the relationship between a coach and her/his client. When we let down our guard and act real with those we are trying to help, it can provide the strength a relationship needs to yield big results.

Generosity is a concept I have come to recognize as key to the coaching mindset. Those coaches I’ve known who “give it away” as a regular part of their coaching life are sending a message to their clients (and prospective clients) that the coach has the client’s agenda and best interest at heart. I must confess to sometimes seeming more concerned with the “contractual” rather than the “relational” nature of my coaching agreements and I am learning from other coaches how much a part generosity plays in coaching.

Servant Leadership is the one principle of the three in Lenocioni’s book that surprised me the most. It didn’t surprise me that it was identified as an important characteristic for those wanting to help others achieve their dreams…no, what surprised me was that it needed to be said at all…. that the idea of leading by serving others is a novel concept. Coaches have always known this…haven’t they? Don’t we always lead from a posture of service? Don’t we put serving the client at the top of our agenda…in fact, isn’t that our ONLY agenda?

As I read Getting Naked it occurred to me that some of the principles that business leaders and consultants are learning are those which coaches have been using regularly for years. Perhaps that’s one reason coaching is proving to be so effective. Patrick Lencioni has given coaches some valuable resources and ideas over the years for working with others….maybe this time coaching has returned the favor.