Top 10 Lessons Learned From Coaching 100 People

I have recently reached the number of 100 coaching clients, which I have worked with individually in just under 4 years. It’s been an awesome learning and development experience, not only for my clients but also for myself. I feel like one big chapter in my career has closed and another one is opening.

Like the end of any big chapter, it’s a moment for celebration as well as reflection for me. Looking back at these communication coaching experiences, there are 10 essential lessons I draw, which I want to share with you. The first part of the lessons is about the coaching process in itself, the second part is about people skills and how to improve them.

1. If you want hardcore results, go for coaching

You can read book and articles, you can go to trainings and seminars, but if you want to see the fastest, most powerful self-improvement, often in unexpected ways, choose coaching. The fact that it’s a 100% customized experience and all the focus is on you, provided that you work with a good coach, makes coaching one hell of a learning experience. I have rarely seen people improve and have such breakthroughs as they did in the coaching process.

2. Revealing blind spots is the key benefit of coaching

If there is one positive effect you can get in coaching better than through any other self-improvement process, it’s seeing your blind spots: revealing ways of thinking or behaving you had no idea that you had, or realizing their real impact. Often in working one-on-one with a person, the moment when she sees one huge blind spot she had is very meaningful and emotionally charged. It is an opportunity to make big decisions and create great change.

3. If you don’t follow-through, you are making a huge waste

One of the fundamental roles of coaching is to help you discover things which set the foundation for solid and effective future improvement. This is why strong follow-through is very important. If you don’t apply what you discovered through the coaching process and you don’t practicing between and after the coaching sessions, the results you’ll get will be considerably lower and less impressive. It’s like buying a Ferrari and only driving it at 50 mph.

4. Specialization is power

I don’t do coaching on anything. My niche is helping people put their best foot forward in communication and improve people skills; my approach is based on developing underlying attitudes just at much if not more than actual skills. This specialization helped me grow very fast as a coach and learn how to create the best result for my clients. After working with 100 clients, I feel that I am a true professional in communication coaching, and I have the real-world results to back it up.

5. Honesty is money

I once told a friend that one of the reasons a person or company is paying you in coaching is the fact you are willing to tell and show someone things others are not. For example, to the intimidating manager with poor listening skills that nobody is willing to give some honest feedback about. I am now even more convinced that honest feedback is one of the most valuable things you can provide as a coach. I think it’s a pity that such a scarcity of honest feedback exists, but that’s where a big coaching opportunity lies.

6. Communication skills are the thing to invest in

Sometimes I am asked why I chose to help others improve their communication skills instead of improving something else. It is because I believe that cutting edge communication skills are the thing worth having and worth developing. The right people skills in general and the right communication skills in particular can skyrocket your career, your relationships and your life. Everyday, I see the huge difference having and sharpening them makes.

7. The big difference comes from working on attitudes

You can’t really have awesome communication and people skills without the right attitudinal foundation. This is something which I think applies for many other soft skills as well. At the end of the day, your attitude will make or break your aptitude. This is why I put a lot of emphasis on attitude transformation and I work with many of my clients on changing beliefs, thinking patterns and emotional reactions. Often, it’s all downhill from there.

8. It’s about creating a unique social style which matches your strengths

I don’t believe there is one exact style of interacting socially which works best. I think there are multiple styles, with common patterns between them. This is why I don’t teach exact formulas for communication and social interactions, but rather principle and guidelines. The thing is to find a social style for yourself which capitalizes on your strengths instead of ignoring them or opposing them, and to develop that style.

9. A huge part of the improvement is expressing yourself

Most of us don’t really express ourselves authentically, outside of very specific contexts. We have learned to play games, to put on facades as a way to try and get the approval of others. This rarely works and it does a lot more harm than good in the long term. What we really need to learn more of is how to put our real selves out there, more and better: our needs, our dreams, our ideas, beliefs and feelings.

10. We need to teach people skills methodically from the age of 5

Well, we don’t really need to; we would definitely benefit tremendously from it however. Many of the problems our society has are the result of people not knowing how to relate to other people effectively. Even some of the problems which seem caused by poverty, corruption or crime at a first glance are often generated and maintained at a deeper level by people having bad skills with people.

For me, coaching others to improve their communication and people skills, combined with tuning my own skills is a very fulfilling process. One I will definitely keep at for many years to come. The journey continues…

Image courtesy of Voj

Comments

  1. Some fabulous lessons here. I’d say it’s all true. There’s nothing like choosing someone you want to work with then paying them to make sure you follow through. Point number 5 is a good one because so often our friends, relatives and colleagues don’t want to tell us the hard truth – that the website we just spend 10k on sucks or out avatar image makes us look like a gargoyle! But if I’m being paid to help someone I’m morally olbliged to tell them the hard truth and because they’ve paid me and value my opinion they listen:)

    • Hi Annabel,

      Point 5 (honesty) is a subject I constantly approach in my coaching and training. I find that most of us can benefit a lot from becoming more honest. And some from becoming a whole lot more honest! 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed this Eduard. It really gives a good insight into the benefits of coaching and it’s also great to hear the benefits you have found as a coach. Well done on this chapter and look forward to hearing more about the next. I am looking myself at how to specialize at the moment so this was timely for me too.
    Thanks!
    Jen

    • Hey Jen,

      The point when I chose my niche was a fun one (it took me about 6 moth to choose :)). And the moment I decided what to specialize on and knew that was it… awesome. Good luck with this!

  3. Eduard

    I enjoyed this post. I wish more coaches were as open and clear as you are about what coaching with them could do.

    For any type of coaching it is about working with someone who can help you discover your own unique route – not about a coach imposing a one size fits all solution and this comes across clearly in your post.

    I think the magic about coaching is the fact that it is all about the individual. As coaches we have no fixed agenda – it is all about the client and what the client wants. How often can any of us say that we have an interaction with anyone where it is all about us.

    You must be proud of your site. Lots of really useful info explained in a clear way.

  4. Hi Eduard.

    Cool set here. Was glad to check my way through these. I can certainly see that coaching would reveal blind spots. Sometimes we don’t see something that is on our table until someone mentions it, and then we remember that we have it. In the same way, we miss out on a lot of opportunity because we can’t see it, but someone else can, so it is like they are proofreading our actions.

    We should all think that it is kind of funny that it takes much understanding to express ourselves, but a lot of our expression is held back by choice because of one reason or another. A lot of folks feel like they can’t be creators or producers or whatnot.

    Many of the winners out there use coaching, much to the surprise of some, but not to the surprise of those who understand its value.

    • Hey Armen,

      Their is this saying: ‘Not seeing the forest because of the trees’. I think it’s a common thing for many people, and this is where coaching can help better that anything else.

  5. Hi Eduard

    This is a fantastic milestone to celebrate! Congratulations. I feel your motivating energy with this post and it feels good. And I love the points you shared.

    I have not considered doing coaching in the past, but now more and more I feel like I am being called to coach people – my niche would be the “Holistic Life Coach” – mainly how to balance all aspects of one’s life for optimal health and happiness.

    And as much as I feel called to that area though… in the back of my head, I think a bit about your number 3 – what happens when people don’t follow through and still expect your help (I mean I know the options) but I don’t know if I am ready to deal with those, should the need arise…

    And secondly, the reason I never wanted to become a psychologist or anything, was to avoid getting too wrapped up in other people’s energy. I have good skills for energy boundaries, but I still wonder. What is your experience with this?

    • Hi Evita,

      I think it’s cool that you already know what your best niche in coaching would be. Considering what I know about you from your writing, I think holistic coaching would be a good fit for you. That’s like helping people reach their destination without killing the driver ;).

  6. “Even some of the problems which seem caused by poverty, corruption or crime at a first glance are often generated and maintained at a deeper level by people having bad skills with people.”
    Yeah, and people living in poverty, in corrupt and crime-ridden places probably don’t have money to pay for personal coaching, so there you go.

    • Funny you should mention that. I know people who do volunteer coaching with other people in very poor communities. Coaching or not, there is a way out for everybody.

  7. Irina Gheorghe says:

    I enjoyed reading this post and am so pleased to see that you are doing great! Keep it up, you are a real source of inspiration!

  8. Eddy –

    Huge congratulations on a great milestone. It is a testament to your skill and staying power that you’ve worked with so many great clients. As (another) coach I agree with pretty much everything you’ve written here. I think the point on follow up is critical – unless the intention and action matches, coaching won’t get you there. In life we take responsibility for ourself and working with a coach still needs personal commitment. A good coach will then put rocket fuel in your journey and move you forward faster – by pointing out blind spots, developing skills and sharing expertise. Great stuff, sir – really enjoyed this.

    Phil

    • Thank you Phil, and excellently put: a coach can only do so much for you. He can help you see your options, find your way, but we cannot take the journey for you.

  9. I couldn’t agree more about teaching children, I think they should learn, not only people skills, but about attitudes to life, finances, law of attraction (in whatever guise it is presented this week) and other skills for success. I think this would be more beneficial that knowing how to calculate the circumference of a circle……….

    • Hey Kate,

      There is definitely a big list of important skills and attitudes we as a society do not teach. Only those who take their improvement into their own hands end up learning them.

  10. Communication skills are king. Among the communication skills, Covey says empathic listening is the #1 skill.

    You’ve probably heard it before, but Zig Ziglar has a nice quote that echoes your point: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”.

  11. Your right Ed. It’s all about following thought and making a leap of faith. Believing in possibility and moving without resistance. Putting into practice what you learned and working towards it. I think if we all did that in positive way. We will reach our goal quicker than usually and never ask ourselves, what happened? Why isn’t this working? If we are consistent, then we get consistent result, which will stop us from questioning our realities.

    • Hey Jonathan,

      Consistency is one of those traits I appreciate the most. My own personal development and my coaching experience showed my just how important it is if you want to improve.

  12. congratulates on your achievement Edurad:)
    your article was very helpful too 🙂

  13. Congratulations on hitting 100 clients Eduard. There are some really powerful lessons here that I’m going to keep in the back of mind during the first few months of my coaching work (which started recently). Thanks

    • Thanks Ben,

      Looking forward to reading your first article after reaching 100 coaching clients. Although I do believe quantity is less important then quality here 😉

  14. Hi Eduard

    First of all, congratulations on reaching 100, what a great milestone.

    Having had the benefit of a coach I can vouch for the lessons you highlight, however, #3 has got to be the most important. Without following through on the action points, it is most definitely a wasted opportunity.

    • Hi Matthew,

      Thanks. That lesson no. 3 about follow through would have been there even in a top 3 of my coaching lessons. It’s that important in my perspective.

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