Coaching and growing people is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding work of a lifetime. When you become an effective coach, you are able to make a profound difference in the lives of the people you coach, and in the process of coaching people to realize their goals and dreams, you will also grow tremendously and your life will be deeply enriched. Have you ever shared your dream with others and had people laugh at it, or say that it was impossible? We have, but because we believed strongly in our dream and we had great coaches that worked with us and believed in us, we have been able to achieve much more than we ever could have on our own.
People have dreams that they want to accomplish in their lives, but for many, their dreams remain just dreams for the rest of their lives. For some people, their dreams seem like an illusion because they keep going around in circles, not knowing clearly enough what they really want and what they need to do to fulfill their dreams. Some people lack the belief and drive to achieve their dreams, and they keep facing roadblocks that make them doubt that they will ever realize their dreams.
This is where you as a coach can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Their dreams don’t have to remain just dreams when they have a great coach to work with them. Coaching works best by focusing on positive emotional attractors such as goals and dreams rather than on negative emotional attractors such as correcting what is wrong in people.
In the process of focusing on goals and dreams as the main theme in coaching, people are more willing to deal with the roadblocks and problems that stand in the way of them achieving their passionate goals. People will change when they are ready and willing, and when they have a strong enough motivation to do so. Remember that effective coaching takes place in the domain of achievement, not in the domain of therapy, so the people that you coach do not need to be fixed or coerced to change.
A CEO of a multinational corporation once asked us to coach one of his managers to “deal with her mistakes and shortcomings.” When she discovered this, she became extremely resistant to coaching, but when we shifted the focus of the coaching to the goals and dreams that she wanted to achieve, she opened up and became excited about coaching. By focusing on her strengths and her dreams rather than her mistakes and her shortcomings, she began to flourish and her problems began to clear up. In fact, after only 18 months of coaching she was able to realize her dream of becoming the Vice President of Marketing in the same corporation.
Through our many years of experience in coaching, we have seen countless lives change for the better. People who were once unhappy become joyful, poor leaders turn into great leaders, destructive habits are replaced with empowering habits, a life of emptiness transforms into a life of fulfilment, and much, much more.
We have also witnessed whole organizations turn around by creating a culture of coaching and leadership excellence. Effective coaching leaders are able to fulfill their three key responsibilities, which are to establish good relationships, ensure performance, and grow their people to enable sustainable growth. In addition to transforming people and organizations, we believe that with coaching we can also impact our community at large and make the world a much better place.
We want to share with you an inspiring story of how coaching made the biggest difference to Jessica and how the coaching relationship also evoked a strong sense of lasting fulfilment for Jessica and her coach.
At the age of 28, I was depressed and devastated. It had been a bed of roses when I was in school in Hong Kong. I won a national interschool speech contest, wrote award winning poems, was very popular and scored straight A’s. I was in a great school with supportive teachers, counselors and schoolmates. I felt loved and appreciated by the people around me when I was able to shine. Then I took a job as branch operations executive in a bank after completing my Master of Banking and Finance degree in Sydney. Twenty four months into this dreadful job, I was totally disillusioned about life. I secretly called my boss a sadist since he gained pleasure from making people suffer just because he had gone through a lot of pain. He would trample on me in front of others at the slightest mistake, and like a slave driver he never seemed to leave the office and his staff was not supposed to leave before him. My coworkers were all selfishly materialistic and would victimize me when I did not succumb to their manipulative wishes. My parents had high expectations of me and I felt no love from them when I could not achieve the success they wanted from me. My boyfriend decided to leave me with a note saying that he could not live with a loser. I spent nights crying myself to sleep in my lonely apartment in Chinatown. I had many sleepless nights and would scream and scratch myself in the middle of the night thinking that my life was ending.
A friend invited me to a life changing seminar by Anthony Robbins in Singapore. During the seminar I raised my hand to say that I needed help and expressed the seriousness of my problems. Before the end of the seminar, I was approached by a coach who said he was willing to work with me with no expectations or monetary reward so I decided to give it a try. Since my coach was a very busy person from Malaysia, we did two-hour sessions every two weeks using Skype. My coach knew that the pain in my life was unbearable; he did not talk much so I did most of the talking. By the third session, I broke down in tears. After I had poured out all my suffering, I suddenly felt empty but much lighter. He then started to ask me about what I loved to do most and what I did well in school. Then he gave me a template to write down each week over a period of twelve weeks what I did well and enjoyed doing at work. It was difficult at first but eventually I came to a self realization that what I did well and loved to do at school and at work boiled down to similar things. I loved to express myself in front of many people, socialize with like-minded people and develop and create new things that others could enjoy. My coach asked me how I could embrace my true strengths and passion and that became my revelation. Before that I had totally forgotten about my giftedness. Now I began to engage with it.
With encouragement from my coach, I had the courage to visualize what my life would be like if I used my God-given gifts to the fullest. He even asked if I wanted to create my own affirmation and what I did sounded like “I am gratefully and masterfully presenting, creating and relating with people.” I recorded this with my special tune on my smart phone and programmed a reminder to play this six times a day. My turning point came when my coach asked me how I could change the circumstances that I was faced with. I thought about it for a whole week, and the answer came when I met the Head of Training in the bank during a training session. I literally spilled out my affirmation to him and asked if I could work with him. I was astounded when he called my boss, called my coach and then called to tell me yes. From then on, my coach worked with me to hone my passion and strengths to the point that I got a standing ovation from people that attended the training that I created and delivered. I later spoke on national TV about my turnaround story and continued working with my coach for eight months until the point that I felt it was time I helped others. One of the final questions from my coach was “Why do you think God gave you special talents and what do you think you have been put into this world for?” After several months of soul searching, I believe I found my life purpose which is summarized as “Enriching lives with love and humility through transformational programs.”
This is part of a much longer letter that I wrote to my coach. “When there was a dark storm on my horizon, and I didn’t think I could get through it, you had unceasing faith in me. You saw the goodness in me and gave me the courage to be what I was really born to be. You gave me hope and inspiration to stay alive when I felt my life was worthless. I will always remember your words, ‘The future is in your hands, it’s time to come alive, your moment has arrived.’ And true enough you helped me find the answers that lie deep within me, that I alone could not reach. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I made it through the ‘hurricane’ of my life. The world is a much better place because of a great coach like you. You have inspired me to pass on this gift to others through my life purpose.”
– Jack Canfield and Dr. Peter Chee
To dream the impossible dream and to make the impossible dream possible is to experience the greatest fulfilment of coaching.
– Jack Canfield and Dr. Peter Chee