The Coach Between the Ears

Posted on October 14th, 2021 by The DSWA

I attended Coach Excellence School Express on a whim. My wife was attending and thought it might interest me. I was a recently promoted sales leader transitioning into my new role. I had leadership experience and had been a top-performing individual contributor, but the undertaking was daunting. The team was tenured, and some of the sales reps were also candidates for the position. I was looking for every advantage I could get. If my wife thought this school would offer me tools I could use in my new role, I did not want to miss out.

I had no preconceived notions about coaching, and despite a decade in sales and business leadership, I had hardly ever heard of business coaching. Most business schools I had attended focused on specific tactics for communication. “When they say that, you say this,” type of training that tends to apply to a narrow scope of interactions. At coach school, however, the faculty began with principles, not tactics. “Service, Trusts, Authenticity, Integrity, Respect.” These concepts applied to my leadership, the orientation of my heart toward others, and frankly, they challenged me. I was forced to reflect on my attitude and approach.

At lunch, I had the opportunity to sit with a woman attending coach school for a second time. She extolled the virtues of coaching and emphasized that it did improve her business. I was shocked when she shared that the single most significant benefit of her first coach school experience was actually the transformation it had on her relationship with her adult son. “I never listened to him,” she relayed through teary eyes, “and as a result, he shut down.” When she attended coach school her approach changed. “I learned how to ask questions,” she shared, “but more importantly, I learned how to ask them out of genuine curiosity and not judgment.” At that moment I realized that the next two-and-a-half days were going to be more about shaping the person I am, than about picking up a few new tips or tricks to put into use back at the office.

Since then, my wife and I have returned to Coach School Express multiple times. We have each attended Coach School Advanced twice. We have hosted a handful of coach schools in our hometown and one in our home. Now we are pursuing certification. Coach school has certainly changed the way we communicate, in business and as a family. My wife reminds me that we want to “live the message,” and we want our kids to grow up in a home where this type of communication is “who we be.” However, my biggest takeaway did not come from that first wonderful coach school experience. It actually took a lot of repetition for me to embrace the concept, and even then, the conversion has not come easily. The most significant impact of coach school on me personally has been self-coaching.

I do not get the privilege to coach clients every day. Even the busiest professional coaches I know take days off. And the DSWA’s 5 Coaching Skills (Empowering & Powerful Questions, Heart-Centered Listening, ICU Acknowledgment, Agreed Action & Accountability, and Compassionate Feedback) are not limited to coaching calls. These skills go with us everywhere and can be put to practice in all our relationships. There is one coaching opportunity that is always with us though. When we use our coaching skills with ourselves and take a coach approach to our internal communication, we are truly transformed.

Self-coaching is one of the first modules introduced in Coach School Express, but it took multiple coach schools before I realized that the enlightened vocabulary, giving people space and grace that I offered others in coaching were not the communication patterns I modeled for myself within the confines of my inner monologue. The “inner critic” was not just a casual acquaintance; he had become such a resident of my thought life that I scarcely recognized a time when he was not present. A good friend with a charming Mississippi accent once told me, “When you’re squeezed, it’s what’s inside that comes out.” I began to realize that, as much as I studied the coach approach, the potential transformation in my life would never be fully realized until the communication patterns changed from the inside out. Over time, and in the multiple coach schools we attended since this realization, I have begun to use the coach approach to both my internal and external communication. I believe this effort allows me to best serve my clients, my family, and myself.

These skills and this training will make a big difference in your business and your life. Enjoy the journey!


Brian Hendricks Bio

Brian Hendricks is a husband, father of seven, and coach.  He is passionate about improving communication patterns and leadership skills for the professional and family life of others.  Together with his wife Marni, Brian is especially committed to bringing the Coach Approach to couples and ministry leaders.

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This article was posted by the DSWA.