You’re not coaching, you’re just telling stories!

By Randy Kesterson,

Randy Kesterson

During the twenty years I have worked at the Vice President level, my role has included the call to coach members of my team and other extended teams.

My wife Susan and I walk together quite often, and we use the time to catch up on things.  One day Susan, a Certified Professional Coach, asked me how my week had gone.  I told her, with much pride, how I had coached a team member who had come to me with a work related problem he was struggling to solve.  I explained how I had told him one of my best stories which included an explanation of how I had faced a similar problem and had dealt with it.

She stopped in her tracks, looked at me with an incredulous expression on her face, chuckled a little, and said … “you’re not coaching, you’re just telling stories.”

Starting at that moment, I was determined to become a better executive coach.  I am proud to said that I have completed the Certified Professional Coach program at the Center for Coaching Certification and, now armed with a proven executive coaching methodology, I am on the way to becoming a much better coach.

Some of the greatest take-aways I had from the coach training include:

  • Coaching is defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as “… a strategic partnership in which the coach empowers the client to clarify goals, create action plans, move past obstacles, and achieve what the client chooses.”
  • A coach is NOT a: counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, advisor, mentor, consultant, or friend.
  • Coaching is client-focused, i.e., it’s all about the client and it’s critical to the coach-client relationship that we adhere to the coaching Code of Ethics.
  • People think, feel, and prioritize differently and we, as coaches, adjust our process to the client’s personality.

What is next for me in my coaching journey?  I plan to work as an executive coach upon retirement from industry.

What I know now that I wish I had known before I started is that being a good coach hinges on being a REALLY good listener. I guess we were given two ears and only one mouth for a reason!


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