FAILING MY MCC: #1 – EVERY END HAS A BEGINNING

 “Why do you want to become an MCC?” a coach once asked me.  At the time I couldn’t tell if the question was supportive, challenging or simply inquisitive.  But I answered honestly just the same.

I recalled stepping into my first weekend of coach training.  Like everyone else, I was new to the coaching world.  We all went around the circle introducing ourselves—saying something to the effect of, “Hi, I’m Ben, and I’m really excited about becoming a coach.  It turns out I’ve been coaching all my life in one form or another and this is such a perfect fit.  I know my purpose and passion now and I’m fully committed to this new course in my life.”

Something like that.  Perhaps it sounds familiar, like you said it yourself or you heard others say it.

It’s ok, we all say things like that when we’re stepping into something new and exciting—especially when it “feels right”.

On the final day of that first weekend, we had what was called an “open brown bag” conversation where we could ask our instructors anything about coaching and the topic of credentials and the ICF came up.

They explained about the three levels of credentials and that ACC would be similar to what we would get from our Certification course should we continue.  And then there was this level called MCC.

Something in me sparked to awakening.  It would take me the next 10 years to discover that it was my Inner Master Coach coming to life.  It was he who spoke—ever so softly that I could barely hear it—saying, “Yes.”

I perhaps should preface this by saying that before I had discovered coaching I had spent nearly 18 years prior as a “working” actor in Chicago.  I say “working” because although I kept getting hired and cast for things, I could see others in my circles getting much more work.  Actors who were no better than I was, talent and skill-wise, and some who even were not as skilled, were making decent money.  And I knew exactly why.  I watched them treat their acting as a full business.  They took on their marketing, they immersed themselves in their branding, they continually reinvented themselves, they spent whatever they could to reinvest in themselves—either in their business or in their training and skill development, or both.  And while I certainly wasn’t against doing any of that, I didn’t have the powerful and consistently active drive to keep getting bigger and better.

I was content with doing the rounds, taking a class perhaps from time to time, and waiting for my agent to do all the work for me and then call me when auditions or jobs came up.  Which they did… from time to time.

It was enough to sustain… barely.

So I was always forced (like so many other actors and artists) to take a “day job”.  And then stuck in the dilemma of finding a job that wasn’t mind numbing, but would also offer the flexibility of being able to do the “acting thing.”

Bottom line, I knew that if I was going to succeed I needed to treat my acting as a real business, rather than a nice money-making hobby, which is more what I was really doing.

So it was in that Sunday circle when I had what you might call an epiphany.  At least it was for me.

Here I was stepping out of the aimless wandering of acting and stepping into what could easily be more aimless wandering.  If I wasn’t careful I was going to spend the next 10 years of doing exactly what I had done in acting, but in coaching.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some pretty decent success.  I’ve done just about any type of acting job that’s out there (except Major Motion pictures—and even then I’m all over the background in “Rookie of the Year”.  I’m the guy in the stands in the Batman shirt when everyone is chanting “Throw it back!”—pretty easy to spot when you know what to look for—but that’s a metaphor for another post) but nothing that was sustainable.  Nothing that felt like, “Yeah, I’ve got myself really established and set in.”  Nothing that would indicate I was really playing a big game.  And here I was, getting ready to do it all over again, just changing the title on the outgoing voice mail.

The bigger irony was that I was likely investing several thousand dollars to wander aimlessly in this new place, pretending to call myself a coach and not really committing—just like my acting career.  Sure, I’d get clients here and there, perhaps enough to make it feel like I was doing ok, and not low enough to give it up.  Same trap, different label.  I knew that if I was going to do this thing called coaching, and if I was going to be true to those words that I said earlier that week of “This is my new direction and purpose,” I was going to have to step out of that comfort zone and learn how to treat this like the business that it was.

That meant two things.

  1. A) Learn how to do business. (I now encourage any and every student going into college, “For God’s sake, take a business course so you can learn the basics of Money, Marketing, and Business. Even if you’re not going into business, you will use this in your life.”) Amazingly that same “Open Topic circle” they offered a new opportunity—a beta testing of a Business Development Program that they were starting up.
  2. B) I needed to put into action the very things that I was learning that weekend. Specifically I needed to have a clear vision and motivating goal. Something that would keep me focused and moving forward.  Something to strive for.  Something that would encourage me to move forward when I wanted to stop.  And the answer was so obvious.  I wanted to be an MCC.

It was really perhaps my first “coaching experience” where I was truly impacted me in a deep and profound way  (there have been many others since, but let’s be honest, a lot of that early coaching is more about learning the skills and tools, and while we experience change in the moment, or rather the opportunity and inspiration of change, those insights rarely last.  But this one was different.  I knew when I heard those letters and what they represented, that if I was to really be serious in this coaching world, I needed to achieve that status.

Not that being an MCC would instantly be the solution or final stage.  I knew that I might not ever achieve it.  After all, they reminded us all, it stands for Master Certified Coach.

But I knew that I needed to give my everything to try.  I can’t explain it any more than that.  It wasn’t about vanity, it wasn’t about some sort of vainglorious hope that if I reached that status then I would automatically be pulling in millions of dollars.  But it was still important.  Personally.

Of course there were just a few things I had to accomplish first—like my first weekend of training, getting clients, getting experience, getting money, getting certified at the basic level, grow my business, become more powerful and skilled, do more training, get more hours of experience, get my PCC credential, then coach for a really long time to get more hours of experience and training and then…

Maybe then…

I would get my MCC.

I didn’t clearly realize it at the time, but it was this powerful and personal vision that kept me moving.  Every now and then I would reconnect with what I wanted, and more importantly, why I wanted it, and that would fuel me to keep moving forward, keep tracking my hours and accomplishing all my smaller goals—step by step.

And so my journey began.

 

(This is just the beginning of an amazing #17 part roller coaster ride.  Follow the saga.  Discover insights, learn from my experience, utilize everything here to help you grow your own coaching, whether you pursue this direction or something else.  And it all can be found here.

So… what was the lesson you got from this?

When you embark upon something new, something big, something possibly scary, overwhelming and “oh crap”, it’s critical to look at a few important things.

A) What makes this important to you?  Trust me, that’s going to come in handy later on.

B) What’s the vision or dream?  Yeah, this is going to be pretty important, too, later on.

C) What will it be like if you don’t do this important work?  In other words, i knew that if I didn’t approach this whole thing differently, it would likely be the same overall experience as my acting.–fun, fulfilling (to a degree) but not truly realized.  This also begins to reveal our own personal habits, strengths and weaknesses, fears and concerns and all that stuff that would likely come in if not checked.)

D) Follow your own words.  There’s going to be so much about this and the other things and so much more to come in the following chapters, but it all bears repeating.  In this case, we need to honor our words.  Our coaching tools, distinctions, models, core foundations principles and all that stuff is there for a reason.  And if we’re not going to use our own product, then we’re going to have a really hard time selling it with confidence.

It’s more than just knowing this coaching stuff works, it’s truly KNOWING it works.

And it can ONLY WORK if we actually DO it.

So pick something that you want to create, achieve, build, grow or realize.  (Mine currently is to create a membership platform where 10,000 coaches can access all of these posts, audio recordings, video lessons, master classes and cutting-edge webinars, and YOU’RE INVITED to join in on the Free Access to Great Stuff level.  Check it out and get all the Great stuff.)

“THINK AND GROW RICH”

“The greatest achievements of men were at first nothing but dreams in the minds of men who knew that dreams are the seedlings of all achievements.  A burning desire to BE and to DO is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off.”

– Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”

As far as I’m concerned, this is a must read for any coach (that means you).  I don’t know if I really can do justice to the content.  Basically, this is the grand-daddy of all those secret/law of attraction books and programs.  This is the one that really put it all together in the first place.

And it’s not really about money, as the title might suggest, but more about the riches in your life.

Look, there’s a reason why this book has been continually reprinted and on the best seller list since 1938.  That’s right, this book is over 80 years old.  And while some of the language is a bit old (unless you pick up a revised edition) the content is astonishingly applicable today—perhaps even more so than at the time of it’s research and writing.

Get it.

Do yourself a favor, and get it.

If you ever wanted to discover your future, create your life, realize your potential, and step into your success, this is the book for you.

And it all begins with this first quote.

Read it again.

And then get this book.

FLICK PICKS: “GUARDING THE TRENCHES”

There’s this great classic Laurel and Hardy movie called, “Blockheads”.   The movie begins during World War One (WW2 had not occurred yet as this movie was made in 1937) and Stan Laurel has been given the charge of guarding the fort as the rest of the platoon head out to battle to fight the unknown enemy.

The battle is won (or lost, I can’t remember), the war ends and everyone goes home.  There is great celebration in the streets.  Everyone begins to move on with their lives, get jobs, get married, and the camera fades out.

The camera fades back in.  It’s twenty years later.  And there is Stan Laurel, still pacing up and down in front of the fort, so much so, that’s he’s actually worn a trench so deep into the ground that we can only see his bayonet sticking above the surface, bouncing back and forth.

“Great.  Sounds rip-roaring hilarious.  I’ll go rent it right away.  So why are you sharing this lovely bit of cinematic history?”

Well, imagine that you have your very own loyal and devoted Stan Laurel inside you.  (I know, perhaps not the most comforting thought.  But stay with me)  And you have placed him in charge of protecting and guarding a vulnerable part of yourself while the rest of you goes out into the world.  He knows his job and he’s committed to keeping you safe.

Time passes, you grow, you change, your life goes in new and exciting directions.

Now you’re grown, and that old “battle” is long over.  That threat that was once there is no longer.  And yet, Your “Stan” remains faithful to his post, pacing back and forth, ever alert, ready to defend against any “would be” attackers, for the next ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years of your life.

Sounds to me like one of my many old habits—ones that, while they might have served a purpose at some point in my life, aren’t serving me any more.  I wonder, how many of my own “Stans” are still remaining loyal to their post, ever alert to protect me at the slighted sense of threat, and they’re not really needed any more?  There’s nothing behind those fortress walls any more.  And perhaps it is finally time for me to journey back to that old fort and relieve “Stan” from his duties.

At least let him change his socks.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: “Too Much Mustard?”

A while back, I went in to Cleveland to celebrate not only Thanksgiving with the family, but my 40th birthday.  I had commented to my wife that I really miss BertmanIOriginal Ballpark stadium mustard that I can only get there.  (It’s awesome… some of the best mustard I’ve ever had.  I know, how can you compete with childhood memories.  But truly, and I really mean this… it’s awesome stuff.)

Unbeknownst to me, my darling bride had contacted all the guests coming to the party and suggested that they bring mustard.  And they did.   By the end of the party, I had accumulated 6 individual bottles of mustard, not counting the additional bottle that I had bought for myself earlier.  Now, I’m loaded with 7 bottles of awesome mustard… all because I simply asked for it.  Of course, the other thing to point out is that I didn’t just ask and then sit back and wait for the magical gifts to come pouring in.  I went out and took action myself.

Looking at it from a “Law of Attraction” way, the Universe saw me requesting in conjunction with being committed to acquiring my desire, and said,

“Mustard?  Sure.  Here you go,” and handed me the condimental motherload.

Basically, the lesson to remember is… If you want it, first you have to ask for it (and you never know who might be listening and be in a position to either say “yes” or spread the word.) and then make the steps and the commitment to go out and get it yourself.

So that said, as this is in the beginning of this book, and therefore a great symbol for “new beginnings”, I call upon you (dear reader) to declare one thing that you want right now.  Make it really clear and specific, and “Ask for it”.  Also determine what action(s) you are willing to take to achieve it.  Tell at least 10 people what you are wanting and what you will do to get it, and then go out there and start getting into action.

To give you all another clear example of what I’m talking about, when my client load is getting low, I make a declaration to myself and to my wife and my own coach.  Something like:

“I, Ben Dooley, CPCC, PCC* coach to Coaches success, declare that by (pick a date) I will have two new full paying clients who are ready to work with me and get amazing results in their coaching development and learning.”

Then, (and this is the important part) I get into action to find them so that I can make it happen.   Just sitting back and waiting for it to come just cause you asked for it is kind of lazy.  And just going off into action without asking for it is reckless.  But combined together, the two work powerfully, much like a hot dog nestled in a bun… with some delicious Stadium mustard.

*(Yeah, I’m now an MCC)

FOLLOW UP ADDENDUM: Since then, we’ve discovered that you can also get it online, too.  http://bertmanballparkmustard.com/

Get some for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.  And if you’re feeling very grateful for this blog post and you want to find some way to say thanks…  Just throwing out a suggestion of where you could send a bottle.)

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: “FROM SOUP TO TASKS”

Sometimes our brains are like a bowl of alphabet soup.  Our thoughts and all the things we want to do are like the letters jumbled around.  And sometimes trying to accomplish anything is like dunking your spoon and trying to make a word out of what comes up.  It’s not so easy.  But if we take the letters out of the bowl, we can then see more clearly what we have to work with.  We can start making sense of it all, and even identify those bits of carrots and celery floating about.  It’s the same thing when we write down on paper our thoughts or tasks to do.  Just by the simple act of writing it out, suddenly, we’re able to see clearly all the stuff we’re really dealing with.  We’re able to organize and prioritize what we want to focus on and clean out all the things we really don’t (like the carrots and celery.  Sheesh.  I mean, let’s be real.  If I wanted to eat that stuff, I’d order a vegetable stew.)

If all your thoughts are feeling jumbled and hard to keep clear and organized.  Simply take 5 minutes to write them down.  Go ahead.  Dump out your bowl of soup onto the page so you can clearly see all the contents, get them in order, toss out the things you don’t want, and focus on what is really worth your time and energy.

There’s some great benefit to this simple action.

Not only does it help you clarify and organize, but it also is the first step to creating an alignment between your inside thoughts and your outside reality.  In other words, by getting it out of your head and on to the page, your thoughts are now outside of you, where they can then grow into something big and real.

By just taking a little extra time to organize, clear out, and prioritize, you now have plenty of time to sit back and savor your soup.

“It’s Showtime!”

It’s wonderful when we can learn powerful lessons from movies.  The experience can be so visceral that the impact can be tremendous.  That said, there are two wonderful documentaries out there that I highly recommend you rent.

“What?  What is this?  I’m reading this to be a better coach.  Not to build my DVD collection.”

Bear with me.  The first one is “Children Will Listen” where 100 students from Inner City schools all converged to perform a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” The other film is “Yellow Brick Road,” which follows a production of “The Wizard of Oz” with a cast of players with disabilities, both physical and mental.  For anyone to attempt either of these performances must be up for a challenge.  “Into the Woods” is a very difficult production for even the highly trained actor.  The music is complex, the undertones are multi-layered, the subtext, the emotions, the themes, the lessons, all of that can keep the most skilled performer super packed at the brink of overwhelm in a three-month rehearsal period as they struggle to get it “right.” While “Oz” is so well known that any production will invariably be compared with the legendary movie.  And how can anyone match that?  But these concerns are not part of the cast’s experience in these documentaries.  They aren’t concerned with doing it as good as some another “professional” version, they’re not comparing themselves to other actors, but they are genuinely grateful for the opportunity they have and they are determined to give it their all.  What is revealed is not their majestic skill, but their courage, their innocence, their passion, and their humanity.  It’s their commitment to simply be authentic that is the magic.  They can only be exactly who they are, and when they reveal that to the audience, it’s spellbinding. Regardless of how hard they have worked (and they sure do work hard), lines can be dropped, sets can fall apart, cues missed, and any other sort of “mistake” occurs, and it’s all overlooked.  Because the power of authenticity is amazing, and it always beats “doing it right” every time.

“Great.  Far out.  I’ll go rent them and have a film festival.  In the meantime, how does this help me with my coaching?”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, just like these performances, the secret to powerful coaching is just what is revealed in these films—the willingness to show yourself authentically.  Never underestimate its power.  It’s fine to have a script, someone else’s words (like your training), but it’s even more important that you get to shine through those words.

How to do it is a while ‘nother thing.  And for some of us, that stretch out of the comfort zone can be really uncomfortable.  It may feel naked, risky, dangerous, vulnerable.  But, like these performers, all you need is a little direction, a little script to follow, and a little feedback.  The rest comes with just a little practice.

Before you know it, it’s Showtime, and you’re the star.

Our recent Coaching Skills Forum Call – ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I know I say this all the time, but THIS CALL WAS AMAZING!

And a special appreciation to all the coaches who joined me on this exciting and powerful coach-growing conversation

Whatever you thought you knew about ACKNOWLEDGMENT i will wonderfully recognize that you probably know a lot.

AND there WILL be an insight, discovery and complete deepening or even redesign of what you think you know about this powerful coaching skill.

Don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself.

 

And then come to WWW.COACHINGSKILLSFORUM.COM for more free recordings and join us for our next amazing CSF call.

Your coaching will never be the same!

50 days of Coaching Skills Forum recordings – ENJOYS THE CLIENT IMMENSELY

Ok, it’s no secret that you ENJOY your clients.

But do you ENJOY THEM IMMENSELY?

Just what the heck does that mean?  And how does it REALLY show up in your coaching?

Go on, have a listen this call for yourself and you WILL discover something new, exciting and powerful to bring into your coaching immediately.

And then visit www.coachingskillsforum.com for all the upcoming dates where you can join us live, or access over 325 other recordings.

(CCEUs are also available.)

 

50 days of Coaching Skills Forum recordings – ENGAGES IN PROVOCATIVE CONVERSATIONS

Yes, that’s what we do.  We ENGAGE in Provocative Conversations with our clients.

And THE COACHING SKILLS FORUM is all about ENGAGING PROVOCATIVE CONVERSATIONS.

Go on, have a listen this call for yourself and you WILL discover something new, exciting and powerful to bring into your coaching immediately.

And then visit www.coachingskillsforum.com for all the upcoming dates where you can join us live, or access over 325 other recordings.

(CCEUs are also available.)

 

50 days of Coaching Skills Forum recordings – ENERGY

Everything is ENERGY.

Our Thoughts are ENERGY

Our Emotions are ENERGY

Our Beliefs are ENERGY

Our Bodies are ENERGY

EVERYTHING IS ENERGY

So already, I’m sure you can see how this shows up in our coaching.  But what don’t you know?  And wouldn’t you like to find out?

Go on, have a listen this call for yourself and you WILL discover something new, exciting and powerful to bring into your coaching immediately.

And then visit www.coachingskillsforum.com for all the upcoming dates where you can join us live, or access over 325 other recordings.

(CCEUs are also available.)