The key to outstanding results in coaching or organizational development rests here:

  • Company-wide commitment to ongoing improvement and learning
  • Leadership participation and support to tap the genius in each employee, the wisdom in every team or group
  • Trust and transparency between my clients and me

Coaching ~  a guide by your side

Coaching is not one person training the other. It is a collaborative partnership with clear roles: mine is to keep the conversation focused on forward progress and to facilitate and challenge thinking. Clients are in charge of their own learning and accept responsibility for taking action and monitoring progress. If I tell someone what to do or, worse, do the work for them, I have robbed them of a learning opportunity, while conditioning them to rely on me more instead of less. I always learn from my client partnerships as much as I hope they do.

Read more about facilitation in my resources.

Start with strengths, not needs.

Focusing on what’s wrong turns intelligent people with choices into needy people with weaknesses. By expecting and affirming the best in clients, we usually get it.

Listen more, talk less.

If I am doing more talking than listening, then I have slipped into instructor mode. I am at my best as a coach when I say less and listen more. For the person or team being coached, this is powerful because it clarifies who is in charge of learning, reflection, self-discovery, increased awareness and deciding what changes are necessary. (Hint: it shouldn’t be me.)

Tension & resistance? Bring it on.

Ambiguity, curve balls, confrontation and other “icky” factors are never comfortable to confront. But they’re part of the deal, so they must be managed. I do not promise that this work is going to be easy. But I can tell you that it’s going to be worth it.


The ability and courage to say out loud what is experienced and observed when with clients is one of the major distinctions between coaching and consulting. The coaching relationship should model integrity demonstrated by presence and showing up as our true selves. I try to deliver feedback in a way that can be heard to effect a change in behavior. This means specific observational feedback that avoids labels like good or bad, right or wrong.