Value Based Coaching

Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D.

(For individual use only, not to be reproduced or distributed without permission)
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What can I do to be a better coach? Our Coaching Model and process describes the procedure.  Yet, too often the focus is on techniques only. “How can I say it to win my point, get others to do things my way, or convince them?” Focusing only on techniques is fundamentally manipulative. Good coaching, like good parenting, is a way of being as well as doing. This way of being, or our values drives our behaviors. Like the Olympic figure skaters, coaches should evaluate themselves in two areas, skills and style-the expression of your values.

Gandhi or Martin Luther King never took a course in “non violence”, Harry S. Truman on “straight talk”, Abraham Lincoln on “valuing diversity”, or Walter Cronkite on “integrity”.  They trusted their values to guide them toward doing the right things. They were their values. Similarly, how many times have we admonished our teenagers before departing for a night out with friends to “don’t forget who you are”. Your values are on display throughout your coaching discussions and particularly in step one of our coaching model-Be Supportive. Note it doesn’t say Do Supportive. Support is an inside job, an inner decision, on how you want to relate to others, the values you will attempt to live in your relationships with others.

Partnering with, versus managing and controlling those you coach, is based on two different value sets. Partnering is predicated on one’s having a basic value of helping others achieve their goals. Having made this decision, trust that this value will guide you toward doing the right supportive things. Without a partnering/helping core value, focusing only on supportive words and actions, results in shallow words with no heart felt meaning or motivation and a disingenuousness.

Which of these two coaches would you like to work with? One who had excellent technique, a real smooth communicator who valued control and getting his/her own way or, the other who lacked good technique but had a fundamental belief in and desire to help others achieve their goals? Fortunately, we are not faced with these black and white distinctions. Effective coaching from a helping value base requires both skills and a critical assessment of how you view your role-as a resource or gatekeeper, helper or competitor, catalyst or controller, facilitator or salesperson, mentor or boss, teacher or teller?

Before entering into a coaching discussion, ask yourself one simple question, what is my mind set or paradigm-adversary or ally? This basic value will be your biggest foe or aide in your coaching relationships. Self evident? Then, why in a non business setting does conventional wisdom make the case that parent-adolescent relationships are unavoidably adversarial? Why is there such a dark history of labor management relationships? Why do managers have such a difficult time with letting go and trusting others to do the right thing? Partnering with is predicated on the coach wanting to create an alliance and a helping relationship. This inner decision to live this value will drive the collaborative, partnering behavior upon which effective coaching relationships and our Coaching Model are based.