What’s at the heart of great coaching today?

What’s at the heart of great coaching today?What’s at the heart of great coaching today?

What do you think it takes to deliver great coaching? How would you coach someone as if their life depended on it? What might you try to make sure you get to the heart of the matter? My wife had unexpected open heart surgery several weeks ago. Her heart broke! Literally. The heart you see in the picture helped her breath for several days after her surgery.

I’ve helped several older friends and clients through open heart surgery and recovery after. They were much older and were not in as good of shape as my wife was when it happened to them. Open heart surgery impacts people in different ways. When it happens to your life partner it forces you to make new choices about how and where you invest your time.

It almost always requires people to examine their lives more closely. How would you help someone you love through this learning process? In my case, how do you coach from the heart when helping someone to understand what happened.

One of my favorite coaches is Marshall Goldsmith. He has been talking about permanent positive change for over 20 years. Lucky for me, a friend introduced me to Marshall and his wonderful work when I taught in Washington D.C. What’s wonderful about knowing Marshall is he brings some incredible colleagues to the conversation.

In this case, Frances Hesselbein, Peter Drucker, and Greg Dardis. All understand what it takes to succeed when you’re already successful. All have a fantastic sense of humor, compassion and humility in all they do. They all share who they are to help others lead better lives.

I’ve applied to their ideas from hospitals to hospices and beyond. I thought you might find what I’ve learned from them helpful if you ever get in a situation where you are coaching for big stakes. A person’s life.

Marshall Goldsmith describes this in his Four Beliefs of Successful People. Positive beliefs are empowering. They are what make us continue to strive and grow as people. But at some point, they can provide unintended consequences in our lives. When dealing with clients after open heart surgery, they can make a person’s life a living hell. Not to put to fine a point on this. I’d like to share my understanding of Marshall Goldsmith’s The Four Beliefs of Successful People. I will try to show why they matter when make life altering decisions.

The first belief is I have succeeded. Don’t we all know someone who has the attitude I have been successful, and I will be again. Why should I try doing things a different way? Good health is something many of us take for granted. We know what we are doing works, it just didn’t this time.  We hang on stubbornly to ideas and strategies that don’t serve our greater good because we are comfortable with them.It’s time for coaching from the heart. It’s time for great coaching!

The second belief is I can succeed. This is the belief that tells you you’re smart enough, fast enough, and people love me the way I am. When coaching from the heart, you must be willing to ask the tough questions.  Do you want to change? My early coaching mentors told me people must want to change. If they don’t know what you do with them, they won’t change.

When dealing with older people who have open heart surgery, they must be all in for change. When dealing with younger people, they need to feel like its their decision. Because it is. Helping people understand what they’ve done won’t get them where they need to be is a critical discussion.

Coaching from the heart means you’re willing to challenge people’s assumption about why they were successful. In my wife’s case, it’s looking at the same facts and looking for a better understanding of why it happened. One that honors her previous efforts but also allows her to be at peace that doing things differently would not have changed the outcome.

The third belief is I will succeed. I describe it as banging your head on a brick wall when opening a door will get you inside. Right after a life altering event, it’s easy to think that you have succeeded because of several key strengths. Those strengths are exactly why you are in the given situation. Coaching from the heart means you stop looking at past successes in the same way. Your might be overestimating key success factors and underestimating why you’re still here.

I also believe it means acknowledging you may need help to get through this challenging situation. To be successful moving forward you need to learn from many different people with complementary capabilities. With open heart surgery, and many other big events in life, you must learn how to rely on others if you hope to have a successful return to life.

Finally, the fourth belief is I choose to succeed. Choice versus chance is a large part of what caused my clients to believe they would never have heart problems. They believed something magical would keep their hearts from failing to beat. So many people I talk with tell me, if going to be, its up to me.

Choose the right path and your life will be transformed.  After working with so many successful leaders I have uncovered an unusual fact.  They all understand the role luck has in why they succeeded. Lucky because they were born here, lucky because they chose a path, lucky because they had a person who supported them.

When luck meets a person, who understands what they want out of life they are unstoppable. But last time I checked no one lives here forever. Coaching from the heart means you help people prioritize their wants and needs.

I’ve never met a person in hospice who wishes they would have spent more time at work. Coaching from the heart means you dig deeper to help them understand themselves better. In this way, they choose what’s important to them at this time in their lives There is nothing wrong with having lifetime goals. The question is what happen when life changes. In my case, I return to the primary reason I chose my path. Its to help others deal with lasting permanent positive change and that’s coaching from the heart.

Starting next week, we’ll share the different ways I helped people achieve lasting permanent change in their lives. I think you might be able to apply them to your life. See you next week.

About the Author

Tripp Braden partners with clients to create an anticipatory strategy and mindset. The resulting culture breaks down barriers to combine planning and innovation in a way that elevates and accelerates results.

He’s a growth strategist and IBM IoT Futurist who turns strategy into implementable options for increasing market share, revenue, and profits. He has proven success seeing the big picture and creating new market opportunities.

Ask Tripp how to turn disruption and change into your opportunity and advantage.

Tripp can be contacted at tbraden@marketleadership.net or send him an invite on LinkedIn. You can find Tripp’s journal on growing your organization at Market Leadership Journal.

Tripp Braden – who has written posts on Developing High Performing Teams.


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