I saw this statement in a post asking for thoughts on what hourly rate a coach should charge. The suggestion is that if all coaches are the same then all coaches should charge the same hourly rate.
I’m currently trying to work out how much brainwashing would be required to make all coaches the same!
Even amongst my own practitioners who have all undergone the same training I see a huge variation in approach. I encourage this rather than try to stamp it out. Why try to turn back the tide when you could actually harness the power of the individual and put it to good use?
Teaching one system to a group of eight people offers me the opportunity to see that system reinterpreted eight ways via the unique skills of those eight people. This is one of the absolute joys of training for me. Of course there are ground rules, clear boundaries that are not be to crossed. Within those boundaries is a safe creative space where individuals are encouraged to be themselves, to develop their strengths, to discover what more they are capable of. This begins in my Practitioner Training and it’s one of the big themes of my Master Practitioner Training because to me developing an individual approach is an essential element of Mastery.
If coaching were a sole matter of one size fits all then I’d save myself a lot of time by pre-recording my coaching questions into an automated system so people could log in and be coached by a digital version of me. I admit that limited results could be achieved this way but coaching really comes into its own when it becomes a unique system of call and response between two people. Magic happens in the moment because each question is formulated specifically to pull into conscious awareness the vital information which is holding the problem in place. A set bunch of questions will work to some degree but will use up in necessary time and may miss the crucial moments where change is very close to happening.
Change as I see it isn’t necessarily a magical thing, in fact the many changes we make each day as a matter of course are so pedestrian that we don’t even label them as changes. We casually switch brands or routes to work or time to get up without feeling the need to announce it on social media or do a happy dance around the lounge. Change gets our attention when we get stuck and aren’t able to change something easily. Getting some help to free ourselves from that situation can feel truly magical.
There is always more than one way to make a change. Take eight good practitioners and they will find eight different ways of helping someone access a change process. Some will do it quicker than others and the level of change achieved will vary too. These variations happen because of experience, personality, differences in approach, level of connection with the client etc.
This amount of variation is standard between practitioners trained in the same system. Now imagine what happens when you take individuals with very different kinds of training, some trained to a high standard and others not so much. The differences in outcomes are huge.
Let me put it this way: Take 5 different approaches to obtaining mashed potato.
1) A chef – will give you a new experience of mashed potato beyond what you expected
2) A cook – will give you a good standard to aspire to
3) A mashed potato making virgin – hope for beginners luck or take what what you’re given. Might be a bit lumpy but at least there’s nutrients and no hidden nasties!
4) A ready made supermarket dish – will resemble mashed potato in most ways but full of chemicals to extend shelf life. Won’t taste or nourish like home made.
5) A packet of dried powdered Mash – Better than nothing but only just. Very few nutrients on offer.
I know where I expect my practitioners to put themselves on this list. I train coaches to redefine coaching. To me, a Coach, like a Chef, uses a base of science to develop an art form – and it’s the artistry that allows for individual expression and extraordinary results.