Monday, March 09, 2015

Achieving Mastery as an Executive Coach

Learning the Shadow Coaching® technique differentiates a coach from a Master Coach. This becomes even more evident when I teach abroad, whether Brazil, Australia, or Italy. Coaches are becoming even more impatient than their clients to make a difference and adopt a methodology that is impactful, present and powerful.

Recognizing the essence of the conversation with a client and understanding how to ask the question that will illuminate exactly what they need to focus on in the moment is where Shadow Coaching® training beings.  

As our clients become more and more demanding and their lifestyles are increasingly chaotic, they are going to expect us to have the set of skills that schools hadn’t been teaching until now. That was evident when two practitioners from EcoSocial in Brazil came to check me and my methodology out when I was teaching in Boston. Two hours or so into the class, they walked up to me and said “You will be coming to Brazil to teach”. I looked at them and said “Oh really?” to which they replied, 


The rest is history. Just short of a year later, I was standing in front of 35 master level practitioners eager to dive into the unknown. The level of respect and openness from them was second to none. Not only did they absorb whatever I threw their way, but they questioned, challenged, integrated and starting figuring out how they would approach their current clients with a new way forward. This group just got it. They saw the value of going much deeper with their clients and how that could bring forth dramatic shifts and change.

In the executive realm we need to speed up to their lifestyles while we get them through clarity and awareness to the point of what I call slowing down to the speed of life instead of reacting to whatever comes their way.  It’s also going deeper with the client without wading through traditional ways of assessment and the self-discovery process that might take years.  This is not therapy although we look at ‘programs’ and behavioural drivers.

I feel we need to take the industry of coaching that one step further way beyond the “box”.

The reason I am teaching my model is because I feel it’s important for a Coach to walk into a person’s total life or business and be able to see the central truths of ‘what is’ within an hour….not days, weeks, or months.  

I believe it's possible to give the kind of quality work where we're simply incredibly aware and in tune with all that's happening or at least the critical elements of what is happening that may not appear in any textbook or in any traditional measurement device.  I think as coaches we can devise what these measures are.

The role of a Shadow Coach is to be able to go and recognize the intangibles that won’t show up in any reports, either financial or managerial or for that matter, performance reports.   There are too many things going on behind the scenes to be measure on a balance sheet. 

Traditional coaching delves into the client’s present awareness. The Shadow Coach goes way beyond that level into what the client doesn’t see, i.e. the client becoming aware of skills, behavioural patterns, Shadows (Jungian) and cultural tethers.

Shadows give suggestions in the form of questions. For example, “Forget time management for a moment.  What would your life look like if you eliminated delay? How do you respect yourself in relation to time?”  How do you see them as different?

We are an accelerant or a catalyst.

We immerse ourselves into the moment completely like a diagnostician, using all the technology and all the experience to get to the bottom of things, not just treat symptoms. We've got to bring everything together and be able to sum up the past, the present, the future for that client as quickly as possible to generate that accelerant, to get them there so much quicker, because people are demanding that. They want it now. They don't want to wait any longer. 

We basically help them understand themselves at a much faster rate versus the self-discovery process that can take years to find things out about themselves.  They have plenty of time to discover things on their own but for me I want to make sure they get it and get it fast so they can move on to what they hired me to do.   

I believe that clients are unwilling to take the time it used to take to solve their problems or to make the changes even in an organization. So people are dissatisfied with the delay and are looking for ways to shorten it. As well, I personally believe that awareness is curative, that it's not just the prescription or a Band-Aid that cures but it's the awareness of something that cures. So part of what we're doing is increasing awareness with our discernment and with our sharing and language. That, plus the strategy one might offer, plus the insights or the simple ways we phrase what we're observing can actually, overnight, make changes that might have taken three or four years to implement in more traditional methods . 

It was an honour to teach this group of amazing individuals who, not only realised this, but who were eager to absorb ways of applying this method, not sometime in the future, but immediately.

I look forward to my next class in Milan, Italy and to go back to Brazil in the near future!

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