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Good Coaching Is A Transmission of Clarity

January 19, 2020

If you listened into one of my private coaching sessions, you would hear something that would surprise you.

No motivational slogans. No pump-up energy. No “you can do its.”

And no, it definitely would NOT be the greatest hits from the cult of productivity:

“Dream big and set HUGE goals.” “Take massive action on those goals.” “Change your strategy until you succeed.”

What you’d hear 90% of the time…



I was. I never intended to transform the very serious work of helping someone improve their business or life with my own comedy act.

When I first got started coaching, I obsessively searched for the right way to coach. I read books, attended seminars, and found mentors.

But I never found the magic formula.

I never found the perfect words, or techniques, or framework that I could always use to spur someone to make a change in themselves — as much as this was promised by all those books, seminars, and mentors.

But before I came to this realization, I threw everything I “learned” into my coaching sessions. Fifteen years ago, my sessions (which all used to be in person) sounded something like this:

Me: “Ok, so you said you want to make 20 sales calls this week to hit your monthly goal. Are you committed to doing it? How do you know? What might stop you?”

My clients’ goals and problems seemed so serious so I felt like I had to take them seriously as well.

The problem was that those 20 calls my client committed to would rarely ever happen. The next week we’d meet again, they’d say, “Sorry, didn’t do it. Didn’t make a single call.”

I’d probe to find out why. We’d have a serious strategic conversation about what they could do to make a change: “Make your goal a SMART goal, write it down on a piece of paper, and tape it to your bathroom mirror. That way you’ll see it first thing in the morning and remember to take action on it.”

I laugh (and shudder) just thinking about that now. So serious. And definitely not addressing the larger problem. Of course that didn’t work. My clients would just show up the next week having still not made their calls. And I had no idea what the problem actually was.

I had no idea why clients would pay me and often not do the work they committed to doing.

I had my theories. But I didn’t really know.

I still don’t.

I don’t know what someone needs to hear, or what they have to let go of, or what technique they need to finally make a change in their life.

With experience, this is something I became willing to admit to myself.

I’m supposed to be the expert, and I don’t have any better idea now about what someone needs than I did 16 years ago when I started.

I do know this though…

When a human being’s mind is clear, good things happen.

When a mind is clear, problems can cease to exist. Motivation is readily available. Strategy and planning are obvious. Change is welcome and exciting…

…and so much more.

My job is not to invoke the magic coaching words or wisdom. Instead, it’s to transmit the clarity in my mind to others.

How do I do that?

Everyone has a way to do this naturally, but mine is to joke around.

With laughter comes relaxation. Relaxation brings clarity and insight. From there, problems can begin to be solved, and lives changed.

The next time you have to coach or influence someone, give this a shot. Forget about saying the right things; instead, just show up with your own mental clarity and watch it be imparted to someone else.

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