Gutsy Coaching Moments

Gutsy Coaching Moments™ is published monthly by CoachLab® International for its members.

Members are invited to submit their Gutsy Coaching Moment stories to CoachLab International for publication and distribution. Please limit story length to approximately 2 pages or 700 words



By Larry Gruenwald
Scottsdale, Arizona

Howard is a healthcare practitioner and has been in the business over 10 years. Five years ago he moved out of the Phoenix metropolitan area to a small town in northern Arizona. His business grew a steady pace for the first few years after his move then began to go down hill.

He began looking at his business and wanting to find out what was the cause, other than the economy itself that he knew he had no control over.

Howard and I met at a business meeting about a year ago and we have kept in communication since then. In one of our conversations he was sharing about the struggle he was having with his business, so I shared with him I was in the process of getting certified as a Professional Business Coach. He decided that coaching might be what could help out in discovering what was missing in his business.

Through coaching in the first call he came up with a beginning of a plan of action. I requested he write it out and use my “Coaching Outcomes Contract “
as a format. This just happed to be one of the tools I was learning how to implement in the Certification program with Eagle’s View Systems, Inc. I was then attending.

On the next coaching call it appeared that the whole plan had dropped out of sight and things had come to a complete halt. I asked his permission to coach him and I discovered that the players wife was not supporting him, not being part of his foundation, maybe even a stop to what he is trying to accomplish. So I Asked, thinking this is a stretch, if it would be possible for his wife to join us on the next call and would he be up for it.

The next week his wife joined in on the call and by coaching them together she discovered a thought she had been caring in the back of her mind for the 27 years of their marriage that wasn’t allowing her to being fully committed to the marriage and supporting her husband in what he was up to. Through the coaching she was willing to be part of the foundation Howard needed instead of being a stop.

Howard is now continuing to expand on his plans and is taking action to accomplish his goals.

Larry Gruenwald is a business coach and practices in Arizona. He earned his coaching certification through CoachLab.



By Susan Bagyura,
London, England

Eric was fairly new to sales having been a mortgage advisor for only 9 months when he came to me for coaching. Prior to that, although he has his Bachelor’s Degree in finance, he had been working in the shipping department of a transportation company for 13 years. Without the benefit of any sales training, in his new career he had been able to bring in some respectable deals, but knew that he needed something more in order to increase his monthly revenues as well as his income.

Using the Coaching RoadMap as a guide, Eric and I put together a plan for him to increase his revenue stream initially by 15%. The most important aspect of the goal to Eric was to make certain that he consistently achieved that increase.

Like many people, Eric would sometimes confuse activity with action and when this would happen, there would be a dip in his weekly performance. However, because we had taken all of his statistics and worked out exactly what he needed to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis in order to achieve his goal, it was easy for him to get back on track.

After a month of working together, two of the key performance inhibitors that we dealt with were ‘worry and guilt’. I used the DreamMakers/DreamBrakers worksheets in order to find out what was blocking Eric. He admitted that he was sceptical that this would make any difference, but he did it anyway.

The result was quite surprising to Eric. He saw that his biggest drag and what was holding him back from enjoying various aspects of his life had to do with some window frames that needed to be painted. His wife was very unhappy that the work had not been done. The window frames were the source of some arguments. A stunned and surprised Eric said, “I have been so busy building a business, learning new skills, supporting a family on a commission-only income after coming off a salaried job, and trying to spend quality time with his family, that I kept putting off doing anything with the window frames. I never realized how much guilt I have been carrying around and how it has been affecting everything that I do.” Eric was unaware that he was burdened with guilt. You cannot deal with or tackle something that you don’t even know is present.

Once it had been identified through the DreamMakers/DreamBrakers worksheet, we started a dialog of what could be done. We came up with 3 or 4 ways of handling the job from hiring someone to do it to making it a project to do with his son. Suddenly it was like a weight had been lifted off of Eric’s shoulders! He saw that there were options and said, “I can get my wife involved in helping with the decision of what to do about the windows. We can share equally in the decision of how my free time is spent — with the family or painting window frames.”

What was most important about this exercise was the fact that Eric identified the problem, acknowledged his feelings, saw that he was wasting valuable energy worrying about the windows and put together a plan to eliminate the worry and guilt from his life. Once that happened, he was again free to work confidently.

The first month Eric hit his goal. The second month, he exceeded his goal. By the third month, Eric saw that he could easily make that goal and therefore wanted to increase his goal. At the end of 90 days and having achieved more than a 500% increase in his earnings, he said that his greatest learnings were to:

1) Continually review my actions and see that they are in line with my goals,
2) Review my goals daily to keep me focused,
3) Reach my goals easily by breaking them down to daily actions,
4) Do the most important thing first.

And my greatest learnings were:

1) The DreamMakers/DreamBrakers audit is a simple but ridiculously powerful tool. Players don’t always recognize that when it is offered to them. Encourage them to do it anyway.
2) The Coaching RoadMap works!

Susan Bagura is a business coach and practices in the UK. She earned her coaching certification through CoachLab. The Coaching RoadMap and DreamMakers/DreamBrakers Audit that Susan uses are part of the CoachLab International Archived Tool s& Techniques and can be downloaded by any CLI member. A detailed description of the use of these tools can be found in the book, “COACH ANYONE ABOUT ANYTHING”, Wharton Publishing.



By J. Christopher Collard
Houston, Texas

Sometimes in the course of our coaching we find we are hitting a wall with our player. We don’t feel we are making any progress. At those times, we need to evaluate whether this relationship is good for the player as well as us. Sometimes, we have to do something uncomfortable.

I have known Joe for about 3 years. About 4 months ago, I approached Joe with the concept of working with him as his personal coach to help him enhance his status within his organization.

In our first meeting, we identified his main goal was to become a leader. We identified some of the steps he could take to make that happen, however I felt he was being too narrow what he could do become recognized as a leader. To complicate the situation, the steps he was going to take had to be placed on the back burner due to his other work related commitments.

As time went on, I suggested he should “Stand in the Outcome”. I wanted him to see what it felt like for him to be a leader. I suggested he take that perspective so he could look back and see what he had done to get there. We discussed the four forces of flight and how we could use it to identify what inspired him in becoming a leader, what gave him the thrust to move ahead and what held him back or stood in his way. I felt sure that combining these techniques we could broaden the goals he needed to achieve to become an acknowledged leader in his firm.

During our next few sessions, we had good discussions concerning what was going on in his life and I introduced some new concepts to him, however he never did move out of that space. He would come into the meetings without having completed those items, which I felt, were necessary for us to be able to move forward.

It came time for me to evaluate this relationship. As you can guess it was hard, not only was I Joe’s coach, but also I was his friend. However, I had to do something, which could help him.

In our next session, I explained to Joe that without his completing the things we discussed earlier, we would have a hard time helping him reach his goal. I needed to know, what he wanted. I needed his input. Without that, this was a nice time spent together but if he didn’t bring something to the table we would not be going where he wanted to go. He agreed, and committed to me to have these exercises completed by the next time we met.

I knew when he left; that I would have to cut the coaching relationship off if he came in the next week ill prepared. This was a decision, at this point, although hard, I was prepared to make. The bottom line is, I wanted to help him but he needed to help himself.

I am glad to say, that when our next meeting occurred, Joe was prepared. He had given a lot of thought to those areas we had discussed earlier. Now, as we move forward we have a broader vision and a vision we can expand and more areas to work on to help him achieve his goal of becoming a recognized leader in his organization.

Chris Collard is a business coach and practices in Texas. He earned his coaching certification through CoachLab.



by Susan Bagyura
London, England

Finally Dan and I had signed our Outcomes Contract. It really took some patience and gentle prodding to reach that point. So gentle, that after his third failure to write up his desired outcomes, I suggested in an email that it may not be the right time for him to do this and that I would be available in the future when he was ready. Within an hour, I had the contract back with some impressive thinking and goals along with an apologetic email for the delay.

The following week, after very careful preparation, I sat and waited for the phone to ring. After waiting for 45 minutes, I sent off an email to see if I could get his attention. I continued waiting and still no call or a response to my email.

While I was waiting for the call to ring, there was plenty of time to think. I was wondering how I would handle this situation. For me it was important to make it clear that we both be prepared and on time for our coaching sessions. At the same time, I had concerns about being so strong that I would be confused with a parent or some other ‘authority’ figure in Dan’s life. The approach would certainly determine whether we could keep this on a professional business basis and still have a good foundation for actually having our coaching session. However, if this was not addressed it would most likely be a recurring situation.

After waiting over an hour, the phone rang. It was Dan. He said “I’m sorry for calling so late. I was tied up in a meeting that lasted longer than I had anticipated”. I have 25 years of business experience that included meetings, deadlines and promises. To simply accept this excuse would negate a lot of that experience and Dan would lose out on an opportunity to learn and improve. I said, “Dan, may I coach you?” Dan said, “Yes.” I continued, “it is really important to meet commitments whether it is a promised phone call or something else. We made a commitment to be on time and prepared for our calls in the Outcomes Agreement. I know that things can come up, but then it is important to inform the other person in time or if necessary, excuse yourself from a meeting and call or email the other person. Just the other day, I had a similar situation. I had made commitment to call my coach at a certain time and then an unexpected but critical meeting came up. I wrote her an email saying that I would not be able to call her at the appointed time and then just to be certain I called her at the regular time to say that I could not talk, but could we rescheduled. All of this only took a couple of minutes, but saved both of us a lot of time.”

Dan said, “I understand what you are saying and agree that it is important. Can we leave this as a learning experience and go on from here?” Of course, I agreed and then told him, “Dan it is a privilege and an honor to be coaching you; and your success is extremely important to me and I will do what I can to help you achieve your goals.” Over the telephone I could ‘hear’ the smile on his face as he said “thank you”. This transitional statement was key because it allowed Dan to feel good about himself and it provided a great start to the rest of the conversation. This learning came from my coaches, Germaine Porche’ and Jed Niederer, for they taught me by their actions of how to value a person and then in this case, take someone from an uncomfortable, but necessary conversation, into a positive mood to continue a dialog.


I Know, I Know…

By Germaine Porché and Jed Niederer
How to Help People Succeed in Business and Life

Terri was the manager of the #1 store in a chain of boutiques. She’d trained twenty people or more in her 3-year retail management career. The owners of the chain sent people through her store to be exposed to this retail master. Terri was good, really good.

Today, Terri wasn’t feeling like she was good. Today Terri was feeling like she was rather ineffective. The owners had sent Ruth, a salesperson, to work with Terri before they would make her store manger at another location. Ruth was experienced. Perhaps too experienced. It seemed that every time Terri tried to tell her something, Ruth would say, “I know, I know.”

Terri went home that night pretty down. Then the phone rang. It was her friend, Paula, an elementary school teacher. Paula said, “Terri, I’m reading this great book about coaching. Terri said, “Does it tell you how to deal with “know-it-alls”? Paula replied, “Well, as a matter of fact, there is a whole chapter devoted to that…”

Paula proceeded to tell Terri some of the things she’d learned from reading the book.

The next day at the store, Terri watched as Ruth straightened a pile of sweaters. “Terri ,” she said to herself, “if I’m going to contribute anything to this woman it better be soon ’cause she’s out of here next week. Well, here goes.” Terri sighed a little bit and walked toward Ruth.

“Excuse me, Ruth, may I talk to you for a moment? “Sure”, Ruth said. They walked casually toward the back door of the store together.

“Ruth, may I coach you”, Terri said? “What”, Ruth asked? “May I coach you,” Terri repeated? “Okay, I guess so”, Ruth said.

“Great. Let me tell you what I mean by coaching…” Ruth interrupted, “Oh, I know what you mean.” Terri said, “Would you be willing to consider the possibility that you don’t know”, Terri countered. “What”, Ruth asked? Terri said, “Ruth, what I mean is that I think I have something to tell you that might be of benefit to you, but you’ll never know unless you listen as though you might hear something new.” Ruth just looked at Terri.

Terri said, “Someday, Ruth, you’re going to have to train someone who thinks they know everything.” “Oh yes, I know that”, Ruth said. “Someone like you, Ruth”, Terri whispered.

Ruth’s eyebrows rose a full inch as she cocked her head to one side. Terri continued, “Oh, I realize you don’t mean to come off like a know-it-all, Ruth. But you do anyway. And it makes it so hard to contribute to you, even though I know you have a burning desire to learn and grow.”

“That’s true, I do want to learn and grow. I didn’t realize I came off like a know-it-all. I apologize”, Ruth said sincerely. “Thank you”, Terri said. “Thank you for being so coachable just now.”

“Now, what was the coaching you wanted to give me”, Ruth asked? “Just kidding, Terri. I got the coaching.”

“Whew, I thought I was going to have to go to Plan B” Terri gasped. “What is plan B”, Ruth queried? “Don’t you know”, Terri said slowly. They burst into laughter and laughed for many moments more.