Provision #393: Coaching Metaphors

Laser Provision

Today’s Provision concludes our series of 23 interviews with current and former coaching clients. It provides a great perspective not only on the coaching process but also on the more profound question of how and why people change. If you are contemplating making some changes, then perhaps this Provision will enable you to get going in the right direction. And please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you think we can lend a hand.

LifeTrek Provision

There is considerable debate raging under the surface of the coaching profession as to how coaching actually assists people to do learn and grow. The prevailing model, codified in the International Coach Federation’s Core Coaching Competencies, is that coaches are process rather than content experts. We do not instruct, teach, and advise as much as we listen, inquire, and inspire. “The client has the answers” and “the client does the work” are two mantras of the coaching profession.

Other voices beg to differ. Consider the following definition of coaching put forward by Dave Buck, the President and Chief Experience Officer of CoachVille: Coaching is the process of “inspiring an individual or team to produce a desired result through personalized teaching, expanding awareness, and designing environments.” In other words, sometimes the client does not have the answers and sometimes the coach does the work of leading the way.

So when do we lead and when do we follow? When do we teach and when do we get out of the way, so clients can teach themselves? These questions go to the heart of transformational coaching. And the answers are as varied as the clients themselves. At its best, coaching is an intuitive dance, with the coach serving as a masterful partner on the dance floor of life. We know when to push and when to pull, when to speak and when to listen, in order to move as one with the client in the cause of human development.

The 23 interviews we conducted with current and former clients in this series, and the metaphors they generated, demonstrate the uniqueness of how coaching works in the rough and tumble realm of real life. To survey all the metaphors at once provides a breathtaking view of what coaching means not only to individuals but to our world today.

1. Coaching as Art Appreciation. We started off interviewing a physician, who spoke of coaching in terms of art appreciation. “When you and I talk,” he observed, “it’s as though there are three people in the room. You, me, and my story. Together, like students, we step back to observe and to study my story as though it were a piece of art. By getting me to step back, you enable me to see things I might otherwise have missed. By keeping the tone appreciative, you enable me to keep working on my goals even when I am not doing as well as I would like. The poems you shared with me really impacted my morning routine.”

2. Coaching as Scenic Overlook. From the doctor’s office we turned to a realtor, who also appreciated the big picture perspective that coaching brings to life and work. As an essentially self-employed sales professional, she of course wanted to improve her production. But she also wanted to improve her life. “I needed to learn how to stop working so hard and to enjoy life more,” she reflected. “I discovered it was all connected. The better I felt about myself and the more risks I took personally, the better I did professionally. Through coaching I learned how to make my own luck.”

3. Coaching as Purposeful Change. Improved production is not, of course, a balanced measure of success • not even for a corporate Vice-President of sales. He came to coaching to get in shape and to better organize his work life. Through coaching he identified other, more life-changing goals that have made his heart sing. “My original goals were ‘straw dogs,'” he noted, “to take steps toward something different without taking risks. Once I got clear about my values and my future self, I went in a completely different direction. I am now a paid actor with dreams of one day doing that full time.” Now that’s purposeful change.

4. Coaching as Safety Net. Big changes are scary changes. Since no one knows for sure what the future holds, we can let our imagination go wild. When that happens, coaching provides a safety net enabling us to let go and to jump. It anchors us in the present moment so we can embrace the flow of what’s happening, and what’s required, in the here and now. “I came to coaching because I had had a rough experience in my last position and I wanted to find a new position where I could excel,” said a public school superintendent. “Between all the second guessing and nervous waiting, it was easy to get paralyzed let alone to take good care of myself. Coaching provided the support I needed to go for my dream with greater self-awareness and healthier daily habits.”

5. Coaching as Philosopher’s Stone. The notion of going for a dream often conjures up images of changing positions or doing something completely different. And, indeed, that often leads to and follows from effective coaching. But not always. The philosopher’s stone, to borrow an image both from our interview with the relationship marketing director of a major pharmaceutical company and from the ancient Myth of Sisyphus, is to find new meaning and purpose in the tasks we have been working at all along. “It’s tough in business today,” notes our client, “and it’s a challenge to perform optimally without engaging in self-destructive behavior. Whether it’s working too much or eating too much, it’s easy to compromise ourselves. I know I have succumbed to both temptations, and I also know that coaching has assisted me to gain perspective and to do better.”

6. Coaching as Booster Rocket. Our next interviewee, an aspiring business and life coach, has used coaching as an apprenticeship to jumpstart both his coaching skills and his practice. “I think of coaching as a booster rocket,” he notes, “and also as a great, cosmic workout machine. It’s the best way I know to put feet under your dreams. If you have something you want to do, that’s gnawing at you, that you’ve been procrastinating about, or that you’ve been working at but are not being as successful at as you would like, then give coaching a try. It will stretch you and assist you to build muscle for the challenges and opportunities of life.”

7. Coaching as Dancing Freely. All work and no play not only “makes Jack a dull boy,” it also makes coaching ineffective. After several weeks of being focused on productivity and performance, we turned our attention in this interview to a project manager who needed to lighten up. “Not only was my profession intense,” she remembers, “but so was my approach to self-improvement. I read all I could and worked really hard. Coaching enables me to let that go and to dance more freely in the direction of my dreams. Everything else is now secondary to loving myself and living without fear. It’s as though I can finally hear the music, after years of feeling like I was trapped in a car with no radio. The music I hear now has a beat that makes me want to jump into the street, dancing all out, for everyone to see.”

8. Coaching as Trusted Friend. Some coaches limit their work with clients to 90 days or less. LifeTrek invites clients to work with their coaches for as long as they want, and to start and stop along the way. That’s because coaching has many similarities to a trusting friendship, as experienced by a medical doctor who came to coaching with dreams of retirement in about a decade. “In running my own practice,” he observed, “it’s hard to find people to talk with on a peer-to-peer basis. I wanted to talk with someone about my plans, my practice, my anxieties, my finances, and even my marriage, but I wasn’t sure where to turn. These are not things I normally talk about with anyone! Nevertheless, as a long-time reader of LifeTrek Provisions, I contacted you for coaching with the hope that such a conversation would be possible. And, indeed, you became a trusted friend, outside my everyday world, with whom I could ventilate, develop my half-baked ideas, and discus my plans. Your book recommendations really enhanced my learning. Having now purchased and begun construction on our retirement property, we’ve moved from contemplating the future to taking action.”

9. Coaching as Breath Work. Ironically, we sometimes have to slow down and even to stop in order to take that action. We have to jettison our baggage and break our negative thinking patterns in order to move forward on a different track. Coaching, like breath work, can introduce the mindful pause that releases our pain and opens the door to possibility. “I find it easy to be self-critical and to beat myself up,” confided an electrical contractor, “and that creates quite a haze through which to live, work, see, and move. Coaching enabled me to clear the air and to develop a clean intention of my future self. From there, finding a new position in my current field, in a more desirable geographical location, fell right into place. It would not have happened without the intentioning work we did together.”

10. Coaching as Couples Campfire. But what happens when the client is a married couple, each of whom have different intentions for the future? That’s when it’s time to sit before at least a metaphorical, if not a real, campfire, together with a competent coach, in order to sort things out and work things through. “I came to coaching first,” remembers the husband and CEO of a small, family-owned business, “but it quickly became apparent that my wife • who also served as our Sales Manager • needed to join the conversation. We had different visions for the company and even for our relationship as a couple.” “In reality,” noted the wife, “there was lots of tension and we were hardly talking to each other. Coaching assisted us to become less critical and more caring. We listen more attentively and share more intimately. I ended up leaving the company and we are now working on a vision for retiring to the Caribbean.”

11. Coaching as Adventure Gear. How’s that for an adventure! It’s no less exotic than the other couple we interviewed who ended up selling their home, and most of their belongings, after two successful careers in information technology. “Coaching assisted us to take the plunge on something we had been talking about a for a long time,” observed the husband. “We decided to buy a recreational vehicle and to travel around North America for a year. Since we knew this would be an intense and critical time for our relationship, we also decided to take our coach along on the adventure. Regardless of where we were, we could still call in for our telephone coaching sessions.” “And those calls did assist us to focus on our identity, vision, and communication patterns as a couple,” continued the wife. “The coaching made us more respectful, attentive and sensitive to each other. It was the gear that made the trip work even when it became challenging, difficult, and strenuous. It set us up for life.”

12. Coaching as Talking Mirror. If one couple took coaching with them on a trip around North America, then others can call in from around the world. And that’s exactly what makes us an international coaching company. Take, for example, our work with an Irish entrepreneur with grand designs on the U.S. market. “For my dream to come true, I needed to attract a large amount of venture capital,” he remembers. “But I never would have done that without the positive habits, systems, and attitudes we worked on together. With your assistance, I was able to eliminate much of the frustration, clutter, and delay in my life. I was able to increase my success by decreasing my stress. I was also able to identify and focus on the leadership challenges that success would bring. That includes not only my professional challenges, as CEO, but also my personal challenges, as husband, father, and friend. I live a more balanced life now than ever before, and coaching was part of making that happen. It was like looking in a mirror that would talk back; I got to see myself with new eyes, warts and all. It got to the guts of who I am and enabled me to move on.”

13. Coaching as Sounding Board. So too for the finance director of a large pharmaceutical factory in Puerto Rico. “I signed up for coaching because I needed a sounding board,” he recalls. “After being in the corporate world for many years, I started my own system implementation consulting business in 1996. But that was growing old and I needed to catch wind of a new vision for my life. I didn’t want therapy. I wanted someone who could assist me to design and organize my life around my passion. I knew that if I got really excited about something, the rest would fall into place. And sure enough, I quickly made huge transitions. I left my apartment in San Juan and moved full time to a mountain home in the country. From there, my relationships as well as my profession changed dramatically. Your out-of-the-box perspective, not to mention your contacts and wisdom, were exactly what I needed to reengage with the corporate world and to disengage from my significant other. It was great to have a coach by my side through those important transitions.”

14. Coaching as Noise Reduction. Others have described the same coaching dynamic in terms of getting out of our own way. It’s as though coaching lowers the volume on all the internal and external noise that we live with everyday so we can hear and speak the voice of our own, true self. “I knew that I wanted an exit strategy from my position at the bank and that I wanted to decipher my options for the future,” noted our next interviewee, “but I did not know how much had to be weeded out in order for me to be successful. We did an enormous amount of work on the things that were getting in the way, the things I was tolerating, and I became very proficient at saying, ‘No, I don’t need that.’ Now, I’ve rid myself of tolerations and things that don’t add value. I worry less and I smile more. I’ve gotten more connected to the things that matter.”

15. Coaching as Employee Benefit. Not every coaching client is an individual. Sometimes, the client is a company or an organization which retains a coach to work with one or more people who may be identified as high-potential, at-risk, in-conflict, stressed-out, or otherwise able to benefit from working with an external coaching resource. “I decided to make coaching available to the top 30 people in the company,” the CEO of a mid-size engineering company told us, “because we had been through a tough reorganization and everyone was feeling the pressure. Morale had become an issue.” “Bad attitudes can come from so many directions,” observed the CFO, “we needed someone who could help us look not only at the work environment but at the whole environment of our lives. Fortunately, that was the perspective you brought to the coaching process.” “And it really made a difference,” concluded one of the Engineer Managers who worked with a LifeTrek coach for three months. “Life balance issues are not things we normally talk about as a company. Performance rules when it comes to business. Coaching elevated both the acceptability and the importance of life balance issues, thereby assisting us to do better and to feel better all the way around.”

16. Coaching as HR On Call. Another company, in the consumer products industry, has used LifeTrek Coaching as an adjunct HR resource over a period of many years. Through cross-cultural projects, organizational restructuring, succession planning, team building, performance improvement, and crisis management, LifeTrek Coaching has been called upon to render assistance as needed. “At this point, we have worked together for so long,” notes the Vice President of Human Resources, “that our trust level is high. Knowing that you are only a phone call away, when it seems like a situation would benefit from your coaching, makes our HR program both more effective and creative. We have sometimes called you in by design, as a first response, and other times we have brought you in to help with a difficult situation, almost as a last resort. But either way coaching has been a welcome and effective intervention with our executives and directors.”

17. Coaching as 3-D Glasses. As an intervention, coaching often enables people to see things in new ways. That was certainly the experience of our next interviewee, a senior project analyst for a major U.S. corporation. It was, for her, like putting on those special glasses to watch a 3-D movie • things suddenly came into focus and jumped out at her in fresh and surprising ways. “Since I worked with my coach for 18 months, we had plenty of material to work with,” she recalls. “From health and fitness, to career development, to relationship work we covered all the bases, generating many “light bulb” moments along the way. My self-talk, my daily habits, and my overall perspective have all improved. The coaching process has assisted me to get where I want to go.”

18. Coaching as Guiding Light. Given the forwarding action of the coaching process, and given his profession as an ordained minister, it came as no surprise that our next client came up with “guiding light” as a metaphor for coaching. “When I came to coaching,” he notes, “I was in my first year of employment at a new church. And I wanted to make it the best year possible. So I came with my goals in hand as to what I wanted to accomplish at the church. Much to my surprise, I ended up with a whole new set of goals that were more life-goals than ministry-goals. I came to see how the two worked hand in hand. I spend more time with my wife and children now, including family devotions, and I write in my journal 4-5 times a week. These were things I used to preach, but failed to incorporate in my only daily habits. Now all that has changed. I put people before programs. Coaching has led me to this place like a guiding light, and it is really peaceful.”

19. Coaching as Healthy Relationship. That “peaceful, easy feeling” captures the experience of another LifeTrek Coaching client who is a suburban housewife, homemaker, and home-schooling mom. As someone who is, at times, out of step with the prevailing culture (she describes herself as “an alternative cosmic visionary”), and as someone who has recently suffered a tragic and violent death in the family, this client is more than happy to pay for a healthy relationship with her coach. Especially when it assists her to have healthy relationships with all the other people in her life. “Because I frequently dare to be different, it’s not uncommon for people to challenge me about my choices,” she observes. “That’s why it’s been great to work with a coach who affirms me and who assists me to set and maintain healthy boundaries with those who challenge me. And your support when my dad was murdered proved to be invaluable. There’s no way to say enough about how coaching has kept me going and moved me forward.”

20. Coaching as Spiritual Formation. Another LifeTrek Coaching client has used the coaching process to develop her spiritual life. “Can you assist me to find God?” was the way she put the question during her initial call. Since that time, more than four years ago, we have been on a quest to see life through sacred eyes • and it’s not just been a matter of perspective. “One of the things I enjoy most about the coaching,” she reports, “is the orientation around spiritual practice. It has me doing things in the physical world in order to get me connected to the spiritual world. So we have developed an elaborate set of rituals which I practice faithfully on a daily basis in order to deepen my spiritual life. Given my health challenges, those practices mostly take place within my home. But they open my eyes to the movement of spirit around the world and throughout history. Because of coaching I am more thankful and happy to be alive.”

21. Coaching as Life Raft. The attitude of gratitude also came up in our next client interview, with someone who is both a mother and, with her husband, the owner-operator of a small business. Owning your own business and dealing with the buying public are enough to give anyone a bad attitude. Put that together with a lifelong eating disorder and an existentialist philosophy of life and you have a recipe for both despair and cynicism. So why would someone like this come to coaching? “Because I haven’t completely given up on doing better,” she replied. “Coaching was, for me, a highly personalized, highly individualized, and never “medicalized” learning process. We shared common goals and were figuring things out together. By coaching me through your marathon training and eating programs, you have assisted me to do better in two areas where other programs have failed. I am grateful for that and for life in general. I’m still not a cheery and optimistic person. That’s just not in me. But I do enjoy my good days more now than ever before.”

22. Coaching as Tiger Team. We interviewed another client who feels a lot of pressure from his work as an engineering project manager in the aerospace industry. The more he accomplishes, the more they give him to do, and the more difficult it becomes to live a balanced and purpose-driven life. “What I needed,” he said, “was my own personal Tiger Team. We use that term to refer to a team that analyzes systems in order to identify hidden or heretofore unrecognized problems which might lead to performance declines, boundary violations, workflow interruptions, and decreased earnings. I needed someone to analyze my life that way, before I made too many more compromises. You embraced my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal • to reduce the dependence of the United States on fossil fuels • and you have carefully worked with me to express that goal in my life and work. I am still a long way from where I want to be, but I am much closer than I would have been without coaching.”

23. Coaching as Family Affair. Our last client was an extended family who has worked together, as a group, with a LifeTrek coach to lose weight and get in shape over the past 18 months. “Our vision was to transform the fat family into the fit family,” reports the inspirational lead sister in the group, “but we ended up with so much more than just fitness. For one thing, since we live in three different states, it was great to start talking with each other again on a weekly basis. The connection was palpable. “And when we met, we didn’t just talk about the same old things,” continued another sibling, “By joining together as a coaching group, we became focused on health and fitness like never before. So now, when we get together for holidays or special occasions, we eat differently and are more likely to look out for each other.” “The whole process has been quite dynamic,” noted the brother and only male in the group. “We modified our environment as well as our habits in order to get going with new habits. The weekly coaching call is a powerful accountability forum that assists us to do better all week long.”

So what have we learned about the coaching process? Perhaps a bulleted definition, based on our interviews, will break it down best. Coaching is a relationship, with two or more persons, that assists people to do better in life and work by getting them to:

1. learn new skills
2. take new actions
3. develop new habits
4. design new environments, and
5. find new resolve in the face of difficulty.

Our interviews also gave us great insight into how the coaching relationship gets people to do all that new stuff. Although the needs of each client are unique, over time most coaching relationships include:

1. reflective thinking
2. storytelling
3. appreciative inquiry
4. provocative dialogue
5. role modeling
6. sharing experiences
7. values clarification
8. project collaboration
9. increasing awareness and gaining perspective
10. cultivating creativity
11. transferring knowledge
12. giving permission
13. setting boundaries
14. expressing feelings
15. releasing attachments
16. eliminating tolerations or energy drains
17. testing hypotheses, and
18. genuine caring.

Those 5 deliverables and 18 ingredients to a successful coaching relationship may one day form a Provisions’ series in their own right. But for now, we bring this series to a close with the simple hope that you too will find the resources and the wherewithal to change and grow in the direction of your dreams.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you want to make some changes in your life? Does it sound like the process of coaching would assist you to shift from contemplating those changes to getting into action? Why not give us a call?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us, use our Contact Form, or give us a call in the U.S.A. at 757-345-3452.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Thanks, Bob, for the neat poem. It conjures up much visualization and stimulation around the globe. Best to you and all of your affiliates and family!


Thank you for your poetry wishes. I & my family in India wish you and all the same.


Congratulations on your marathon in Dallas and welcome to the fabulous 50’s. Happy, Healthy Birthday! I too • am doing a Marathon of sorts. I divorced in April and I am “running” the race of my life. Although this can be a very sad transition in life it can also be a very sweet, delicious transition in life. This time, knowing myself, allowing life to unfold with my prayers, wisdom, and faith muscle being built. I have no doubt that I will eventually become one of the blessed souls that gets to do a “redo” with my eyes wide open. There is joy as well. Thanks for all that you write and all that you do to open our eyes.


That’s exciting news about your new diet and weight loss. We want more information on the hunter-gatherer diet. What are the essential items we need to stock up on in order to eat like you? Is there somewhere we can read more? Thanks! (Ed. Note: Watch for an announcement in an upcoming issue of LifeTrek Provisions.)


If we get the weekly email OK, do we also need to receive the weekly “Online Notification”? I’d love to have one less thing to dispose of. Thanks for your journal. I read it each week. (Ed. Note: Unfortunately, our system permits distributions only to the entire list • so we send out both every week. You may want to configure a rule in your e-mail program where email with the subject “LifeTrek Provision Online Notification” gets automatically deleted.)


Happy 50th Birthday! Thank you for your commitment … your commitment to excellence, to determination, to succeed, to teach and to impart knowledge. Thank you for your commitment to others!


Thanks, Bob, for sharing your story about the Dallas Marathon so clearly and encouragingly. And congratulations! Although I’m not sure why any and every moment of grace • whether surprising or not • isn’t pure delight for you. I relish the constancy of grace as much as you relish the surprise. I find both to be wonderful but you seem to believe, or at least imply, that constancy does not work for you. (Ed. Note: I enjoy them both, and see the next reader reply.)


I enjoyed your story titled “Unpublished Grace.” I would note, however, that presumably God is not worried about publishing divine grace since the streets of heaven are not as narrow as the road from Hopkinton to Boston. There’s room enough for everyone there. But after your Provision to 62,000 people, the Boston Marathon may have to curtail the unpublished 2-minute grace period into a 1-minute grace period, to fend off an excess numbers of grace-seekers!


Congratulations on your success in Dallas. You are the most gracious person I know, and it shows in your words and deeds.


I loved your story on “Unpublished Grace.” Grace is a wonderful gift indeed, without exception, published or not.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, love and joy. May you be blessed with all that you need and more. I hope your holiday season was and is merry and bright.


Your readers in Cambodia wish you and your loved ones the very best of holiday seasons and a wealthy, healthy, successful, and happy New Year!



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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Provision #390: Coaching as Family Affair

Laser Provision

This week is our last client interview in this series, and it’s with four people — all related • who have been part of a LifeTrek coaching group for more than a year. They came to coaching with the desire to transform themselves from the fat family into the fit family, and they wanted to do it together. Their journey into health and wellness illustrates one more dimension of the coaching process, as it works with groups of people who share a common interest, purpose, and vision.

LifeTrek Provision

For some coaches, group coaching is their preferred if not their exclusive style of working. I know of one coach, for example, who specializes in coaching luxury car sales professionals. Unwilling to talk with each other and share their secrets in the same town, these salespeople are willing to participate actively in coaching groups that draw from different markets. So he creates diverse telephone coaching groups, from different localities, to improve performance and fulfillment in the workplace.

Our coaching groups have been similarly oriented around a common interest. They seem to work best that way. Christina, for example, ran a coaching group for expectant mothers, called The Fourth Trimester, Erika hosted a group for creative self expression, called Awakening Through Art, and Kate has led coaching groups for singles, called Attract Your Ideal Mate, and for those in career transition, called Manifest Through Intention.

In my case, I have run a variety of telephone coaching groups over the years, including one on the use of the Internet for aspiring coaches, called E-Rupt Your Coaching Practice, and several on themes related to Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. Two groups I have particularly enjoyed were called Stress Proof Your Life and Mastering Your Money We can do those again at any time!

One of the nice dynamics of group coaching is that participants coach each other through the process. In fact, it becomes the role of the facilitator-coach to make sure everyone participates and no one does too much advising during the call. That is, after all, the constant temptation in coaching: to do too much talking and too little listening. Great group coaching pays attention to this dynamic, being sure that people listen to each other and to themselves through the process of learning how to do better.

Another benefit is that group coaching usually costs less than individual coaching, thereby expanding the opportunity for coaching to more people.

For the past year and a half I have worked with a group of four people • today’s featured clients • who not only share a common interest • weight loss and wellness • but who also share a common bond • as members of the same family. Three of the four participants are brother and sisters; the fourth is the sister-in-law. All four have dealt with eating and weight loss issues over the course of their lives, all four were significantly overweight when we began coaching, and all four have now lost significant weight with one person having reached and maintained her goal weight for the past six months.

My guess is that you will appreciate their experience, their challenge, and their story. You will also enjoy their humor. Laughter is part of what characterizes this family’s time together. They have no trouble poking fun at each other, both dishing it out and taking it, in order to lighten the load along the trek of life.

Q. So who remembers how this group came together in the first place?

S-1. That would be me, and it happened in your hot tub. I have known you since the early 1980s, when you were wearing your minister hat in the inner-city of Chicago, and I had come to visit you and Megan after your move to Williamsburg. I had already started in on another round of weight loss, through Weight Watchers, I had lost about 20 pounds, and we were sitting in your hot tub talking about my experience.

From past experience, I knew I had reached the point at which I would quit the program. 20 pounds had heretofore been enough to get me feeling and looking a little better. That’s when I would let up and, before too long, the weight would come back. We were talking about how I could do it differently this time, and about my concern for the rest of my family • who was even more overweight than me • when the idea of a coaching group came up.

The idea of transforming the fat family into the fit family captured my imagination • but I was doubtful we could get the group together. I wanted to do it, but I was motivated by my recent weight loss. I didn’t think the others would go along with the idea, my sister because she had never been that interested in self-help type initiatives and my brother and his wife because I wasn’t sure they could afford to make the commitment financially. But they all surprised me.

S-2. This felt different for several reasons. Since we were doing it as a family, and since we were doing it on the phone, it didn’t feel like I was going into therapy. It was also just time to do something. I was at my highest weight ever, and was pretty disgusted with myself. I knew that my sister had been losing weight, so I figured I could benefit from her energy and experience. Finally, since I was acquainted you and was aware of your background, the trust level was already high.

S-L. The trust factor was the key for us as well. On one level, it seems absolutely ridiculous to pay someone to tell you to do what you already know you should do. I mean, how stupid is that? But on the other hand, if you’re not living from your values and if it works, then it would appear to be money well spent • better spent, certainly, than on other more fattening forms of entertainment.

B. And we were also at the high end of our weight cycle, needing to do something. In college I had wrestled in the 140s. When the idea for our coaching group surfaced, I weighed almost twice that amount. We were simply out of control with our eating, and in many areas of life. That was especially apparent when we would all get together for holidays or other special occasions. The eating was unbelievable. Put us all in the same car, and we would be required to stop at the truck weigh stations on the highway. It was time to head in a different direction, even if it did cost money.

Q. Once we convened the group, everyone started to lose weight, almost immediately. How did that happen?

S-2. There was a lot of inspiration, conversation, education, and experimentation not to the mention the peer pressure that comes from doing this as a family. Both you and my sister had lost weight, so that was an inspiration right there. But our conversations on the phone have carried that inspiration through, from week to week. They’ve been great and I’ve really come to look forward to them.

S-L. I’ve certainly learned so much through our process together. You hear things, from time to time, as to how this food or that food is bad for you. But our conversations have educated me in the specifics of just what these foods do, how they work, and how they harm or help the body. Early on, for example, you turned us into bad-fat cops • looking for ways to reduce or eliminate our consumption of saturated fat, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and trans-fatty acids. I knew we were making progress when my youngest daughter started to ask, “Mommy, is that food going to kill us?”

B. So we eliminated a lot of the bad foods from our house. We read the labels and got rid of them, or at least we didn’t buy more. We used to live, for example, on those powdered, quick-fix macaroni and cheese products. That was dinner, with a diet soda. At this point, I can’t remember the last time we had that in our house. We’ve experimented with different changes, until we got into new patterns and habits.

S-1. But it hasn’t gone fast enough for me. I’m the one who keeps up the pressure. That’s my role in the family, and it’s been hard for me to learn that people change at their own rate, in their own time, and for the own reasons. Last Thanksgiving my husband had a heart bypass operation, and the recovery was quite an ordeal. I don’t want anyone else in my family to have go through that, so I have kept pushing for people to get in shape now.

The coaching group has been a healthy way for me to do that. It’s also given me a way to connect with the people I love on an emotional basis. I live 800 miles away from the others, so I don’t see them anywhere near as much as they see each other, and I don’t talk with them as much either. Creating a weekly conversation point in our family, in the presence of a capable facilitator, has helped me both to connect with and to challenge my family in new ways. It has benefited us, all the way around.

Q. How much have each of you lost at this point, and how do you feel about the process?

S-1. For me it depends upon when you start counting. Remember, I had started Weight Watchers before we got the coaching group organized. When I started Weight Watchers I was 170 pounds. When we started the coaching group, I was already down to 153 pounds. Now, I am down to 124 pounds which I have maintained for the past six months. That’s almost 50 pounds of weight loss, which of course feels great. But I feel even better about my ability to maintain the weight. That has always been the challenge for me, and it’s rewarding now to be figuring out that piece.

S-2. I started the group at 256 pounds and now weigh 216. That’s a 40 pound weight loss since we started the group, which, of course, I would like to be more, but which you have helped me to see as an ideal rate of gradual weight loss. I feel as though I have been learning new things and making small, gradual changes in my lifestyle. Like eating flax seeds every day or drinking more water. Things I will be able to continue forever, not just things I am giving up because I “am on a diet.”

S-L. I started the group at 190 pounds and am now down to 173 pounds. Eating has been only one of many challenges for me as a home-schooling mother and pastor’s wife who also works, part time, outside of the home. My life is constant chaos, and in that environment it’s easy to become very careless about my family’s and my eating. Whatever is quick and easy usually wins out.

But slowly this group has assisted me to become more careful and more aware. I used to look down on people like that. I thought they were just being fussy or even inconsiderate to not eat whatever was put in front of them. Now I recognize that we are surrounded by poisons in the food chain; it’s up to us to hunt and gather our way through to the good stuff.

B. I started the group at 278 and now weigh about 250. I could have done better, but I am happy that I weigh less rather than more than I did one year ago. I am also happy that my exercise activity has become both more regular and more vigorous. One thing I did was to get my church to pay for my membership at the YMCA; I also announced to the church that I was in a coaching group to lose weight, so they wouldn’t expect me to eat all the food any longer at a church supper.

Doing those things has made me more accountable to the things we talk about in this group. By going public and coming out of the closet, by getting church members to invest in my weight loss process, I feel more energized by my values and more permission to say, “No, I don’t want to eat that,” than I did before. Some people in the church even decided to lose weight with me, as an act of self-help and solidarity. And some of them have now lost more weight than I have, so they’ve been ribbing me to get with the program. I certainly have plenty of support.

Q. Say more about the group dynamic. How has that been helpful?

S-L. First of all, it has been fun to do this together. What a unique way to spend more time together! We tease each other a lot, and give each other a hard time, but we don’t take offense. So we can push and pull at each other, even about something as sensitive as our weight, without ruining our family dynamics. For other families that might not be true, but for us the group experience has brought us together.

S-2. And it has given us a different focus when we get together for holidays and other occasions. Our get-togethers used to be all about eating. We didn’t know how to do anything else when we were together. Now, thanks to this group, we make plans ahead of time as to what we are going to eat, what food we are going to have around, and we even figure out different ways that we can be more active together as a family. It has been very positive.

S-1. It’s like we have been given a shared language, a common experience, and a deeper knowledge of what it takes to be healthy and well. You have not just been our facilitator and coach. You have also been our role model and teacher when it comes to nutrition, fitness, and relaxation. By getting us to focus on those three factors, and by sharing so much of what you have learned and are learning about them, we have become more educated and mindful about things we used to take for granted or not think about at all. It’s been incredibly helpful.

B. The weekly check in, with everyone else on the call, is a powerful accountability forum. Knowing that we are going to talk not only with you but with each other, that we are all working to reach and maintain our optimal body weight, and that we all want to live long and prosper both as individuals and as a family means that we pay more attention throughout the week to what we are eating, whether we are exercising, and how we are taking care of ourselves. We may not be the fit family yet, but we are on the road and moving in the right direction thanks to LifeTrek Coaching.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you on the road to health and wellness? Are there people in your circle of family and friends who could be of assistance to getting on that road and staying on that road? How could you become a role model and teacher, as well as a facilitator and coach, for health and wellness with those you know and love?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


If I am not mistaken, Bob celebrates his birthday today (December 7). Happy birthday to you as much as I wish you a year to come full of good health, inspiration (from Latin inspirare • breathe life into; being in spirits) and curious (from cura • spiritual charge) articles in the most valuable of treats: (the greatness of) being human. Happy birthday to you, and have a good day with those that are dear to you, from those of us who read your material here in Colombia, South America.


Warmest wishes to Bob on such a special birthday! You are a treasure, a blessing, an inspiration, a role model, a champion and a teacher. Thanks.


I have been reading your Provisions for over a year and have gotten some good ideas and made some changes. The interviews, however, are mind boggling and moving. So now I am interested in coaching, as long as it can fit into my financial recovery plan. Thanks.


Erika had a great Pathway this week! Click These are difficult questions she asks at the end…it is interesting to think about how I could try to switch to different perspectives. Considering my boyfriend and I are opposites, the questions she asks would be a good exercise for the two of us to explore. 


I was reading the newsletter tonight and really related with Erika’s section on seeing things and being stuck on one channel. She used to be my coach and her writing reminded me of how helpful that was. Thanks.


Erika’s Creativity Pathway really spoke to me this week. I’ve had all my input devices locked on the Negative Self-Worth channel and it hadn’t really occurred to me how much that limited my ability to notice other more positive messages. Thanks for opening my eyes.



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #389: Coaching as Tiger Team

Laser Provision

Are you pulled in so many directions, with so many demands, that you end up with precious little time or energy for the people, causes, and things you truly care about in life? If so, then join the club. That seems to be the way of the world. But today’s featured client tells the story of how coaching has assisted him to bracket those urgent demands with small steps that support his important values. If you, too, juggle the urgent and the important, then you’ll have much to think about and take away from this Provision.

LifeTrek Provision

Perhaps you are familiar with the term “tiger team.” I was not until I was introduced to it by today’s featured client, an engineering project manager in the aerospace industry. And it presents yet one more fascinating metaphor, along with some new distinctions and dimensions, for understanding the coaching process.

The term seems to have originated with the U.S. military, where it refers to a team of “sneakers” whose purpose is to penetrate security, and thus test security measures. From there, the term spread to other sectors, especially computer-security circles, to refer to a team of professionals who attempt to hack into systems in order to expose errors and security holes.

It was only a matter of time before the term was being used more broadly, to refer to any group of people, in any context, brought together for the specific purpose of analyzing systems in order to identify hidden or heretofore unrecognized problems which might lead to performance declines, boundary violations, workflow interruptions, and decreased earnings.

Such preemptive action has become standard operating procedure for many companies. It also describes yet another facet of the coach approach to human development. The concept of hacking into systems in order to uncover, and ultimately to fix, hidden problems is a big part of what coaches do. Through conversation and a way of being, we invite our clients to look at their lives in new ways and to see the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Sometimes those pieces are right before our eyes; we just don’t see how they fit together. Other times we have to go searching for them. But in the end, when the picture comes together, the truth can no longer be ignored and a compelling case for change is made.

Of course, that’s exactly what happens when a tiger team strikes. In the military or other high-security environments, heads can roll over the discoveries these teams can make. Their operations can make people miserable. And so too when it comes to coaching. Coaching is not just a feel-good activity. Sometimes we make our clients very uncomfortable as an important part of the growth process.

Today’s featured client has certainly had plenty of experience with tiger teams both at work and through almost two years of intermittent LifeTrek coaching. I trust that you will be blessed by his honest reflections on how our conversations have both assisted him to move forward and to realize the work that is yet to be done.

Q. How did you first learn about LifeTrek Coaching?

A. I had been reading your material on my Palm Pilot, through AvantGo, for quite a while before giving you a call. And when I called, I didn’t even have it in mind to start a coaching relationship. I simply recognized you as a kindred spirit whose writing and work I had come to appreciate. I really just called to say “Thanks,” and to explore opportunities to collaborate. Once we started talking, however, I recognized that LifeTrek Coaching could mean more to me than a weekly, inspirational Provision and I became open to the possibility that coaching might be able to assist me to reach my goals in life.

Q. And what were some of those goals?

A. How much time do you have? For the last twenty years, since I was in college, my overarching goal • my Big, Hairy Audacious Goal or B-HAG, a term which I originally heard at a retreat with Mark Victor Hansen who had himself borrowed the phrase from Jim Collins • has been to reduce the dependence of the United States on fossil fuels.

In college I rode my bike to get to class until, if you can believe this, they banned bicycles from the campus. The university transportation czar was wheelchair bound, and so she was focused on wheelchair-accessible public transportation. Bicycles were seen as an obstacle to accessibility. That decision seemed ridiculous to me. Bicycles and wheelchairs could coexist. So I became an activist and got on the university transportation board in order to change the policy.

Since that time, I have had repeated experiences that remind me of this priority. I see or sit in traffic jams, with one person to a car, depleting the earth’s resources, destroying the environment, creating economic dependency, and ruining our health. These experiences have made me more committed than ever to developing sustainable forms of transportation and alternative energy sources and I know, in my heart, that our country possesses more than enough technical expertise to achieve these goals if we were to make energy independence a priority.

Could LifeTrek Coaching assist me to reach such a goal? I believe it has, it can, and it will by assisting me to rearrange my life in ways that enable me to put more time and energy into my passion. That is why I decided to work with you, because there is a huge disconnect between my core values and where I spend my time. My core values put the well-being of our planet, and of my family on our planet, at the top of the chart. But you would never know it from the hours I work each week in the aerospace industry.

So I wanted you to assist me to see what I was missing, like my own personal tiger team. I wanted you to come in and evaluate the holes in my life, and in my excuses, so that I could figure out a new way of being in the world.

Q. How did we do on that score?

A. The bottom line is that I do better when I talk with you on a weekly basis than when I push things back to biweekly, monthly, or not at all. You have become an accountability partner for me. The fact that we have a scheduled appointment, that I prepare for that appointment by completing the Prep Form, and that we have homework growing out of every call means that I am more accountable to myself in living from my values rather than from my pressures.

But I would be lying to say that we have made great progress. The huge stumbling block for me is figuring out how to replace my salary in the aerospace industry with my passion for renewable energy. I have not figured that out yet, and the longer it goes on the worse it gets. I get promoted into increasing positions of responsibility, requiring even more time and energy for me to be successful.

Right now, I have not been coaching with you on a weekly basis for quite a while and I have let things slide. From the point of view of my day job, it is worse now than on the day I first called you.

So come January, after the holidays, we may need to ramp up our work together again. That’s because I really do better with you as my tiger team. On a personal level, I do better with my spiritual practices and my family commitments. I also do better with my daily habits. As the work load has ramped up, for example, I’m back to drinking coffee again and having ice cream at night — two habits I had completely eliminated when we were working together weekly. I am also not exercising like before. In short, my life is in better balance when we are working together more regularly.

On a professional level, I do better with my plans for leaving my current job in favor of my B-HAG. We have discussed two important strategies here, both of which deserve more attention than I am giving them now. One is to develop my network marketing business into a going concern, to replace some of the income I would lose if I left my current position. The other is to work in the field of alternative energy or energy conservation, either through a for-profit corporation or a not-for-profit organization.

Q. Those two strategies could fit together nicely, supporting both your passion and your finances.

A. Yes, and I only saw that recently in conversation with you. I had once thought that network marketing would provide a sufficient revenue stream to fund the startup of my own business, developing technological innovations to cost effectively improve automobile fuel economy without sacrificing performance. But after a couple of years of network marketing experience, while I have achieved a moderate level of success and associated income, I have not yet been able to earn enough money for me to walk away from my day job.

When you suggested, however, that I could work in the field of my B-HAG, earning a salary, albeit lower than what I now make, I suddenly saw how the two together might be the ticket I have been looking for.

Q. So what’s to stop you from pulling this all together?

A. What stops anyone from stepping out in faith? Too much fear and too little time. The fear, of course, is that it won’t work. That we’ll develop a plan that we’ll never be able to implement. It’s always harder to walk the walk than to talk the talk. But the lack of time gets in the way of everything. My work is so demanding that it leaves precious little time to think about anything else. After working all day, I come home, enjoy some time with my family until the kids are asleep, and then often work overtime hours late into the night. At that point I usually just fall into bed, exhausted, without thinking about or working on my B-HAG.

In other words, to borrow a phrase that you’ve written about from Steven Covey, I have precious little Quadrant II time in my life right now. Quadrant II time is focused on the Important-Not Urgent items. But so much of my life is urgent, the proverbial “squeaky wheel.” The demands are loud and they keep getting louder. If I can’t get myself to spend more time in Quadrant II, I will never get to working on my B-HAG.

Q. With so many external pressures, how could coaching assist you to do better?

A. The same way it always has. When I have a coaching call on my calendar, I leave the office and take the call. When I have assignments growing out of the call, I always somehow manage to make the time to do the assignments. In other words, to have a coach is to make a commitment. And I am serious about my commitments. That’s why I do well at work. And that’s why, with a coach, I do better in other areas as well. Having a coach forces the issue. If you’re not going to do the work, then you shouldn’t have a coach.

Coaching also opens my eyes to new possibilities. I’m not just talking to myself, I’m talking to someone who is not entrapped by the same pressures or inside the same boxes. There’s no way to describe how refreshing it is to talk with someone who is not overwhelmed and who trusts in my ability to figure this out. It makes my goals seem possible and doable.

And, of course, we come up with incremental steps that I can take from week to week. These are not short-term solutions; these are practical, doable steps that I can act upon to make progress towards my long-term vision. That’s what I like so much about coaching. It’s a high-accountability, judgment-free space that propels me into action. When I work with you weekly, I develop a cadence in my life that is positive, productive, and purposeful.

Q. That sounds like a strong recommendation to our readers as to the value of coaching.

A. Absolutely. Establishing a coaching relationship allows you to bring out the things that are inside you already, the things that are really important, the truths that you know to be true that can no longer be ignored. Once you’ve heard yourself explain them to another person, once you’ve written them down and embraced them on the deepest of levels, it becomes almost imperative that you take action upon them.

Coaching makes your values more real, tangible, specific, and important. You find yourself asking the questions, “Why am I not living my values?” “Why am I not acting on the information that I know to be true?” When you play in that sandbox with your coach, it becomes increasingly difficult to find reasons to justify inaction. The tiger team pokes a hole through your defenses until you sit up, take notice, and move on. You eventually become the person you were meant to be.

Coaching Inquiries: How well does your life express your values? Do you feel exhausted and distracted by the demands of life? Would having your own personal “tiger team” assist you to get on track? What’s one action you could take this week that would move your forward in the right direction?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Your last Provision, Coaching as Life Raft Click, was very touching. It tells a good story. It gets the reader involved. It’s a great demonstration of exactly what happens in the coaching relationship. They are all good and useful. This one is an “every person” kind of story because life is really not logical or neat as we would have in in our heads and hopes. That may be why coaching is such a fast growing industry group and why the ICF is one of the fastest growing organizations. Bravo for your work and for your contributions to the profession.


Great Provision article this week, Coaching as a Life Raft. I like that concept. I forwarded it to both of my sisters. I am sure they will relate.


Kudos to Kate for her contributions to the Life Trek Coaching website, articles, and links.


Thank you for all the inspiration dissemination. God bless you.



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #388: Coaching as Life Raft

Laser Provision

Do you ever have a bad attitude about life? Do you ever get depressed and discouraged about the chances of making things better? Do you ever see through the facade and the pretensions to the existential predicament of life? If you resonate with any of these questions, then read on. You’re about to be challenged by the hard-scrabble story of someone who brought all that and more to coaching, with a measure of success in the end.

LifeTrek Provision

Today’s featured client, a mother and owner-operator of a small business together with her husband, has struggled with two interconnected realities for much of her life. On the surface, she has had to contend with an eating disorder. But more profoundly, she has seen for herself what existentialist philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus have long ruminated about • namely, that life is in many ways absurd and irrational.

It doesn’t follow any preordained patterns of meaningfulness. And there’s no necessary connection between effort and results. Like Sisyphus in the ancient myth, we are condemned to the unspeakable penalty of exerting our whole being toward accomplishing nothing that really matters. Why not, then, eat away our sorrows? Food has, for many, become the drug of choice.

“So who knows what I felt,” observes Margaret Bullitt-Jonas in her powerful book on food addiction, Holy Hunger, “who knows what I was really longing for, when as a child I would secretly slip a piece of bread into my pocket after lunch. I certainly can’t recall any inner voice explaining it to me. Who knows what I told myself? I had no idea what it was • a compulsion, a need, a desire, an unspoken something or other • that caused my small hand to dart out, reach for an extra slice of bread, then slip it quietly, unseen , into my pocket. A secret known only to myself, but not even to me.”

“Certainly I was not hungry for food. Perhaps it was human contact that I missed. Perhaps there moved within me a hidden yearning to speak my grief about my sad mother, a desire to express my confusion about my volatile and sometimes frightening father, a longing to share a child’s anger, wonder, sadness, and joy with another human being. But I could find no one to hear me. None of these longings could even be named. I could not have said what it was that I wanted. All I knew was that I was starving.”

Like Bullitt-Jonas, all too many people, including today’s featured client, have tried to fill that void with food. Heart-hunger, mistaken for stomach-hunger, becomes an insatiable and demanding master. We eat until we make ourselves sick, only to do it all over again another day.

Such despair and cynicism would seem to make someone an unlikely candidate for coaching. If coaching is anything, it is about the possibility that we can learn, grow, and change our lives for the better. There is an optimistic edge to coaching that flies in the face of philosophical absurdism. Yet behind every pain is the yearning for relief. And why not try coaching, when everything else has failed? Perhaps you, too, will be moved by the story this client has to tell.

Q. How did you first learn about LifeTrek Coaching?

A. You could say I literally ran into LifeTrek Coaching on October 19, 2002. I signed up for your pace team at the Baltimore Marathon, and it turned out to be one of the more fun pace groups I have experienced. You had people exchange names, you told bad jokes, and you kept people talking throughout the race. Somewhere along the way you mentioned that you were on the Web, at www.LifeTrekCoaching.com, and I remembered that after the race. So I visited your site, got your email address, and sent you a note. That was the start of my relationship with LifeTrek Coaching.

Q. How soon after that did we start coaching and what did you want to work on?

A. I wrote you the day after the race to thank you for a great experience. Baltimore was my first marathon, and it had become a goal that was, for the first time in my life, independent of my weight and everything else in life. It was the goal. And it didn’t matter if I didn’t have a perfect day or week, I still did my training runs. I still stayed on schedule. That introduced me to a whole new concept: you don’t have to be perfect to train. What a novel idea.

But after finishing Baltimore, I wasn’t running as much and one heel started acting up. My newfound training regimen, along with the structure and benefits it provided, was slipping away. So I contacted you again, about two months later, to see if you could help me get back on track. I knew that I needed a boot in the pants, or something, and that just seemed like what a coach would do.

Of course, when I called I had no idea how much we would actually end up working on or how long it would last. Running was like a thread. Once we started pulling that thread, my whole life became unraveled. I thought I just wanted to figure out why my heel hurt and to get back on track with my running. You asked me to go deeper and to think more broadly about my life.

So I quickly identified a set of goals for myself as a person, mother, wife, and small business owner. But I just as quickly dismissed those goals as being a bunch of self-help crap.

In many way, my husband and are two dysfunctional people who started a business because there was no way we could work for anyone else. We needed to do our own thing in order to find our way in the world. Fortunately, our shop has attracted a cadre of apparently similar, dysfunctional people and has been successful enough to pay the bills. It drives us crazy, but it has become our platform and anchor in the world.

All that made me pretty suspicious of coaching as being able to do anything more than to get me running again. I mean, I have been to a wide variety of therapists and programs over the years to deal with my emotional problems. And none of them worked. So why should coaching be any different? Nevertheless, since I had signed up for coaching, and was paying the money, I decided to fill out the forms, work the program, and play along. I was willing to try just about anything in order to get back into my running routine, even looking at the rest of my life.

Q. Did our holistic approach to coaching work for you? Did it make a difference?

A. Well, it didn’t convert me from being a cynical and sarcastic person, into a cheery and optimistic one, if that’s what you mean. That’s just not in me. But it did move me forward far more than I ever expected. I still see plenty of reasons to scream at life, I mean the world in general and my life in particular are both pretty screwed up. But I can now scream with more of a low, guttural tone that relaxes the body instead of the high-pitched whine that tenses the body. And that’s a good thing.

We worked together for about a year. Never, during that whole time, did I feel as though you were imposing a cookie-cutter self-improvement system on my life. Rather, it was more like we were figuring things out together. The whole process was highly personalized, highly individualized, and never “medicalized.” That made a huge difference. You never made me feel sick or ashamed about my problems. You instead treated me as a capable person who could set and reach goals, even in areas that I had been struggling with for years. That was both refreshing and empowering.

So we jumped right in, where angels fear to tread. We dealt with the issue of my working too much and not spending enough time with my daughter or in family activities. We dealt with the disorganization in my home because I don’t have time to fix everything. We dealt with my being tired and burned out at work, where people look to me for leadership. And, of course, we dealt with my life-long, roller-coaster relationship with dysfunctional eating.

It’s as though I am either all on or all off. Either I am exercising, eating right, and doing well or I am not exercising at all and eating huge amounts of junk food. As we talked, my goal for coaching became not only to flip the switch back on but more importantly to get off the roller-coaster, to stop switching back and forth, altogether. We came to focus on developing preventive strategies and taking preemptive action to avoid the triggers that get me to start spiraling out of control in the first place.

Q. That sounds like a daunting task.

A. It is daunting, but in conversation with you I came to believe • for the first time in my life • that it’s not an impossible one. And coming to that conviction, not only for people in general but also for me in particular, is itself an accomplishment. That is not the conviction of a cynical person who views the world as basically irrational. That is the conviction of someone wants to live, and to live well, both for herself and for others.

It would not be going too far to suggest that coaching gave me new reasons to live, new mechanisms to cope, and new hope for the future. And it will probably come as no surprise to your readers to discover that running and training proved to be an integral part of our discovery process. We ended up running two more marathons together in 2003, Pittsburgh, PA and Kiawah Island, SC, and we worked together for that entire year.

Our coaching got me to focus on strategies for environmental modification to support my intentions. I learned long ago that will power is not very powerful. All the will power in the world won’t keep a cocaine addict away from cocaine, at least not forever, if it’s sitting right in front of him. Similarly, I had to learn how to eliminate temptations, distractions, and annoyances from my environment in order to minimize my proclivity to obsessive-compulsive behavior.

We tried a lot of strategies, with some being more successful than others. The discovery process itself, the trial-and-correction experimentation with an external reference point, was important to learn. It became something that I could take with me, to meet future challenges and to solve future problems. But we also made discoveries as to what makes life better for me.

  • I learned the importance of having goals, written down, with due dates. I race to train, not train to race.
  • I learned the importance of having a training schedule, on my calendar. Seeing the schedule gets me going and keeps me going.
  • I learned the importance of having flexibility. Modifying the schedule is not a failure; it’s an adaptation to life.
  • I learned the importance of having backup plans. If I get injured, it throws me off, way off, unless I have Plan B already in hand.
  • I learned the importance of having good help, whether at home or at work. Trying to do everything myself gets me in trouble.
  • I learned the importance of having healthy food around. When I see junk, I eat junk, and there’s no telling where it will stop.
  • I learned the importance of having gratitude. I intentionally enjoy my good days more now than ever before.

Q. Recently, after almost a year off, you contacted us for another month of coaching. What was that about?

A. It was about being out of control, all over again, and needing another shot of coaching to get my bearings. 2004 has been a tough year, most notably because I got pregnant, with twins no less, and then suffered a miscarriage. Right before that I had trained for and successfully completed the EagleMan Half Ironman Triathlon (that’s a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run). I was tired and not feeling great before the event, but I finished and felt good about my time.

Then came the pregnancy and miscarriage ordeal. One died at about 8.5 weeks and then I lost the other one at the beginning of my second trimester. After that, I was having a really, really, really hard time caring about running or much of anything. The switch was flipped off again, and notwithstanding all our preventive coping mechanisms and strategies I wasn’t able to get back on track.

So I figured that talking with you might help me to recover and to regain perspective. It did more than that. You sent me your latest essay about eating, combining the Paleolithic diet literature with the anti-inflammation literature, and it has seemingly revolutionized my life. In the past month, I have not only lost 10 pounds, but I have developed a different relationship to food and eating than ever before.

It revolves around the discovery that “junk food” includes far more foods than I had heretofore realized. Just like last time, when you gave me a marathon training schedule, I have been carefully following your eating program. And I just celebrated the best holiday of my life, with no real cravings and no secret, after-hours binging. By eliminating dairy, flour products, and oil from my diet, I seem to have altered my body chemistry in dramatic and positive ways.

I aim to maintain this program through additional environmental modifications as to the food and cookware in our house as well as to the time I allot for meal preparation. Before this I had hardly cooked at all. In fact, I viewed cooking and handling food as largely disgusting. Now I see it as an opportunity to do something good for myself and for the ones I love. There’s no way to describe what a shift that is after all these years. It’s really incredible.

Q. It sounds like you made a dramatic change in very little time.

A. Yes, and that really isn’t like me. I am a very change-resistant person. And I hate it when people tell me what to do. I can honestly say that your marathon training program and your new eating program are about the only two things in my life that I have just adopted and followed without reservation. Usually, I come up with lots of objections and whatever I learn sneaks in around the edges, through the back door of my consciousness.

Your two programs, however, just made a lot of sense to me. And, of course, having tried the marathon training programs on multiple occasions • reaching my goal of running a sub-4 hour marathon in Cleveland last year • I am now a believer based upon my own experience. The eating program seems to be going the same way. You sent it to me, we talked about it, whereupon I adopted and followed it to spectacular results.

Check back with me in about a year and I’ll let you know how it’s going • hopefully with another child on the way or even in tow. I now recognize that getting pregnant and having another, healthy baby is my goal for 2005. That’s why I’m eating better, losing weight, and exercising more. It’s not to accomplish some endurance contest. It’s just to be healthy.

That is what your coaching represents for me. It is like a life raft that I can hang on to when life is swirling out of control. I no longer need to be talking with you every week. I just need to know it’s there, properly stowed and ready to go, in order to more adequately face the challenges of life. It has provided a stable foundation and is something to look forward to outside of myself, where I can go without being made to feel wrong, bad, or sucked down.

Q. What would you say to our readers who may be thinking about coaching for themselves?

A. No one could be a worse candidate for coaching than me. I have a lot of anger in me, a lot of problems, and a lot of resistance to change. I have a bad attitude when it comes to all things that smack of self-help, self-improvement, and self-development. I basically think that people do the best they can, and that’s about all they do.

But coaching has a way of sneaking up on you and calling you out of your tired old ruts. I can’t explain how it happens. I just know that in the space you create for conversation, great things for happen. If anyone thinks that coaching may work for others, but not for them, then I am living proof that they ought to give coaching a try. If it can work for me, it can work for anyone.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you have a life raft to hold on to when things swirl out of control? Do you have a bad attitude when it comes to making things better? Who would be a safe person with whom you could talk about your problems and challenges, your hopes and dreams? How could you get yourself back on track?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Your recent Provision, Coaching as Spiritual Formation, was outstanding! I’m sharing that around the Parish Life and Leadership office here at the national offices of the United Church of Christ. Thanks!


I just got done reading your interview with that spiritual woman. God Bless her. I am much like here, except that I am also trying to be a business man on the Internet. I really would like to write articles like this last one. I 57 years young and believe I can express to other’s what I have learned on so many subjects. Your writing is a great encouragement to me. Thank You for your time!


I appreciated Erika’s story last week about her new “ionizing” hair dryer. Apparently the placebo effect works for more than just pills!


I was happy to read in Christina’s Pathway that you are pointing out to parents the importance of crucial oils to children’s diets. For those who are concerned about Mercury levels, whose kids won’t eat fish, or who don’t eat meat, there are vegetarian sources such as flax seeds and oil, walnuts, and even veggie-source DHA gel caps. The caps can be swallowed by kids that are old enough or squirted into various foods for younger kids.


Thanks for the great website, the inspiring articles, and for Erika!


Editor’s Note: You may want to look at the long and moving comment that was added to our Blog by a 23-year-old man named Tom, living abroad in the United Kingdom. It’s a Provision in itself!



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #387: Coaching as Spiritual Formation

Laser Provision

When people talk about the business of coaching, they don’t often think of spirituality as a profitable niche. Who would pay for that? Today’s featured client, that’s who. For more than 65 years, she’s been on a spiritual quest. But professional coaching has moved her forward like no other resource. Her story, faith, and self-expression stand as an inspiration to us all.

LifeTrek Provision

I will never forget the day, more than four years ago, when I picked up the phone and the voice on the other end said, “Could you coach me to find God?” Although all coaching touches upon the meaning and measure of life, few clients would identify their goal for coaching in such blatantly spiritual terms. Even fewer would be willing to pay for coaching on such grounds.

This client, however, has been on a spiritual quest for more than six decades, experiencing moments of both great exhilaration and total abandonment along the way. It was only natural, therefore, for her to approach coaching as a spiritual discipline. Especially since she knew of my background and former profession as an ordained minister.

The problem, as she identified it back in the spring of 2000, was that she had reached a plateau where God was neither close at hand nor far away. She was going through the motions without feeling much of anything at all. Could coaching assist her to develop new conceptual frameworks and daily habits that would reinvigorate her spiritual life?

Substitute “passion” for “spiritual life” in that sentence and you come very close to the heart of coaching for every one of our clients. So close, in fact, that we have adopted this as the motto for LifeTrek Coaching: “Celebrate the Best for Exceptional Results.” Only for this client, passion wasthe desired result. The means became the end.

One of the frameworks and resources that we have frequently utilized is the excellent book by L. Robert Keck, Sacred Eyes. The book is written as an invitation to view the entire human journey, and our own individual lives, through sacred eyes instead of cynical eyes. Sacred eyes, Keck writes, “see everything as sacred. Nothing is profane for those who know how to see.”

“Sacred eyes explore the big questions, having to do with the breadth and depth of life: Is there meaning and purpose to the large and long journey of human evolution? Are we going somewhere, or are we just aimlessly wandering around throughout history? Is there something special about this particular time in history? And how do we individually fit into the picture?”

Big questions such as these, and many others, have been the focus for my coaching work with this client. We have been on the lookout for God. Through all the triumphs and tragedies of the past four years, around the world and in her individual life, we have looked for the golden thread that weaves everything together, the pattern that connects all the seemingly disparate realities.

And we have done this not only as an intellectual exercise, talking together on the phone in critical reflection and conversation, but as a daily practice, with my client developing new patterns of behavior to stretch and support her new way of being in the world. My guess is that you too will be surprised and challenged by her story.

Q. How did you first learn about LifeTrek Coaching?

A. I think it was an act of God. I received an e-mail newsletter from a mutual friend who heads up an inner-city ministry in Chicago. I had never received that newsletter before, and I have never received it since. But in that one issue, he mentioned that you had left the pastoral ministry in order to start a professional coaching practice. I read that and thought, “Now perhaps he could help me with my spiritual journey.” I got in touch with you through him, and we have been working together ever since.

Q. When you called, you said that you wanted me to assist you to find God. Can say more about what you were thinking and feeling?

A. I was feeling stale in my spiritual life. Spiritual practices have always been important to me, but when I called I had let things slide. And I was feeling overwhelmed by a number of problems, both personal and around the world. How does one grow spiritually through difficult times? That was on my mind then and has remained an important part of our coaching work.

You immediately made the connection for me between my physical activities and my spiritual life, between my body and soul. Of course, I knew that connection was there. But our work together made it so very real. There was no way to just think about things in order to be revitalized. I had to do things, with my body, in order to experience the breakthroughs I was looking for.

For example, you assisted me to shift the way I went on walks. I had always thought of walks in terms of physical exercise. Thirty minutes a day for health, is what they recommend. You got me to start walking with a larger agenda. I went out looking and listening for signs of God’s presence in the natural world. We called it, “walking with my eyes wide open.” That made a real difference.

I also started to write affirmations, poetry, and reflection pieces in a daily journal. By writing these things out, by using my hand to create words on the page, I became more spiritually minded. Journal writing helped me to see God in unexpected places. Instead of looking exclusively for God at church, or in other traditional places, we started to turn over new stones in the river of life. We made the old adage about God “being everywhere” a reality.

Q. So how did things evolve through the coaching process?

A. Well, it’s not like one can ever be done with this project. “Finding God” is not like finding a lost coin, that you can then put away for safe keeping. Finding God is an ongoing discovery process that continues up to and hopefully through the experience of death itself. So I would say my goal is still the same, although we have done many different things in the past few years to make that goal come alive.

We have certainly worked a lot on my morning and evening rituals. You helped me to see the importance of those critical times. Early on you shared with me David Whyte’s poem, “What To Remember When Waking” Click, and that had a big impact on me. I came to bracket my day with habits, rituals, and activities that could assist me to “remember the other world in this world,” as David writes, and to discern “the urgency that calls me to my one love.”

We came up with things that I would have never come up with on my own. For example, I had always thought of spiritual practices as quiet practices, sitting still while reading, writing, breathing, or praying. You encouraged me to get up and moving in my quest for God.

One habit that we developed, for example, was to associate different rooms of my house with different spiritual activities. Similar to the stations of the cross on Good Friday, where pilgrims recreate the final journey of Jesus to Calvary, stopping to remember his suffering along the way, we created a journey that begins at one end of my house and ends in my bedroom.

In each room I engage in a different activity. In one room, I read the Bible. In another, I do breath work. In others, I write in my journal, stretch, say a mantra, or look for an object that is “winking at me” with spiritual significance. By the time I get to my bedroom, I’m relaxed enough to kneel down, say the Lord’s Prayer, and go to sleep.

One of the most interesting rooms on my pilgrimage, which is definitely not quiet, is the utility room. I go in there because I can close the door and not bother my husband with my shouting prayers. This station on my nightly journey through the house emerged out of our discussion of the Lord’s Prayer, which was apparently written in the imperative voice. In other words, it was meant to be prayed with authority. It was meant to be shouted, not mumbled.

The idea that we could shout our praises and petitions to God has been enormously helpful to me. During our time together, I have suffered a lot of health problems and personal setbacks. When I came down with leukemia, I had lots to shout about! But my old understanding of God was too polite, genteel, and quiet for that. Our coaching conversations opened me to the possibility that God was big enough to handle whatever I was thinking and feeling.

So I go into the utility room and shout my prayers to God. If anyone saw me, they would think I was crazy. But the practice has assisted me to grow spiritually and to better handle the events of the day, come what may. It is the most dynamic part of my evening ritual.

Q. How has the experience of coaching impacted you?

A. In addition to broadening my perspective as to who God is and how God works the world, coaching has made me more thankful for the gift of life itself. I no longer think of success just in terms of problem-free living. I think in terms of wonder-full living. Whether an experience is positive or negative, I can now fill the space with wonder over the mysterious ways of God.

We have talked a lot about how life is perfectly designed for our own growth and evolution. That’s hard for me to accept when my health or my marriage is failing. How could such difficult things be a part of my spiritual growth? If God was with me, then wouldn’t I have an abundance of health, money, and love?

That was how I thought about things before I started to see the world through sacred eyes. Sacred eyes help me to see every moment as an opportunity for experiencing God. Even my leukemia has been a blessing, since it has given me an appreciation for the suffering of Christ on the cross. I don’t always claim every experience as a gift, but I do so more often now than before.

Another impact of coaching has been the discovery of new authors and resources for spiritual growth. You are incredibly well read, and have been more than happy to share your discoveries with me. Like Eugene Peterson’s version of the Bible, called The Message. I had never really enjoyed Bible reading until you introduced me to Peterson’s work. Now I enjoy it thoroughly, and frequently bring questions that arise from my reading into our coaching sessions. It’s great to have a coach who can explain the things I don’t understand.

Q. How else has coaching moved you forward?

A. First and foremost, it has assisted me to be bold in my spiritual journey. I am no longer timid about the fact that I am on this quest. What other people think is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is my own integrity in the process. So I have enjoyed getting to know myself better and expressing myself more freely.

One way this has come out is through poetry writing. Although I had written some poetry many, many years ago, I had abandoned the process until you pointed out how poetry is a channel for spiritual expression and development. And I was certainly inspired by your own poetry Click. So I signed up for and took a poetry class at a local community college.

I wrote several poems that speak to the need for a spiritual connection, such as one I titled “Compline.”

Spacious windows
Night slithering black vespers
Silence envelops us
Meditate
Meditate
Embracing a Higher Power
Flames uniting us into one
Stirrings as embers in a fire
Rejoice
Rejoice
Connection made

It will probably be hard for your readers to grasp how powerful it has been to rediscover my poetic voice. I am a woman in her sixties who has suffered through treatment for two different cancers, whose marriage to an older man is often a struggle, and who at one point even tried to commit suicide. I had no reason to think that there was any life left in me. But our work together, along with my daily exercises, have rekindled the spark of the spirit.

Another way that has come out is through my involvement with the homeless. My spiritual journey is not just about my own private enlightenment. It is about my connection to God, and through God to the whole world • especially with those who suffer. When I volunteer in solidarity with the homeless, it’s not hard to have sacred eyes.

Q. So are you saying that you have finally found God?

A. I am saying that God finally found me. God has been described as the Ground of Being, in which we are created, live, and die. So God was there all along; I just had to show my face and open my eyes in order to see the light. That’s what our coaching work has been all about. Opening me to the possibility of love and forming me with its practices.

Q. What recommendations do you have for others who are considering working with a coach?

A. We are all on a spiritual journey, whether know it or not. And coaching can be a great resource along the way. The name for your newsletter, LifeTrek Provisions, speaks volumes. There’s no way to successfully go on a long journey without taking provisions. Your newsletter is one such provision, but coaching takes that to an entirely different level.

It’s the difference between going on a wilderness excursion with a map and a guide. When all you have is a map, your weekly Provision, you may get lost and you may fail to bring along what you need. When you go with a guide, your personal Coach, you can be confident that you will stay on course and that you will be well equipped for the journey. Everyone does better with a guide.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you on a spiritual journey? Who is your spiritual guide? What daily practices would assist you to become more mindful of the meaning and purpose to life? How could you start looking at life, all of life, through sacred eyes?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I greatly enjoyed reading last week’s interview with the housewife mother. She and I, perhaps, have quite a bit in common. I also home-school my children, but, more importantly, I have TONS of dandelions (which my kids looove • they think it is magic how they come up all over, seemingly overnight AND that they are beautiful AND you can eat them).

Please pass along to your client that there are those of us who would be thrilled to have someone live next door that is not poisoning our drinking water and doesn’t mind the dandelions.

Funny thing too’the neighbors on both sides of me have fancy lawns. For years, I have seen them chatting and shaking their heads at our dandelions • one even gave me the card of his lawn guy. All other things being equal (and they are not, of course), I’d rather not drive all of my neighbors crazy, which I assumed I was doing.

I just recently found out that we have started a revolution of sorts. Several of my “across the street” neighbors quit putting chemicals on their lawns because they felt that it would be okay • inspired by my lawn. So, who knows what she’s started. I do enjoy your newsletters. This one in particular made me smile.


One thing I’ve done to reduce, but not eliminate, my oil consumption is that I put olive oil in a pump spray container. It sprays a very, very fine mist of oil, in fact it is slow and minimal enough to aggravate me. But it does decrease greatly the amount of oil I use.


Will the old method of sending provisions still be used? It appears that the web link version misses the Career Pathways entry? (Ed. Note: Both versions are still being sent out, each week, in order to catch as many subscribers as possible. Last week, as well as this week, Kate did not write a Career Pathway. Look for her to be back in print next week.)



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #386: Coaching as Healthy Relationship

Laser Provision

Coaching isn’t just for executives anymore. Today’s featured client, a suburban housewife and homemaker, has worked with a LifeTrek coach for more than four years to carve out a different way of being in the world. Through good times and bad, including the tragic murder of her father, this client has found coaching to be a relationship that assists her to get where she wants to go.

LifeTrek Provision

In 1963, Pete Seeger made a hit recording in Carnegie Hall of Malvina Reynolds’ popular song, “Little Boxes.” Legend has it that Reynolds was inspired to write the song in 1961, while driving to an engagement in Palo Alto. Looking up to a pastel-colored Daly City hillside, she reportedly said to her husband, “Bud, take the wheel. I feel a song coming on.” And this is what came forth:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf-course,
And drink their Martini dry,
And they all have pretty children,
And the children go to school.
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
And they all get put in boxes
And they all come out the same.

And the boys go into business,
And marry, and raise a family,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

Today’s featured client, a suburban housewife and homemaker, knows exactly what Reynolds was feeling back in 1961. More than 40 years later, it’s not much different in suburban America. The conformity pressures are still just as real, and, if anything, they start even earlier in life.

How does one find and follow a different way, marching to the beat of a “different drummer,” without completely leaving that environment? Is it possible to be “in that world without being of that world”? What does “the road less traveled” look like for someone with two kids, a husband, and all the trappings of everyday life?

These are the kinds of questions that I have entertained for the past four years with today’s featured client. What started out as a journey into health and wellness has covered many other bases, including parenting, home schooling, community leadership, money management, information technology, relationship building, grief relief, spiritual growth, and alternative living.

When you look at that long and yet partial list of coaching projects, it’s easy to see why this client has come to view coaching as a permanent lifestyle enhancement rather than as a temporary therapeutic intervention. She doesn’t use coaching to achieve just one particular goal or to deal with a few isolated challenges; rather, she uses coaching to engage with and bolster all of life.

The image that came to mind was coaching as an incredibly safe and healthy relationship. It is based upon unconditional love, with no strings attached. There’s no way to hurt your coach, no matter what you say or do. That’s because the present perfect is the tense of coaching. You can stay in the relationship or walk away, you can do your very best or not, with reckless abandon. Your coach will stay with you through it all.

Q. How and when did you first learn about LifeTrek Coaching?

A. In September of 2000, I was working part time as the administrative assistant for a massage therapist when you walked in the door. Visiting with you, before your appointment, was my first exposure to coaching. I knew immediately the coach approach was right for my own personal development.

So we arranged a three-way barter: you coached me in exchange for a free massage which I “paid for” through my bartered work as an administrative assistant. I might not have gotten started, at least not at that point, if I had to pay cash.

Q. Do you remember what you wanted to work on, at the outset?

A. The same stuff I’m working on right now: life! I remember being inspired by your love of marathon running and your healthy lifestyle. I thought that working with you would assist me to lose weight, get in shape, and even run a marathon. That entire package has not happened yet, but the dream is still alive. And I’m absolutely certain that I would not have made the progress I have made without our coaching relationship.

I was also in the process of changing from a traditional suburban mom into an alternative cosmic visionary. I no longer fit in with the “SUV soccer-mom” crowd. My values were changing and I was becoming different. But the transformation was not easy and it is certainly not over. To get out of those “little boxes,” that you mentioned in the song, is a challenging and ongoing process.

So I wanted support and assistance here as well. I knew that I didn’t want to drop out of society, leave my home, and go live in the woods. But I did want to leave behind the interests, attitudes, values, and people who were bringing me down and harming our world.

It was incredibly challenging, for example, to pull the kids out of school, in order to start home schooling, and to leave the church. I had been so active in both of those institutions. I remember meeting with my pastor and getting the clear the message that I was sliding down a slippery slope that could land me in the fires of hell.

All that happened about a year before we started our work together. By the time I met you, I had suffered plenty of indignities • like friends who no longer allowed their children to play with my children. So I was in need of a spiritual friend who could assist me to navigate the waters of my transition; with your background as a minister and your training as a coach, you were the perfect partner for the journey.

Q. In what ways did your goals evolve through the coaching process?

A. Once I crossed the line of questioning those “little boxes,” once I started thinking outside the box, there was no going back. But I also didn’t know how to go forward. I mean dishes still needed to be washed and bills still needed to be paid. So how do you deal with the real world without giving up on your ideals? That has been an ongoing part of our coaching conversations.

One way to describe the evolution is to say we followed the path, from one thing to the next. You have been so willing and able to work with whatever I brought to the call that I have never felt pressured and yet always felt challenged by our conversations. We have covered so many topics, over such a long a period of time, that I would say my goals have evolved to include all of life.

That was certainly evident when my father was brutally murdered at work less than a year ago. We, of course, could not have anticipated that when we started our work together. But as my coach, you became available as a resource for the grief work that followed in the wake of such a tragedy.

Q. How has the experience of coaching impacted you?

A. You have assisted me with everything from getting organized to balancing my checkbook to communicating with my husband to trying new recipes. The list just goes on and on.

Last year I attended one of your Trek for Life weekends. That’s where I met your wife, Megan, who connected me to an incredible home-schooling resource that has literally changed the life of my youngest son. He can read now thanks to Megan and her friend Peggy. That’s huge. There have even been times when I’ve talked with Megan on the phone, so it’s almost like I get two coaches for the price of one.

Q. What shifts have you experienced because of coaching?

A. I feel more confident and assured about living how I want to live. I know that my values are the right values for me, so I spend less time defending myself and more time expressing myself. That has, perhaps, been the biggest shift • becoming comfortable with who I am and how I want to be in the world. I know what I stand for and I am discovering how I want to share myself with others.

Take the death penalty, which I am definitely opposed to. So many people, including other family members and the police, want to seek the death penalty for my dad’s killer. The police have been quick to point out that that is out of my hands; the system will determine what happens. But you have assisted me to speak my truth, even when I don’t have control over the outcome.

Q. What are the behavioral changes you have experienced?

A. The entire process of coaching can be summarized in two steps: getting clear about my values and living my values. This side of the grave, it’s a never-ending journey. So now we don’t use a chemical grass company any more, even though the neighbors complain that we have too many dandelions. And we don’t shop at Wal*Mart, because of their employment practices. There are many such examples of how our work together has led to different choices and behaviors.

One thing that has changed is that I carry my body differently. I used to walk around with my shoulders hunched up to my ears. I think I was trying to hide. Coaching has helped me to find the freedom to be myself, not worrying about what others think. As a result, my entire body has relaxed into a new way of being. You can literally see the change.

I also walk more and shop differently at the grocery store. I’m still not where I want to be with my exercise and nutrition, but I am better than I was and I know I will get there. There’s a marathon in my future, of that I am certain.

Q. How were you stretched by the process of coaching?

A. One of the most interesting, and at times frustrating, things about the coaching process is that you often know stuff about me before I know it myself. But you don’t just come out and say it, rushing in before its time. You allow me to discover and figure things out for myself, then you introduce the clarification and validation that makes everything come together.

I know sometimes that is very frustrating. I want you to just tell me the answers. But deep down I know that unless I figure things out for myself, the learning won’t stick. So the process of coaching has stretched me by making me do the work of personal growth and development. You never let me off the hook.

You also challenge me to try things before I am ready to make a full commitment. “Life as experiment,” is your motto. Through our conversations, we come up with things for me to play with on the way to developing new attitudes and habits. This “taste and see” approach has been very liberating and helpful, even through difficult things like the whole ordeal with my dad.

Q. What recommendations do you have for others who are considering working with a coach?

A. Coaching is just an incredibly healthy relationship. It doesn’t have the baggage that other relationships have. There’s nothing that the coach needs you for, so it’s a relationship of total freedom.

Paradoxically, it’s in the context of such freedom that you end up being most challenged. There’s no “should-a, would-a, could-a” push; there’s only the pull to be the best you can possibly be. And coaching really does call that forth.

If you want to grow as a human being, if you are really intent upon doing something, then coaching can be an incredible tool. It is a gift to yourself, as well as to your family and friends. You owe it to yourself, and to those who know you, to give coaching a try in order to see the difference it makes.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you organize your life around your interests, attitudes, and values? Do you want to start thinking outside the box? Do you have healthy relationships which give you the freedom to be your best self? How could you make the world a better place to be?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Each week I am now receiving your Online Notification in addition to my regular issue of Provisions. Why? (Ed. Note: Some people cannot receive the HTML-formatted version of our regular newsletter. So we are sending out the second, plain-text notice to catch as many people as possible. Thanks for asking and we ask for your patience and understanding with this second email.) 


Last week’s issue of Provision, Coaching as Guiding Light Click, was particularly good. Thanks for all the insight it provides into the process and outcomes of coaching.


I am a technical engineer working under a company and right now I am trying to be on my own. What do I do to be the best, to make life okay, and to be very rich in what ever I lay my hands on? This is my first problem. (Ed. Note: Through faith, networking, and service, all things are possible. Thanks for writing.)


Thanks for the effort you put into your Provisions each week. I look forward to receiving more challenging issues from you.



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Celebrate the Best for Exceptional Results

Laser Provision

This week we feature the story of a current LifeTrek client, a minister, who is one year into his role in a growing church. As a result of his experience with coaching, this minister has developed as an administrative and spiritual leader at the same time as he has embraced new roles in his life • that of intentional husband, father and caretaker of self.

LifeTrek Provision

Before we end this series of client interviews, we are going to feature a few more clients who represent other professions and stations in life worked with by LifeTrek coaches. Partly because of Bob’s background as an ordained minister, which he practiced for more than 20 years before starting LifeTrek Coaching in 1998, and partly because of the core values of our coaching team, LifeTrek has always attracted and worked with ministers from a wide variety of denominations and faiths.

Of course, another reason that we have so often worked with ministers may be that they work in an especially stressful and challenging profession. They are often buffeted about by the same culture wars and conflicts that have been playing themselves out in the recent US Presidential election. They are also accountable to every church member, each of whom may have a different idea as to their job description and performance.

In addition, the special demands of confidentiality brought on by their profession can make them extraordinarily lonesome, even though they may be surrounded by scores of people and busy with a “higher calling.” Ministers often lack a network outside of their church or the resources in which to confide, reflect, and grow. In fact, a Canadian study found that pastors are less likely to have a close friend than any other person in the community.

Because of these stresses, it’s easy for ministers to lose sight of who they are outside of being the pastor. Strongly goal-oriented ministers, like today’s client, will almost inevitably experience even more frustration than process-oriented ones and be in danger of intense frustration, anxiety and depression.

What then are the strategies for ministers to manage their stress and reclaim their “self?” Rick Warren, pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, suggests seven steps that closely mirror the learning that grows out of the coaching process.

1. Identification. Know who you are. If you are unsure of your identity, you find yourself being molded by the expectations of everyone around you. And, trying to live as someone you’re not results in stress. Through coaching we identify individual values and personal purpose in this stage.

2. Dedication. Know whom you want to please. The coaching process often includes identification of life roles, as well as intentions and truths for each of those roles. As part of this stage, clients are encouraged to intentionally reserve time for “self.”

3. Organization. Set clear goals. Include goals about you and your family, not just career and church related goals. Be intentional in your actions. A coach assists clients to figure out when they are working from pressures instead of from visions and desires for their whole life and being.

4. Concentration. Take time to enjoy the process. Concentrate on what is, not on what should have been or could be. A coach will encourage you to be present, to create, and to find inspiration in each day.

5. Delegation. Identify your network and support systems. Jesus, for example, recruited 12 disciples. Coaches challenge you to create a team and call upon them for support, accountability and the sharing of responsibilities.

6. Meditation. Make taking time for reflection and stillness a habit, no matter what. Recreate yourself through quiet time for asking and for listening. With a coach, you’ll identify compelling and creative ways to “tune out” and “tune in.”

7. Relaxation. Schedule time to relax, to laugh, and to play. Schedule time to have nothing scheduled. When you reclaim self, family and friends as priorities, this becomes a non-negotiable.

These seven steps come through in the experience and reflections of today’s featured client, a minister who has been faithfully and intentionally participating in the coaching journey and, through it, has rediscovered who he is designed to be.

Q. When you contacted LifeTrek Coaching, what was your original goal?

A. To have the best year of ministry ever for my 1st year of employment at a new church. I wanted to set precedence for excellence. I was entirely ministry-focused • I thought I was hiring a career coach. I wanted to be very clear about how to accomplish all of my goals. And, I thought I had a good handle on the goals. I asked about the results I would achieve from hiring a coach and I remember you telling me that I would be able to make value-based decisions and have a crystal clear picture of where I was going.

Q. In what ways did your goals evolve through the coaching process?

A. I started with four goals that were all ministry-related. They were 6-month goals. Now, I have double that number of goals, and most are life goals • only two are ministry-related. That’s the victory, the win. If you had told me this would be the outcome when we first spoke, I probably wouldn’t have hired you.

Q. What was the impact that coaching had on your life?

A. Coaching has changed my life completely. I am a more developed person than I was a year ago. I am improving in every area, not just in ministry. I am not only having the best year of ministry, but the best year of my life as well. I am more intentional, and that ranks really high for me. This has transformed me. It’s like I’ve changed from being a soloist into being an ensemble. I feel full.

Q. What shifts have you experienced because of coaching?

A. I’ve always said that success in one area is dependent upon the success of all the other areas, but I didn’t live like that. I would have preached marriage first, but what I truly believed was that I should put church first. I would drop my family to attend to a church issue.

Now I spend more time with my family than ever before, and I am more fruitful in ministry than before. I used to have a tendency to step on myself to get to others. In caring for others, I don’t always care for myself. I put myself last on the list, if I make the list at all. I’m beginning to feel more like that doesn’t provide a good foundation to help others. I’m still growing in this area.

Q. What are the behavioral changes you have experienced?

A. I journal 4-5 times a week. I keep an intuition journal by drawing (something that I never would have imagined on my own). The intuition journal gives me closure each day and it validates my feelings • something I haven’t been concerned about previously. I’m all about validating others’ feelings, but when it came to my own feelings I’ve always been uncomfortable.

I also keep a written journal. It is not a diary; it’s where I record passions, observations, and prayers. It’s an ongoing “State of Me Address.” I can look through its pages and see how I’m living out my life. Once a week I read through the previous pages so I can live a reflective and intentional life.

At church, I am learning to focus less on the programs and more on the people. My previous ministry was program-driven and in my new church that approach immediately flopped. For example, when I recently kicked off a small-groups initiative, I took your advice on some changes. Normally, I would have led the event from the platform. But instead of being the guy up front, I became the guy standing next to you. I made sure I listened to what people had to say.

There have been significant changes at home as well. For nine years my wife and I have had the goal of having a regular spiritual development time. Now we actually have it. That is big. Before coaching, I didn’t consider goals outside of the church to be important (my poor wife!). I think more about my wife, my children and my friends now. They tell me I am more thoughtful.

I also give myself more time, with hobbies and taking time to read books. I read a non-church related book for the first time in four years! I’ve changed the way I relate to my son, who is three years old. When he becomes upset, instead of focusing on the outburst itself, now we talk about how he feels with the help of Feeling Cards (Click). For the first time, it changed the way we communicate and it shifted how I approach him.

Q. How were you stretched by the process of coaching?

A. More than anything it has stretched me emotionally. I am not comfortable with my own emotions. The walls come up as soon as the emotions do.

You don’t let me get away with writing myself off or pushing myself to the side. You are quick to pick up on times when I shut the door on myself emotionally. You question why I’m shutting that door and push me until I open it again. If I say, “I don’t know” as an answer to an emotional question, you say, “Well, we’ve got time.” Or, you’ll say, “Let’s get back to it later,” and then you actually do. It makes me uncomfortable, but that is good.

Q. In what ways could coaching have assisted you more?

A. After ten months of coaching, I feel as though I am just now seeing the true benefits. It’s taken me ten months to start to think about things in terms of my values. I’m resistant and slow to change, especially with attitudinal changes. Behavior changes always come easily, but the interior changes come more slowly.

If you had pushed me harder or faster, I would have resisted. I would have just told you what you wanted to hear so that you would stop pushing. The visualization that we did together in the first call piqued my interest and made me uncomfortable. It was the first time I had cried in a long time. I thought to myself, “If she can take me this far so early in the relationship, where will I be in the next six months?”

Q. What recommendations do you have for others who are considering working with a coach?

A. I can’t imagine anyone, in any position, that wouldn’t benefit from having their life values more clearly defined so they can live more intentionally. I think every person can grow. Bring 100% honesty to a coaching relationship. As people, we are used to lying to ourselves; used to painting a picture that makes things look better than they truly are. That is sad.

Coaching, like the North Star, is the guiding light that provides a reference point from which to live a successful life in every area. Success is growing, improving, and meeting goals based on who I am designed to be. I’m doing that more than I’ve ever done in my life. I’m living as the person I’m supposed to be. It’s really peaceful.

Coaching Questions: What is your guiding light? Who were you designed to be? In what ways are you living intentionally?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I thought you would enjoy this story, titled “Four Seasons of a Tree” (author unknown).

Don’t judge a life by one difficult season. There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. 

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. 

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no • it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment. 

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree’s life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are • and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life • can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up. 

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall. Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. 


I’ve been reading many of the LifeTrek Pathways on my Palm over the last few months and I’ve really enjoyed them. Going to your Web site, I decided to contact you for coaching when I read the following words:

“If there’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be; if you’re starting to run out of gas on the journey of life; if you’re overwhelmed with everything on your plate; if you’ve lost that youthful zeal and ambition for your career; if you’re tired of the same-old-same-old and want to set out in new directions, then contact LifeTrek Coaching International. We can outfit you with the provisions you need for a successful journey.” Those words really rang true for me. I look forward to your call.


I have been reading your newsletter for several months and think it’s great. I respect the work you are doing and have really developed an appreciation for the concept of coaching. Let me know if there are some low-cost options for coaching, perhaps something similar to your wellness offer, that I could take advantage of here in Geneva, Switzerland.


Thank you for the information on nose breathing. I have been working out for many years. I am 46 years of age. I have been told by many people that I can pass for being in my twenties. While on the treadmill or doing any cardio I can go at a very rapid pace for at least 30 minutes breathing through my nose, to many on lookers’ amazement. Until reading your Wellness Pathway, Use Your Nose Click, I never knew the technical benefits of doing that, it just made good sense to me. My recovery time is almost immediate after I stop. So thanks again for the information.


I really look forward to reading LifeTrek Provisions each week. Today, I had just read and contemplated the “peace pond” story in Career Paths and, before scrolling further, fixed a cup of green tea to sip while I finished the newsletter. The next piece was on green tea. I love synchronicity! Thanks. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953
Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #384: Coaching as 3-D Glasses

Laser Provision

To move forward in life, sometimes we need to see things from a different point of view. Like putting on special glasses to watch a 3-D movie, coaching can bring things into focus and make things jump out at you in fresh and surprising ways. Today’s featured client tells the story of how she put on those glasses and keeps looking through them today.

LifeTrek Provision


The best reply to that age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is, “Yes.” Sometimes we act ourselves into a new way of thinking; other times we think ourselves into a new way of acting. And the process of coaching usually gets people to experience a little of both.

There’s no doubt that the habits we develop, the words we speak, the thoughts in our mind, and the feelings in our heart influence the direction of our lives. Habits, words, thoughts, and feelings are the stuff of coaching. Through conversation and a way of being, we assist our clients to discover new perspectives and to move in new directions.

Today’s featured client, a Senior Project Analyst for a major US corporation, shares the significance and the process of shifting her frame of mind • the way she was thinking and feeling about life issues in both her personal and professional life. By shifting perspective, by putting on a new pair of glasses, this client was able to make her life much, much better.

Q: How did you learn about LifeTrek Coaching?

A: My best friend, who was working with you herself at the time, introduced me to you in the fall of 2001. You were completing your Certified Professional Co-active Coach training, through The Coaches Training Institute, and you were looking for a practice client to complete a class assignment. So I agreed to one, 45-minute practice session. After that one session, I hired you as my coach.

Q: When you contacted us for coaching, what did you want to work on?

A: I actually was not looking for a coach when I agreed to that practice session. I thought I was just helping you out. But immediately following our first session together, I recognized that working with a coach was exactly what I needed.

I wanted to work on making the best out of a career that I didn’t want to be in, including improving my ability to deal with my management team. I also wanted to improve my health and fitness, and to gain independence from my coupled friends.

We ended up working together every week for about 18 months. Since then, we’ve continued to work together sporadically, off and on, when I wanted to focus on another area of my life. Our coaching relationship has been very significant for me.

Q: How did your objectives evolve or change over time?

My objectives and the focus of our coaching evolved as situations in my life arose and changed. For a while, staying motivated in the area of health and fitness was the focus of our work together. Additionally we focused on my career, which motivated me to get back to something I love: my passion for writing.

We also focused on the personal, work, and romantic relationships in my life. We worked a lot on “in the moment” stuff while staying focused on building fulfillment and balance across my whole life. We always had an “anything goes” conversation each week.

Q: How has the experience of coaching impacted you?

A: Our work together resulted in so many “light bulb” moments, especially in between calls. I learned to step outside of myself and look at the big picture of my life: my dreams, passions, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do in life. The process challenged me to step back and to let the answers I was searching for simply come to me.

It also enabled me to be more open to considering another’s points of view. I became less judgmental all the way around, and much less quick to assume that someone was “personally attacking me” with their words or actions. I learned to put myself in the other’s shoes, which made an incredible impact on my life.

Q: What were the large or small shifts (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) that you made because of coaching?

One of the largest mental and emotional shifts I made was that I learned to be more gentle with myself. I used to be so tough on myself and hold stuff against myself. Coaching assisted me to let go of this, to be more kind and forgiving with myself. 

Another shift was that I stopped taking stuff so personally. For example, when a friend would make a comment I would dwell on it, even if they meant me no harm. Because of the coaching, I can now laugh with my friends more and take things more lightheartedly. 

I have a much more positive way of looking at the world and a much more positive self image. I am also much more aware of my gremlin (the inner voice of my negative critique). I’ve learned to be more forgiving of myself, even when I choose my gremlin’s option. Overall, the many shifts I made got me out of a negative funk. 

Another important shift helped me to work through conflict in close relationships. By making some mental and emotional changes, I developed a more productive way to talk to my best friend. And I certainly learned to take criticism constructively, as a learning experience, in order to prepare myself to act differently the next time.

Q: What behavioral changes did you make through coaching that you are still practicing today?

A: Well, in addition to the things I’ve already mentioned with regard to my mental and emotional shifts:

  • I started writing again and working toward getting articles and even a book published!
  • I’ve become considerably more outgoing and I’m no longer afraid to be alone (going out by myself) in social settings.
  • I stopped smoking for a long time and today my smoking has been reduced to where I have only an occasional cigarette.
  • I’m far better at dealing with frustrating situations and interacting with people who frustrate me, especially in my workplace.
  • I’m not as hard on myself.
  • I now workout regularly and I’m much more conscious of my eating habits, living a much healthier lifestyle.
  • I’m aware of my inner gremlin and I consciously choose the perspectives from which I live and function.

Q: Did coaching push you beyond your comfort zone? How were you stretched?

A: Coaching certainly did push me beyond my comfort zone. There were a few times when I got into a negative vicious cycle that was very difficult for me to come out of. The coaching prompted me to work very hard to break these cycles.

The most difficult work I did through my coaching involved shifting my perspectives about so many things (about my health, my relationships, my career, and my future), but this perspective work brought so many rewards to my life.

Additionally, coaching stretched my listening skills and my openness to other perspectives. I had to stop and say “I’m frustrated,” then let it go so that I could “try on” another more powerful perspective. This required that I physically, mentally, and emotionally “leave the perspective” I was currently in. As I tried on other frames of mind, I found perspectives that were more satisfying, powerful, freeing, and fulfilling.

Q: What would you say to others who are contemplating working with a coach?

A: Coaching is not therapy. It is also not complaining about your day and having someone feel sorry for you. Coaching is taking an emotional, analytical, logical, and hard look at your life so you can move toward the improvement that you want to make in your life.

Coaching allows you to work on something that you desire, to try new strategies in a positive and motivating way. Coaching is where you sit back and discuss goals, obstacles, and how to get where you want to go and who you want to be in life.

If you’re not sure where you want to go, you’ll figure it out with a coach. Coaching is a lot of hard work on self, but you will come up with the answers. The coach does not give the answers but guides you to uncovering your own powerful thoughts and feelings. Coaching helps you find the answers you need to live the life you want.

Coaching inquiries: Where in your life are the glasses that could shift your perspective and change your life? Where could you use a little nudge? What frustrations are you ready to release?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I have enjoyed so far glancing over your site on my PDA. I have subscribed to your e-mail version and look forward to learning a great deal. I saw your recommended reading list and I’d recommend three books that have impacted my life: His Needs, Her Needs & Love Busters by Willard F. Harley Jr. as well as The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. Hope you enjoy them! (Ed. Note: I have looked at Maxwell’s book and agree that it is good. We will add them to our site. Thanks for the recommendation.)


I recently visited your Website and was very impressed with your video message Click. Great content and technology!


I have been having trouble viewing some of your pages using the Mozilla Firefox and Opera web browsers. I don’t like Internet Explorer because it is just too much of a security risk. Could you fix the problem? (Ed. Note: Thanks for the heads up. The problem is now fixed.)


Please congratulate Megan on her new book! Click I look forward to reading it!



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #383: Coaching as HR On Call

Laser Provision

Not every situation can be handled from within. Sometimes, it helps to have a trusted, outside resource who can listen and bring new perspectives to the table. Today we interview a Vice President of Human Resources who has used LifeTrek Coaching in a wide variety of ways for almost four years. Having this resource on call has made his job just a little easier and more successful.

LifeTrek Provision

Last week I interviewed the principals of an engineering firm who arranged to offer LifeTrek Coaching to the top 30 people in the company, with the company paying 75% of the cost of coaching and the employee paying 25%. About one third of the eligible executives, directors, and managers took advantage of the opportunity, for about four months during the third and fourth quarters of 2001.

Today I interview another corporate client, the Vice-President of Human Resources for a mid-sized manufacturing company, who has used LifeTrek Coaching in a more targeted way over a period of several years. The relationship has been mutually satisfying.

By working with a number of executives and directors over an extended period of time, LifeTrek has become something of a staff coach • a trusted and capable external resource. When a situation develops that requires an outside perspective, LifeTrek Coaching is brought in not as a last resort (“We’re in trouble now!”) but as a welcome partner (“We’re in good hands.”). The established relationship has meant that each coaching intervention progresses more quickly.

When has LifeTrek been called in for coaching? There are five scenarios:

  1. Organizational Restructuring. LifeTrek Coaching was originally used by the leadership team as an integration resource during a merger and acquisition process.
  2. High-Potential Associates. We were then brought in as a training and development resource for executive succession planning.
  3. Team Building & Conflict Resolution. That led to individual coaching and team building with the finance and information technology groups.
  4. At-Risk Associates. Later, we were retained to work through the dynamics with an executive who was perceived to have an attitude and behavior problem.
  5. Career-Track Associates. Finally, we assisted a disgruntled director to explore options and make decisions regarding his future with the company.

All five of these scenarios, paid for at company expense, are so common in the business world as to form a case for the HR Department of every company to develop an adjunct coaching resource to serve as their own, “HR On Call.”

Q: So how and when did LifeTrek Coaching get involved with your company?

A: You were recommended to us in early 2001 as a resource for our leadership team during the acquisition of another company. The acquisition process was a very challenging one for us, because in ordinary times we just went about our business. Everyone knew their jobs, what to do, and what to expect of each other. Our work did not require a lot meetings, communication, or even deadlines.

As part of the acquisition process, however, all that became essential. We suddenly had to work together like never before. We had to keep track of things that neither we, nor our administrative assistants, were used to tracking. There was a tremendous sense that we had to do this right or the entire company could go down the tubes.

LifeTrek Coaching was brought in as a facilitator for this process. There were points at which you literally assisted us with a tracking tool. But you also facilitated leadership team meetings and became a confidant of the executives who were in charge of the process. When tensions developed among the team, as they inevitably do, you were available to talk them through and move us forward.

You also paid special attention to understanding the cultural dynamics of merging the two organizations. The company we were acquiring was not just a different company, it was based in another country and it was owned and operated primarily by people in two additional countries. So the cultural dynamics were challenging to say the least.

I remember that you arranged for the leadership team to go out to dinner at an ethnic restaurant as part of our cultural sensitivity training. The program, including a speaker, was designed to make us more aware of the cultural dynamics so we could do a better job through the integration process. In many ways, LifeTrek Coaching was a significant part of our success.

Q: After the integration process was underway, why did you decide to keep using LifeTrek Coaching?

A: Because that’s when the challenges begin! The planning stage is easy; the implementation is hard. You assisted us to develop some communication and tracking tools that we still use today. In addition, you became a go-to resource when situations arose that were best handled by an external resource.

For example, we had identified two executives in our succession planning for the CEO position. If anything happened to the top guy, we wanted someone to be ready and waiting to step in and take over.

One executive in particular had all the right credentials except for his people skills. He was an incredibly hard worker, very smart, and could be counted on to do whatever it took to get a job done. But he was having trouble managing his staff and operating efficiently within the organization. He would ask people to do things, for example, and then watch over them so closely as to make them feel discounted and unimportant.

So we asked you to work with him and, over the course of six months, we saw real progress in this area. He didn’t micromanage as much and he listened to people more. He became less intense and more adept in his relationships with people.

Q: I know teamwork was an issue for this individual and his direct reports. Did that improve as well?

A: This is where you did some of your most creative, or at least some of your most fun, work. I remember that an idea emerged for an offsite teambuilding and planning event. In conversation with team members, it was decided to meet at a local indoor high-speed Go Kart track in order to experience teamwork in an entirely different context.

In the morning, at the event, people divided into racing teams, planning and implementing their strategy for winning on the track. In between each race, the teams would meet to evaluate their performance and plan their strategy for the next race. Then it would be back on the track for another go round. No one could win as individuals, only as teams.

This was an incredible learning experience that freed people up to say things about how they were working together that simply could not be said in the office context. After lunch, when it came time to evaluate performance and make plans for the real work at hand, people were much better equipped to work as a team. It was a great example of “hands-on, high-speed coaching.”

Q: What happened with the other executive, who was perceived as having an attitude and behavior problem?

A: That was a different situation entirely. Whereas we could identify certain specific people skills for the first person to focus on and learn, the other executive just had a personality that grated many people the wrong way • especially our CEO. And when the CEO isn’t happy, something has to give.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure anyone can really change their personality. Nevertheless, we brought you in, after many internal interventions, to see what could be done. It was one last attempt to make the situation work out.

When that failed, he eventually moved on. I know he appreciated the coaching, and you were certainly instrumental in helping him to sort things out and make good decisions.

Q: Recently you went through yet another merger process and again called us in for coaching. What was the context for that?

A: This time we were the company being bought instead of the company doing the buying. So the stress is high and all bets are off as far as who will be left and what will be happening a year from now.

As part of this merger, one of our valued and long-term directors did not feel he was being treated right in terms of his position and benefits in the new organizational structure. We had had a number of meetings, and the situation was getting worse rather than better.

That was when we again thought it best to bring in an external resource. In this case, we had no idea where it would go. As coach, you were assisting this director to clarify his feelings and develop his go-forward position with the company. We had no idea if, as a result of the coaching and his own reflection process, he was going to quit or stay with the company. We just knew that something had to be done.

You worked with him for several months and he did end up staying, with a proposal for reduced and more flexible hours. Frankly, when that idea came out, I was ready to shoot you. Flex-time has just not been a tradition at this company. But we accepted the proposal and I think we now view this as a great resolution to the problem.

Q: All these coaching initiatives were paid for by the company. Can you calculate the Return on Investment?

A: There’s no way to calculate that in financial terms. But if you are not willing to invest a little money in your top people, then you should probably just get rid of them. Your top people are worth the investment, and I think they appreciate the offer of coaching even if they decline to take advantage of the opportunity. It is a morale booster to know that the company wants to help you rather than to blame you when things go wrong.

Q: Do you have any advice for the executives or HR professionals who may be reading this Provision?

A: Our company has really benefited from having a trusted, external coaching resource. I view LifeTrek as “HR On Call.” There are so many situations that come up in business today where coaching is the best response, including cross-cultural collaboration, leadership development, communication improvement, team building, attitude adjustments, and career planning. It helps to know you’re only a phone call away.

We have been very pleased with our relationship over the past four years. I would highly recommend coaching to any company as not only an important, but also an essential, human resource partner.

Coaching Inquiries: Who do you call on for assistance when the going gets tough? Does your company have a trusted, external coaching resource? How could you expand your options? Are there any workplace challenges that a coach could assist with right now?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Thanks for pacing the 4:45 team at the Baltimore marathon last Saturday. Although things really started to go sour for me around mile 17, and although I crossed the finish line 30 minutes behind the pace group, and although I told my dad at the finish line that I was NEVER going to run a marathon again … I woke up yesterday morning with a changed perspective. I am proud that I made it, can laugh at the whole situation, and have even started thinking about running another one. I figure I can’t do much worse, so I may as well try to do better. Your coaching through the race added a very positive element to the whole experience.


Thanks for the great newsletters, I find them really helpful.


I have been on steroids for most of my life and will continue to be. Can you help me? (Ed. Note: Diet and exercise become even more important in situations like yours. You may want to review the archive of our Wellness Pathways for suggestions 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #382: Coaching as Employee Benefit

Laser Provision

More than one company has made LifeTrek coaching available to selected employees, at company expense, to manage stress, develop skills, improve communication, resolve conflicts, or achieve other business goals. Today we tell the story of one such company, who extended the offer of professional coaching to the top 30 people in the company. Several years later, the benefits of coaching endure.

LifeTrek Provision

Not every LifeTrek Coaching client is an individual looking to do better in their life and work. Sometimes, the client is a company or organization looking to do better by their employees. Over the years, LifeTrek has worked with people at the top of the organization chart as well as directors and middle managers, when it was thought that coaching could provide an exceptional return on investment.

Sometimes that return has been defined in terms of communication, conflict-resolution, and team building. We have been retained, for example, to conduct behavioral style assessments with follow-up coaching in order to assist team members to understand their dynamics and to work together better. Other times, that return has been defined in terms of developing a high-potential or an at-risk leader.

But today’s featured client, an engineering firm, defined that return in terms of employee morale, life / work balance, and ownership of policies, procedures, and decisions. Two years before LifeTrek Coaching was introduced to the company, the employees purchased the company from a long-time family owner as part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Under this ownership structure, everyone has a vested interest in the company’s success.

The challenge was to translate that vested interest into new patterns of working together. Two years after setting up the ESOP, the old command-and-control assumptions were alive and well. The new CEO, who at 15% had the largest single share in the ESOP, was perceived as functioning in much the same way as his predecessor, when the company was a family-owned business.

How could the company begin to function with a new spirit of collaboration, synergy, and partnership? How could all the employees begin to approach their life and work from the perspective of employee-owners? How could the new ownership structure translate into new managerial practices? How could the transitional stress be reduced or relieved?

These were the questions that brought LifeTrek Coaching into the picture. It was hoped that coaching could assist people to step back, take stock, and think through what the changed dynamics meant, both for themselves and for the company. It was also hoped that such increased deliberation would lead to improved results for and relationships within the company. In short, it was hoped that coaching could assist the company to make the ESOP process work more fully and effectively.

We began our work by conducting a seminar during one of the company’s regular management meetings. Two representatives from LifeTrek Coaching presented material developed by Tim Gallwey in his book, The Inner Game of Work. We noted how employee-owners had even more reason to redefine work in terms not only of Performance, but also in terms of Learning and Enjoyment.

People were challenged to ask themselves three questions: Am I as productive as I can possibly be? Am I learning new things on the job? Are we having fun yet? As people considered their answers, they were invited to sign up for coaching. The company offered to pay 75% of the cost of coaching for any executive or manager who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity; the employee-owner would have to pay 25% through a payroll deduction.

The top 30 people in the company, in four states, were then interviewed by telephone to determine their interest in the program. About one third of them signed up for at least three months of coaching. Some continued for a little longer. And today, three years later, the effects are still being felt. The experience was positive enough that there have been discussions about making coaching available to executives and managers as an ongoing employee-owner benefit.

If that were to happen, this company would place itself solidly in the ranks of other progressive companies who understand that work is more than just productivity and life is more than just work. A coach can broker that conversation, for individuals, teams, and even for entire companies, until discernible (if not always financially measurable) benefits are achieved.

Today’s interview includes excerpts from conversations with three people, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and one of the Engineer-Managers (E-M) who took part in the coaching process. Through their eyes, you will get a sense of how coaching works in the workplace.

Q: How did you find out about LifeTrek Coaching and what made you decide to work with us?

CEO: I had met and worked with you through our Rotary Club, so I already had a sense of you as a person. We were on a committee together, so I knew we shared some common interests. Since I am originally from India, you had also used me for some cultural sensitivity training in another context, which meant that our trust level was high.

But it wasn’t until our Rotary Club sponsored a trade fair, and you had a booth to explain how coaching worked, that I thought about coaching as a resource for our company. Coming off of the recent ESOP conversion, we were under a lot of stress. The location of our headquarters’ office was in play, and financially we were under more pressure than ever.

People were really feeling the heat, and it was easy to develop a bad attitude. Even though we were now all employee-owners, many people still viewed the world through a victim mentality • as though someone was doing things to us, instead of we were now controlling our own destiny.

It was my hope that coaching could make the ESOP more than just a piece of paper • for me and for everyone else. It was my hope that coaching could make everyone feel and act more like owners.

Q: So your goal for coaching had less to do with improving productivity than with improving attitude?

CEO: It was both. Bad attitudes generate lower productivity. Even though we may not be able to measure the connection in dollars, there’s no way to say the connection doesn’t exist. The attitude we have on the job makes a huge difference to both our own individual performance and to the performance of the team. Toxic attitudes can ruin a company.

CFO: And you can either bring those attitudes in from home or you can develop those attitudes on the job. Under the old regime, before the ESOP, this was a fear-based organization. The CEO was the boss and you did what he wanted • or else! The idea that we could now stand up for ourselves and speak our minds, that we could make recommendations and even set limits on what we would and would not give of ourselves to the company, that was a radical idea. We’re still learning how to do that without getting defensive.

It was equally radical to talk about what we bring to the job from our personal lives, outside of the office. Under the old regime, your personal life was of no consideration. You just did what you had to do, regardless. Now, through the ESOP, we had the opportunity to start acting like owners. That meant we had to get our whole lives together in order to be our best, on the job.

I know that that was an important part of my own goal for coaching. I wanted to take an integrated look at my entire life, both work and home, in order to paint a better picture. Fortunately, LifeTrek Coaching came from that orientation and was able to provide the perspective as well as the structure to make that happen.

E-M: In our work together, we probably spent as much time on the work • life balance issue as any other. When either one demands too much time or attention, they both suffer. When there is a happy medium, I can be at my best.

Q: Were there any noticeable differences in the company, because of the coaching initiative?

CEO: I certainly saw some differences in a few of the individuals who signed up for coaching. There was less whining, and more of a winning attitude. There was also less frenzy about these individuals. They were more able to focus on the work we had to do, without as much overworking and burning up. I think it was very helpful.

E-M: One of the practices that I developed while we worked together was going for a walk around the building at my lunch break and at other times when I needed to settle down and collect myself. I continue that practice to this very day. The secretary laughs, because she knows the more times I go around the building, the rougher the day.

You also challenged me to look at my morning habits, before coming into the office. I came to realize that how I start the day has a big impact on how the day goes. We even talked about things like how much coffee I was drinking. It was great to come away from our coaching sessions with the homework of trying out new strategies and interventions.

CFO: The whole coaching process made us more sensitive to the dynamics of learning and enjoyment in the workplace. Productivity is fine, but what are we pushing for? What are we here for? As CFO, I’m the financial number-cruncher in this organization, but if all we pay attention to is the bottom line then we’re missing out on many other important realities and opportunities. There is a spiritual side to life, even among engineers, that we dare not ignore.

One of the things we talked about a lot in our coaching sessions was the brain drain associated with all the stuff that builds up on our to-do lists. For those of us who participated in the coaching, I think we all got better at clearing away the clutter of unfinished business. Your name for that clutter was “tolerations,” because we were tolerating stuff rather than dealing with it. You assisted us to get rid of the clutter, both literally and figuratively, in order to do better.

Q: When coaching was offered to the organization, the CEO opted out of having his own coach. Why? And was that a good idea?

CEO: The reason I did that was two-fold. First, it just wasn’t a good time for me personally to work with a coach. There was a lot going on. But second, and even more importantly, I wanted the other employee-owners to see this as a benefit to them. The former owner was great about taking his perks first, and leaving the leftovers to everyone else. I wanted this to go to everyone else first, knowing that I would have a chance to pick up coaching later, when the time was right.

CFO: Unfortunately, that was not the message that many people took away from the CEO’s decision not to work with a coach. In many people’s eyes, it was an “I’m OK, you’re not OK” message. It was as though everyone else needed coaching, but the CEO did not. That was not the best message to send. In addition, if the CEO was working with a coach at the same time as the rest of us, there might have been more opportunities to develop and share a common language as to changes we wanted to make in the organization.

E-M: I agree that it would have been better for the CEO to participate. I think it sent the wrong message. On the other hand, the coaching was helpful in its own right and I did appreciate the company providing us with that benefit. I wish it were still available today.

Q: What would lead you to make coaching an ongoing part of your Employee Assistance Program?

CEO: We would have to recognize the benefits. If coaching makes people more productive, engaged, and happy, then it is worth the money. When you worked with us before, even though it was only for a few months, it generated new ideas. One of the things we do now, for example, is that every office has a “Fun Czar” who plans events to build rapport, camaraderie, and spirit among the group. We took seriously the new definition of work as being about performance, learning, and enjoyment.

E-M: To really take that definition seriously we have to think beyond “Fun Czars” organizing lunch-time or after-hours activities. We have to figure out how to make the work itself more enjoyable and less stressful. That takes a different level of communication, trust, and control than we are often able to muster. It takes setting boundaries so our clients, and our own ambitions, don’t run us ragged. We need to know and to focus on what we do well. If coaches can assist us to do that, then they are worth their weight in gold.

CFO: There’s no way to measure the ROI (Return on Investment) of coaching in terms of dollars. It is an intangible, almost by definition. It has to do with how people conduct, carry, and feel about themselves both at work and at home. But just because we cannot measure the ROI in dollars, does not make those things unimportant.

Often we get ourselves in a position where our problems seem monumental, as though they were an impossible mountain to climb. But a skilled coach, bringing an outsider perspective, does not see those problems in the same way. He or she is able to break things down into bite-size pieces. We begin to make progress, one step at a time, where before we were just overwhelmed. If you want your organization to keep moving forward, there are going to be times when coaching is an essential resource.

Q: So when is the best time for a company to bring in external coaches to work with their employees?

CEO: Whenever the organization is under a lot of stress. New leadership brings stress. New ownership brings stress. New customers • or the lack of customers — bring stress. Those are the circumstances when people need to avoid the natural tendency to get so caught up in the stress as to have no time for reflection and planning.

In my case, I rely on a number of associations to get that kind of feedback. We now have an active Board of Directors, a majority of whom are external to the company, which meets quarterly. I am also part of a group of small business owners, we call ourselves the Brain Trust, that meets monthly. These associations are essentially coaching tools for me, as I lead this company.

CFO: I agree that coaching can make a positive contribution to stress management. LifeTrek worked with us right before 9/11. Given I am originally from Iran, that event was particularly traumatic. How could people do such a horrible thing? And what implications would that have for me, personally? The spiritual reading, daily habits, and journal writing that I started through the coaching process served me well in the wake of 9/11.

Coaching can also make a positive contribution to long-range planning. Everyone needs the benefit, from time to time, of an outside perspective. When the only people we talk to are each other, we can easily get tunnel vision when it comes to our plans. But when we have an outside perspective, forcing us to think through our goals and strategies, we end up with better, smarter actions.

Q: Are there any down sides to coaching?

E-M: Not in my book. First, it is completely confidential. So you don’t have to worry about what you are saying. It’s a great place to bring your half-baked ideas. Second, it is completely non-coercive. Your coach is not your boss, so you don’t have to worry about your coach telling you what to do. That’s just not their role. Finally, it is completely client-driven. The coach is not working his or her agenda; the coach is working your agenda. So you can bring whatever you want to the table, personal or professional, without fear of rejection.

CFO: That was my experience as well. LifeTrek Coaching brought a holistic perspective to business coaching. We never forgot that the company was paying 75% of the bill, so we never lost sight of our business objectives. But we also never lost sight of me, as a person, with patterns, plans, and preferences that went far beyond those objectives. By dealing with the total package, I was able to do better and to feel better all the way around.

Coaching Inquiries: Who assists you to do better and to feel better? Do you see opportunities at work where coaches could make a difference? How could you be the catalyst for change?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Thanks for the plain-text notice regarding the posting of Provisions Online. It answered my question about why I haven’t been receiving them for the past 5 weeks! I’ve missed them! I’m grateful you can use this way to “get around” our SPAM service!

Since receiving LifeTrek Provisions, I’ve saved most of your articles and tried to incorporate them into my style of leadership. Every issue has been both helpful and challenging. Through Provisions, I’m being coached. I didn’t stop to give a word of ‘thanks’ until the newsletters weren’t coming through any more.


Thank you for your message about LifeTrek Provisions. I live in Ghana and it is too expensive to come to you. I am professional worker, but have found it hard to get work. Let me know if there is any way you can help me, so I don’t die in poverty. (Ed. Note: Although we have no employment opportunities, hopefully our Provisions will continue to provide some encouragement.) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services