You can never have too much coaching

by: Aileen Gibb


In my last post, I talked about the need for every coach to have a coach.

Today I experienced being coached in two very different ways on the same topic. Both were powerful and it made me think about the phenomenal value to be found in working with more than one coach. I’m thinking that I can never be ‘over-coached’ given the essential purpose, intention and deep desire to serve the client’s needs that are inherent in all great coaching.

It was pretty clear to me that I needed some coaching. I had got myself into a confused muddle, preparing to speak at TEDx Canmore 2016. The theme is EVOLVE – and I went through at least three evolutions in the short period of 12 hours today, accelerated by the excellent coaching conversations with my two coaches.

My own inner coach wasn’t doing the job. I had had a sleepless night, going round in circles, feeling that I couldn’t land the focus for my TEDx talk. Maybe it was the full moon shining bright outside the window but something was for sure stirring up my inner doubt. Why can’t I get clear on what I want to say? What if I don’t have a message to share? How will I compare to the amazing-sounding scientists, explorers, and adventurers that are also on the line-up? How do I comply with the TEDx rules? And what can I achieve in only ten minutes? Sometimes as experienced coaches, we might think we should be able to work out our own stuff. It speaks to the essential nature of coaching that we can do so much better, when we own that we too get stuck in our limitations and move forward only when we surrender to being the client ,inviting one (or more) of our masterly colleagues to do their job with us.

I woke up to an early morning call with my first coach. I confessed to my confusion and doubt. He didn’t buy into any of ‘my stuff’. His approach is high energy, with lots of laughter, honest talking and direction (he comes from theatre and acting so we are using some techniques from that world to get creative with my talk). He’s pulling out the performer in me. I read through the latest version of my ‘talk’ to him – and ,gently warning me that this might be difficult for me to hear, he gracefully asked for my permission to “blow up” everything I’d written. It was boring. He wanted me to do better. Like a movie director, he helps me to do multiple takes and keeps me working, reworking, and practicing until it feels great. He knows that when I’m feeling great about it and having fun with it, that’s what my audience are going to experience. I left this morning’s conversation with the next ‘take’ and spent the morning re-writing with this new guidance. I’m on a new and more inspiring track with it. I can feel it’s starting to get there. Thank you Coach 1.

In my IAC Path to Mastery Triad I brought up the same topic. I was still a bit troubled by how caught up in my inner voice I had been in the morning. I thought I wanted to look at what that meant for me. To analyse why it was so easy for me to get caught up in doubt and negative mind-talk. I told my IAC Masteries Coach the day’s story and what I’d been experiencing. I said I just wanted to use our coaching time to explore that and maybe come away with a better understanding of myself. What I got was so much more.

Coach 2 resisted following me down the rabbit hole of trying to analyse my negative story. With deep appreciation, he was exemplary in trusting that my story could shift if we focused on the future and what I sought to achieve. I was held in a deeply meaningful and trusting listening space (Masteries 1 and 3) and it needed only a few very powerful, open, future-focused questions to shift my perspectives and unlock some layers of potential and possibility (Masteries 2 and 7) in my own abilities as a storyteller that will serve me very well in approaching my TEDx audience in a more authentic and inspiring way. I processed numerous layers of awareness and captured several insights that brought me to a more powerful stance for approaching this project.

The value of an IAC Masteries coach was evident and hugely valuable. The combined power of the IAC approach, with a second approach to develop my technique in a new way, has been priceless. There are still several weeks of rehearsal and probably numerous further ‘takes’ for my TEDx talk to be what I envisage it to be. I’ll be taking every opportunity to be coached and will remember that:

“Not a single person is born in the world who has not a certain capacity which will make him proud, who is not pregnant with something to produce, to give birth to something new and beautiful, to make the existence richer. There is not a single person who has come into the world empty. Osho”

(This article originally appeared on


Aileen Gibb

My work has taken me around the globe and to conversations with people from many different nationalities, cultures and organisations. Wherever I've gone, the power of real conversation, founded on intentional listening and enlightened questioning, has been welcomed. It’s a core piece of our humanity to create the space for conversations that matter and to build connection and meaning with members of our family, our business and our communities.

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