Thoughts About Coaching Mastery

by Donna Karlin

Coaching is more than proficiency;
it's talent, ebb and flow of idea, thoughts and insights, discerning what the
client isn't telling us. For those coaches who feel they have to be in control
of the process, well then it's about the coach, not the client and in that case,
are we giving the clients what they truly need or are we giving them what they
think they can get from us? There's nothing masterful about that.

One of the things I love
about the IAC is that they look at the level of mastery for credentialing, not
just proficiency.

To use a music analogy,
one can learn to play the piano, be very proficient at learning a piece of music,
and very capable of performing it, but those who become masterful and engage
the audience are those who listen to what the music speaks to and in turn shares
it. The notes seem to flow from a place beyond rigid proficiency of execution;
the music is an extension of the performer.

A masterful coach lives
in the world of nuance and subtlety, hears the unspoken word and goes there
with no fear of what will be uncovered, thereby making it safe for the client
to explore that pushed aside place as well. The results are discovery, for some
breakthrough, but for all in one way or another, evolution.

I often wonder if coaches
remember to ask themselves the question "Why did this person hire me to coach
him/her in the first place? Is that reason the truth of the situation or a screen
for something deeper? Have I paid attention enough to find out?"


Donna Karlin CEC, founder
of A Better Perspective™ (
has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow
™ with over 130 senior organizational leaders in the public and
private sectors, and national and global political realms. Donna is an author,
lectures internationally and in response to widely expressed interest to her
highly successful and innovative approach to coaching, she established the School of Shadow
™ to enable others to learn the practice.

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