Archive for March, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

Sunday, March 27th, 2011


So, as is my wont, today I went to Costco to pick up a few things which we had run out of or forgotten when we did our marketing the other day. It’s a beautiful day here in Southern California, so I walked over with my push cart, stopped and bought a cup of coffee and went into the store.

I only had a short list, so I decided to indulge a little bit in one of my favorite activities: people watching. I was surprised at what I saw. Many women who were my age, more or less, looked tired, stressed, aged. Many had deep groves around their mouths and eyes. Most were dressed well and had their hair and make up done, so it wasn’t a matter of this being the hippy dippy crowd, which is my neighborhood is always a possibility. And it suddenly hit me that I have much to be grateful for.

Many years ago, I was hanging around Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon meeting because there were several people in my life who were actively pursuing their addictions or where trying to get sober. One of the ideas which came up was to practice and attitude of gratitude. After watching the women in Costco I remembered that I have a great deal to be grateful for.

I am grateful for my son and my friends who love me, accept me and support me without question. I am grateful that I chose, years ago, to live in awe and acceptance of what is and to not worry too much about how things “should” be. I am grateful that I have a future and that it is bright. I am grateful for all the things I have been though, without judgment, because they have helped to make me a better, stronger more compassionate person.

I am grateful for this last year without a car. That is one less stress in my life. And in fact, I am grateful that, overall, I have chosen to live life in a way which is minimally stressful. Or at least, take an attitude which is minimally stressful.

I am grateful for the challenges which I have had. And I am grateful for gifts which I have been given. Too many to count. I am grateful for good genetics. And for curiosity which keeps me growing.

There are many things which I could choose to focus on which could be judged as short comings: not enough money, my career is taking longer to come to fruition than I would like, I am not able to do many of the things which I really want to do and enjoy. But by focusing on those things, I would be spending energy in fruitless ways, running in circles and adding to my stress. It is when I am in the calmness and in a place of gratitude, that I am able to hear my inner voice, my inner knowing which in the 15 Proficiencies would be #10, Shares what is there, what comes forward. It is where you and I put our focus which will bring forward what we are trying to manifest.

And while some may choose to equate gratitude with a religious or spiritual path, it doesn’t have to be. It can simply be an appreciation, acknowledgment and high regard for what is there.

What are you grateful for? What do you focus on? If you switched your focus, what might happen in your life? And who might you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

We’re only Human afterall or Proficiency #15: Respects the client’s humanity.

Sunday, March 27th, 2011


So today, I am going to introduce the last Proficiency. Proficiency #15: Respects the client’s humanity. I believe that this is probably one of, if not the, most important proficiency, because it is so foundational in how the Coach sees and interacts with the Client.

15. Respects the client’s humanity.

We all have limits, both internal and external, and as much as coaching is about maximizing potential and opportunities, we are all human and the Certified Coach respects this. Success without stress is what we are all after and by recognizing limits and appreciating different paths to achievement, the client is both individually and universally respected.


1. Respect the client’s RAM limitations.
2. Respect the client’s style/approach.
3. Respect the client’s wishes.

The key distinction is respect vs. accept.

Isn’t this idea amazing? That I, as the Coach, accept the Client as a human being who has their own set abilities and limitations? That, in respecting their humanity, I accept that they are where they are, have gone through what they have gone through in their life times,are interested in changing. These are all very important and really, really amazing and supportive. The fact that the Coach accepts and respects this and the fact that the Client comes to Coaching as a complete person who does not need to be fixed, healed, repaired or in anyway saved, is completely freeing. And more than that, it allows the Client to start to respect and accept themselves as well.

Now, this does not mean that the Coach always plays all nicey nice. As a Coach, it is my responsibility to point out to my Clients when they are not keeping their word, working to their full potential, or being in integrity. by the same token, it is my job to also recognize when a Client is doing their best but perhaps needs to shift their focus or come into acceptance of a limitation which they are currently working with and help them to find ways of being which will either counteract that particular limitation or make friends with it so that it is easier to live with.

The other side of the coin is that the Coach gets to respect their own limitations. Their own humanity. There are some Clients who, because of their different world view, I know that I would have difficulties working with. There is nothing wrong with admitting that and in fact, it is taking care of myself and respecting myself and my boundaries which is a good thing. Because then I spend less time trying to figure out why I feel negatively about a situation.

So, as this is the last blog in this series – and I plan on taking a week off before I start the next one – I leave you with this question: As a Client, would you want a Coach who is able to do all of the things mentioned here? Someone who not only is an expert in what ever area they are working with you in but is also trained and skilled in everything from technique to helping to bring out your best, to seeing and respecting you as the Client as a whole and complete human being?

And Coaches, isn’t it wonderful that we have these Proficiencies to work with? Which help to ensure not only our competence but also give us a platform to build and grow from? And help us have the confidence to move forward with ease and grace?

So what will you do? Who do you want to be? Who will you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Shuman

Proficiency #14: Designs supportive environments.

Friday, March 25th, 2011


Okay, I readily admit, this is my favorite proficiency! This is about helping the Client to get organized and put things into place which support the Client in a way which ensures more ease and grace into their lives. Here is the experts take on this:

14. Designs supportive environments.

Success, not to mention personal evolution, becomes sustainable when there are environments and failsafe structures that support it. After all, who wants to rely on fortitude and willpower to get things done or to develop oneself? Enter the Certified Coach who has been specifically trained in helping the client to design and install these environments.


1. Design environments that automatically support.
2. Design stimulating environments that evolve.
3. Repair environments that weaken.

The key distinction is environments vs. self-reliance.

Now the key to this question is how deep do you want to go? On the surface, this can be simply organizing your files in such a way that they are chronological and numerical. It may be setting things up in such a way that notes are attached to a file so that the Client has everything at their figure tips when ever they need them. Or it could be as deep as recreating a believe system which is more in alignment with who the Client is becoming. And that could include things such as a new spiritual practice, exercise regime, and diet.

In my second year of Grad school I had a trio with a woman who was trying to reconnect with her body. One of the things she wrestled with was a past which did not include good dental hygiene. She said that she had gotten better at remembering to brush her teeth, but flossing was something which she hadn’t ever really gotten into the practice of doing. Having been there and found a simple solution, I was able to make a usable suggestion. She was wowed by it. I have spoken to her since then and she is still using that action as part of her supportive environment.

Remember, once a Client gets a supportive environment in place, things can go into auto pilot and the Client is more able to work on big picture items than getting caught up in the minutia. Example: one client I had wanted to be able to have more heart felt conversations with the people he was partnering with on projects. He, his assistant and I set down and went through his Rolodex which they had as a shared data base on their computer network. We started to add notes. Anniversaries, birth dates, kids names and any interests outside of the project. If someone called and spoke to the Assistant, letting her know that he was on the way to his kids soccer game, that went into the message to her boss, so that he could ask about the game and the child when he returned the call. Barbara Walters is an expert at this. She and her Assistant have a conspiracy of kindness going on. Barbara’s index cards include all of this information and she is diligent in following up on it. And even though it is known that she has helpers, people still appreciate her taking the time to remember the important events in their lives.

Now, on the deepest level, this is about designing a new life, a new way of being and creating a totally different world view. But, like you probably didn’t learn how to drive in 2 hours, this takes time and focus. And a willingness to take risks and to suck sometimes. IT takes time to grow. And that is where the Coach can help to see where a structure has a design flaw and needs to be shored up or where it can be expanded, as well as when it is time to change focus if necessary. And of course, when a Client is ready to leave something which no longer serves them behind.

All of this is designed to help the Client bring forth their agenda with as much ease and grace as possible. And that is a beautiful thing. it is also designed to help the Client through any rough patches which present themselves. It is in this Proficiency that the Coach helps in the most real world ways and the Client gains the freedom to take the biggest steps.

So, if you were able to create a system or systems which would support you with ease and grace, what would they be? And who would you become and what would you be able to achieve?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Tell the truth and shame the devil or Proficiency #13: Relishes truth

Friday, March 25th, 2011


So today we are working on Proficiency #13: Relishes truth. So what does that mean/ Well, let’s start by looking at the definition developed by Coachville and then explore more.

13. Relishes truth.

This may sound obvious, and it’s deeper than that. After all, truth is a level above mere honesty, as in there is always a truth about a situation, person or event that, when discovered and articulated, can transforms one’s life or business. Certified Coaches have come to enjoy and orient around truth as a source of joy and guidance.


1. Come to enjoy/relish truth about the client’s abilities and limitations.
2. Teach the client how to relish the truth for the pleasure, not just the utility, of it.
3. Be open to truths about your coaching style/paradigm.

The key distinction is relishing truth vs. expecting honesty.

In someways, this is about feedback. Both giving and receiving. But it’s also about being able to see and understand beyond the obvious.

A friend of mine continues to sabotage her diet. She’s only about 30 lbs over weight. We’ve talked about it frequently. Her struggle, her judgments about her inability to stick to a diet or exercise plan. How much she hates her clothes, the feeling of being tired, and lack of endurance. Finally I asked her what was her motivation for not following through on her diet commitments. When she gave me the deer in the head lights look, I practiced Proficiency #2, Reveals the Client to Themselves, and then took it a step further by reflecting the truth of the situation, both the positives and the negatives, and helped her choose a path through the ideas, beliefs, emotions so that she was able to make a better choice and to set up a supportive environment (our next Proficiency) which has helped to facilitate her release of weight.

Now, Relishing truth is also about being able to see things from different angle and coming to understand what resonates for you as an individual and for your Clients. While these can be two very separate things, it allows for a deeper learning and for the Client to really take ownership and responsibility for their choices and move from this place into a way of being which better supports who they are now and who they are becoming. Which is incredibly exciting!

One other aspect is for the Coach. Sometimes hearing feedback is not fun. And sometimes we have a tendency to not want to hear it at all! I had a situation last summer where the Client gave me some feedback after I had adjusted my style at her request. Her comment to me was that I was technically very good but that there was no connection between us! This triggered me. Now, there are several levels of truth here. No, we weren’t able to develop a connection. The Clients way of interacting was in a very non-active style, while mine is very active. So when I was asked to adapt to her style, it didn’t translate well. I take full responsibility for that.

The other truth is that I was invested in helping my Client to shift and her not taking responsibility for the results of her choices, or that was my perception of what she was saying, was a trigger point for me. What was going through my head was, well, if you had allowed me to actually do the job you hired me for as opposed to simply being someone you are paying to listen to you and allow you to keep doing what you are doing, then maybe we could build a connection. But NO!!!! The truth was that because I was very invested in personal responsibility – mine and my Clients – I was not able to be fully open and supportive of the Client. While I was willing to enter new territories, I also needed to acknowledge to the Client when I felt that it wasn’t going to work. There is truth in that. And not being able or potentially willing to acknowledge this truth, was have been part of what caused me to, in the end, to not be able to take in the feedback gracefully.

Now the last point of this is that I also had to take some time and consider the source. There are times when things are defiantly a projection. In this particular case, while I chose to look at much of the feedback which I was getting both from the Client and from my own reactions, the truth was that she and I simply have very different ways of being which don’t align. This is not a bad thing, it is simply a thing. And it is an opportunity for me to look at my own truths and become more deeply honest and more fundamentally grounded in the reality of who I am and what I believe.

So, when cutting down to the bottom line, what are your truths? What feed back are you getting from the world and from yourself? And if you were to test those truths, that feedback, what would you learn? Who would you be? Who might you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Go West, Young man! Or Proficiency #12: Enters new territories.

Thursday, March 24th, 2011


So today we are Entering New territories! How exciting!

Proficiency #12: Enters new territories.

The trained Coach expands the client’s thinking by weaving in new concepts, principles and distinctions during the coaching session, and also by inviting the client to experiment with new models, ways of doing things, and even to identify new goals or outcomes. Clients don’t usually ask the coach for this, but these are key ways that value is created for the client.


1. Broach topics that client didn’t retain you for.
2. Share ideas/distinctions that will expand the client.
3. Experiment.

The key distinction is broaching vs. reacting.

I had to think about this one. For me,this is something which I do all the time, so actually breaking it down and thinking it through was an interesting challenge.

See, to me, as a Coach, part of my job is to help the Client not only reach their goals, but to see beyond the obvious. To see their potential. One of my friends is a beautiful woman. She is large and lovely. She has run a few businesses very successfully, but due to some health issues, at the moment she is between jobs. And her self esteem is taking some hits.

Now, one of the things which has always fascinated me is that she is very flexible. So I asked her has she ever thought about doing and eventually, teaching yoga? Her response was no. Not because so wasn’t interested, but because she was embarrassed by her size.

Well, she lives in the Midwest. People are larger there to start with so there was probably a good chance that she would not be the only large woman in the class. We also talked about using this as an opportunity to teach and perhaps branch out into instructional video making. (She had previously lived in Los Angeles and knew several film makers who would be open to supporting this vision.)

She was stunned at this idea. It gave her the added incentive and added focus for both her physical recovery. And as the Coach, I am helping her to map out the steps and stages of reaching this goal.

So for most Coaches, this is where life experience and knowledge of many different disciplines comes in handy. Because it allows the Coach, who is listening to things on a deeper level and focusing in on what is there, both spoken and unspoken, the Coach can help the Client to identify more areas where the Client is interested in creating and bringing more value into their lives.

Now, the caution I have is that, during the conversation the Coach and the Client double check that what ever has been presented resonates with the Client and isn’t about any hidden agenda which the Coach has. Early in my career, I was suggesting to people to do Youtube style music videos where you take a piece of pre – recorded music and make a video to tell the story of the song. My favorite was Walk on By. I finally had to think about this. this was *MY* dream, and although it may have worked with some of my clients – one was an actor who wanted to ease into directing in the cheap – it took me a while to recognize that when ever I suggested that particular project, it was really about me more than my Client! big learning opportunity there!

On the other hand, like my friend who is truly looking at and investigating becoming a yoga instructor, sometimes my job as the Coach is to help the Client see what is there which is already in their lives which will serve them beyond their immediate goals. And which can take them into the next phase of their lives with ease and grace.

How fun is that? What might you be able to create in your life if you had someone who not only helped you to see what is there, but also to discover new areas in your life to explore and expand yourself? Who would you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Proficiency #11: Champions the client.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011


So today we get to talk about Proficiency #11: Champions the Client. This skill is great because it helps the Coach to really support the Client in their efforts no matter what is going on. Let’s look at what the Proficiency says:

11. Champions the client.

The more often, and deeply, the coach champions their client at all levels (including their actions, progress, dreams, traits, commitments, gifts and qualities), the more encouraged the client feels and the more likely they are to succeed. For the coach to merely be encouraging is not enough; there is a much higher level of support generated when the coach operates at the championing level, which is where the Certified Coach operates.


1. Be excited about their actions/progress.
2. Point to underlying shifts/growth.
3. Be awed by their willingness.

The key distinction is championing vs. cheerleading.

many years ago, when I first discovered Coaching, I heard many disparaging comments regarding Coaches being Cheerleaders. I was stunned, because even in the beginning, I felt that was not an accurate description of what a Coach did. By the definition of the word, Coaches are supposed to help someone bring forth their best effort, helping them to learn something, perfect it and then bringing it to a higher level, while building their self esteem and feelings of Mastery. Cheerleaders, on the other hand – and I have known many – while they help to boost moral, really aren’t qualified to lead an athlete (to use the sports analogy) through the steps to be able to become proficient and even masterful.

So as a Coach, how do I champion the Client? What does that mean? Well, sometimes this is very simply. It is very Cheerleader – esque in that I become genuinely excited when my Clients achieve something which is on their list! But my job is to also help them see where they are making progress and to help them to take credit where credit is due. This can sometimes be tricky, because many people have an ingrained sense of what is of value which can be very minimalistic. Let me give you an example.

I spoke with one of my classmates a few nights ago. She mentioned that she had seen my blog and thought found the 15 Proficiencies to be very interesting. I told her I was doing this for two reasons: to expand and explore them in support of my continued learning and ICF certification and to potentially help some of the people who were curious about Coaching to get an idea of what a Coach does.

Her response was, what a great service.

I was stunned! Because I hadn’t thought of this as being of service! I down played it, and she reiterated that it really was a way for me to be of service because there were, indeed, many people who are interested in Coaching – either being coached or learning to Coach – but who simply didn’t know enough to ask relevant questions.

That is a fantastic example of championing the Client!

And even when a Client fails, the Coach recognizes their efforts,encourages them to continue to seek out a better way of doing something and showing up in the moment. This includes releasing judgments, anger, feelings of superiority or inferiority, unworthiness or other emotion which limits the Client. To take responsibility for their choices and actions, thus freeing the Client to make better, more supportive choices in the future.

How fun is that!

So, if you had someone who was always there, just for you, who would not only be your cheerleader, but also your champion, what could you do? What wold you achieve? Who would you become?

Things to think about. Until next time!

Nancie Kay Shuman

Proficiency #10: Shares what is there.

Monday, March 21st, 2011


So today I am going to talk about Coachville’s Proficiency #10: Shares what is there.

10. Shares what is there.

Clients rely on our observations, intuition and even our inklings to help move them forward in life. Hence, the more often, and easily, a coach can share what they see, feel and hear, the more value that can be created for that client. It’s often the tiniest, most subtle inklings that can act as powerful beacons and catalysts to the client’s life or business.


1. Share inklings.
2. Share observations.
3. Share what you are hesitant to share.

The key distinction is inkling vs. evidence.

I thought about this one for a while, which is why it’s late. not because it’s difficult, but because it can be difficult to explain let alone for someone to learn.

In Grad school, we practiced a skill called Accessing our Intuition. And the key to this was trusting ourselves. This is one of the ways in which Coaching and some Psychotherapy are similar. The real key is that the Coach needs to really trust in what they are hearing and seeing, not simply the words which the Client is saying.

The Coach also needs to trust themselves. They need to trust that they know what they are doing, that they are detached and communicating cleanly, that they are able to hone in on what is really going on with the Client. This Proficiency asks the Coach to really step beyond going by the book and engaging on a deeper level. Or as Yoda said, don’t try, do.

In a Blog about a year or so ago, I wrote about meeting a Psychoanalyst who had studied with Fritz Perls. As those long term readers will recall, the Psychoanalyst told me that he had left private practice several years ago because of boredom and had recently returned and was practicing in a way which was so far from the model, so not centered in his head, that it was almost unrecognizable. But not only were his clients doing well, he was having fun! My response was to remind him what Anna Pavlova said about Ballet dancing, Master technique, then forget it. The truth is that technique becomes instinctual. Once we release our having to think about it with every movement, we are then free to listen and and act from a deeper place. This is where the inklings come into play.

And what amazing things come forward when we move into that space! It is in this space that not only do we as Coaches do some of our best work, but it is where synergy with our clients happens! Because not only have we stepped into trusting ourselves, but we have shown our clients that they can trust us, our skills and our intuition. This leads to more openness and faster, easier and more gracefilled movement for the Client. Which is very exciting!

So, Coaches, what inklings do you have on a daily basis? What information are you able to access which isn’t necessarily on the books, so to speak? And what happens when you share that with your clients?

And Clients, what happens when your Coach is able to laser in and share what they see / hear / feel / know? How do you feel? And if they don’t do this, what might happen if they did?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Proficiency #9: Communicates cleanly.

Friday, March 18th, 2011


So today we get to look at Coachville’s Proficiency #9: Communicates cleanly. This Proficiency is interesting because, as the Coach, I have found it to be very revelatory to what is going on with me, as well as with the Client. Here is what the Proficiency says:

9. Communicates cleanly.

This should be obvious, yes? After all, the cleaner the communication, the less that gets in the way of great coaching. That said, most of us have ’stuff’ in our communication style, which slows down the super-conductive nature of the coaching process. Coaches have worked to clean up the stuff that can get in the way of effective coaching. What kind of stuff? Everything from biases, judgments, unmet needs, shoulds, coulds, to singularity, vicariousness, agendas, arrogance and fears. It can all be cleaned.


1. Transcend your reactions/smallness.
2. Share your biases/limits.
3. Be responsible for how you are heard, not just what you say.

The key distinction is absence of vs. unnecessary additives.

Most Coaches who are trained as Coaches, as opposed to those who have simply claimed the title*, are Coached prior to starting their own practice. Much as Psychotherapists go through the therapeutic process prior to becoming licensed, this is seen as a necessary step in order for the Coach to identify and let go of some of the filters and judgments which they bring with them.

Now, we all have stuff. Most of us have been living in the world as opposed to a monastery or convent in the mountains all our lives. We all have things which we bring to the table. The key, as I see it and as I have been taught, for the Coach is to learn a certain amount of separation. My personal beliefs, ideals, agendas are completely separate from that of the Client. This is a skill which a good Coach learns over time.

Now, there are times when the Coach is unable to detach from their own world view when working with a Client. When this happens and the Coach discovers that s/he is dealing with a lot of should, could, woulds, it is time for the Coach to stop and take responsibility for what is going on within themselves. What is being triggered? And if the issue is something which the Coach cannot detach from, a Coach with integrity will suggest that the Client might be better off working with someone else.

But, if the Coach chooses to work on detaching, and the Client is game, then one of the tools the Coach can use with themselves is via being aware of their language. To start with, being almost hyper aware. When they notice, shoulds, etc. coming forward, stopping and finding a way to re-language the question or statement. How to say something, ask a question, make an observation without judgment, superiority, bias or prejudice?

The other issue in this falls under “Be responsible for how you are heard and not just what you say.” This is confusing, especially as one of the core beliefs in modern thinking is that I, as an individual, am not responsible for some else reaction to me or to what I have said. While this is true, in the position of the Coach, our job is to help to keep communication between us and the Client open and trusting. When we take responsibility to communicate in a style which is non-judgmental, etc., the Client will feel more supported and heard. Thus will be more willing to share and explore. When the Coach uses language which is filled with judgments, etc, as stated above, the Client is less likely to be fully open and completely engaged.

Now, it is nearly impossible to do this 100% of the time. There inevitably will be someone whose communication style or world view is so different from the Coaches that it is not a good match. That is okay. Not a failure on the part of either the Client or the Coach. Simply a difference which cannot be over come. It is also an opportunity for the Coach to look at any places where they might want to explore any patterns, etc. which could be shifted. If this is appropriate. The Coach may find that there is nothing to be shifted and that this was simply a situation where, as said above, the world view and communication style were not compatible.

So, here is the question which I leave you with: what does your language say about you? What filters, judgments, etc. do you reveal when you are speaking? And if you let them go, who might you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Proficiency #8: Hones in on what is most important.

Thursday, March 17th, 2011


So we are at Proficiency #8! Half way through! This is exciting! Coachvilles eighth Proficiency is about Helping to see what is really important at that given moment and helping the Client to clear what is in the way so that they are able to access the information and the lessons which they are learning. Here is what Coachville has to say:

8. Hones in on what is most important.

Depending on the day, hour or even minute, what is most important to the client will change. Such is the nature of individuals in a high-growth phase of their lives. The Certified Coach is both quick to recognize this moving target and is flexible enough to adjust the coaching to be effective in this new terrain.


1. Ask the client what is most important, not just most urgent.
2. Focus on the shifts called for, not just the urgent business.
3. Continually get updated by what the client says is most important.

The key distinction is present moment vs. recent priority.

Stuff happens. And when we are working on moving forward, many things will come forward which need, nay demand, or immediate attention. These things sometimes are truly urgent, and other times simply appear to be and serve to get us off track!

My job as a coach is to help the Client quickly and respectfully sort through anything which may have come forward and is distracting him from his agenda and goals. We do this by helping the client to sort through what is going on and prioritizing what is most important with regards to their lives and their agenda. Recognizing that the two are not always the same.

A former HR Officer I used to work with would say to me, is it a living problem or a dying problem? This struck me as odd. bu ti thought about it can came to understand that in his eyes, living problems were things which can be handled in their own time. Most didn’t need to be addressed in crisis mode. As the Coach, I help my Clients to sort out which are living problems and which are dying problems. And where it is okay to reshuffle priorities without sacrificing the integrity of the long term project.

As the Coach, it is also part of my job to help the Client see where they are undercutting their progress by allowing minor issues to hold sway over the priority of their goals and the agenda. And asking them to take responsibility and choose how they intend to proceed. Without judgment, guilt of shame.

There will be times when utilizing this Proficiency will lead to the Client really asking what is it they want to achieve and what is really important to them. This is where a real shift can be made. And it is very exciting when it happens.

So, what are your priorities and what is the most important things to your growth? What might happen if you were to hone in on them?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Proficiency #7: Recognizes perfection in every situation.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011


So today I am writing about Proficiency #7. Recognizes perfection in every situation. At first, this can be a difficult Proficiency for people to see and understand. Here is what the experts at Coachville say about Proficiency #7:

7. Recognizes perfection in every situation.

One way of looking at life is to believe that everything happens for a perfectly good reason, even if we cannot always see or know that reason within our own lifetime. The point here is to look for and find how a client’s event, problem, situation or trait is perfect, even if it’s clearly not. Seeking to understand and recognizing perfection first, instead of offering tips, techniques and solutions as a knee-jerk reaction, is what the Certified Coach does naturally.


1. Transcend your own bias against the word “perfect.”
2. Identify the Greater Truth of the situation; perfection is in there.
3. Ask the client to find the perfection and/or share the perfection that you see

The key distinction is responding vs. reacting.

I think this is really key to a lot of things which are going on in the world. One of the first principals of Coaching which I was taught was to release judgments of good or bad, right or wrong. This is not easy, as we,as a society, are taught from a very young age that there are black and white distinctions in life and that these distinctions are what separate us from heathens and animals.

But let’s look at this for a moment. When someone buys into these beliefs, they limit themselves. Not to be insensitive, but i am going to use the current situation in Japan as a prime example. yes, it is tragic that thousands of people have dies in the earthquakes and the tsunami. And that many more have lost everything in their lives or have their lives as they have known them to be completely altered. But is it wrong?

This is a question which philosophers and others have been wrestling with since time immemorial. from a Coaching perspective, there is perfection in this.

How, you ask? Well, let’s look at this from a higher point of view. One writer said, Japan, you are always one of the first to give when ever there is a tragedy. We are honored to be able to return the favor. So this allows karma on a world wide level to be balanced.

On a more personal level, I have several friends in and around the Tokyo area who have discovered how generous the people in their lives are, even those who they don’t personally know except via blogs and their internet life. While there are better ways to find this out, they have all expanded their lives and their hearts due to this situation. This is exactly as it was meant to be.

And what about the awareness which many of us who are not directly effected – either by the earthquakes or by the tsunamis which have struck Hawaii and the West Coast – how many of us have become much more aware of the global nature of our lives? And we choose to be more mindful in our interactions with others and the planet? This, too is perfection.

Now, I can already hear people saying, what are you taking about!!!!! This is WRONG!!!!! But here is the key: it is through these situations which we, individually and as a body, are able to make choices and to decide how to move forward. Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” This is also where we can choose to see the perfection in what ever has happened or what someone has said.

Now, this does not mean that Coaches encourage behavior which is illegal, immoral or fattening. we understand that just because it is perfect, in what ever the stimulus, and Dr. Frankl called it, is is exactly what is needed in order to help the Client move forward and to bring forth greater awareness of what the Client is working towards and the various challenges which are currently blocking them from moving more easily towards that goal.

Now, one caution about this particular Proficiency: some clients will discover past patterns and instead of seeing the perfection, i.e. that this was part of their path to who they are now and in order to get to where they are intending to go, they say, “OH MY GOODNESS!!!! HOW SCREWED UP WAS I TO HAVE DONE / BELIEVED / BOUGHT INTO THAT!!!!!!” While a natural response, this does not help in the long run. There is a judgment about wrongness attached to that, and this many time is what keeps a Client from moving forward. It is when they see a past behavior which no longer serves them, can acknowledge that it did serve them at one time, and they can say, well, I don’t need to do that anymore, and simply leave is in the past, that they recognize the perfection. As the Coach, part of our job is to assist the Client to get there and one way of doing that is for the Coach to simply come from the World view that everything is perfect.

This can be a challenge, Until it isn’t any more. Practice and awareness. Those are the keys.

So, the question I have for you to take away from this is, where can you find perfection in one of your challenges? And in doing so, what changes?

Things to think about. Until next time.


PS: My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, New Zealand and throughout the Middle East as they all go through these amazing transitions.