As coaches we have all at one point or another, found it challenging to explain what it is that we do to people who do not know about coaching. Some, who know Tony Robbins, the famous self-help writer and motivational speaker, think coaching is about motivating others. Some, who are familiar with psychology, think that we are therapists. Some, in the business world, think of corporate coaches as business consultants, and some who work with life coaches on a deep, personal level think of us as ministers. I was so excited to hear and watch both President and Mrs. Obama in Europe during the G20 Summit. When the president was addressing a question in Strasbourg, France, he was part Tony Robbins, part Mahatma Gandhi, part Mother Theresa and part Clark Gable in “Gone With The Wind”. What was astounding was the reaction of the audience. People were loving every second of it. It occurred to me that he is indeed the world’s coach. Hearing Mrs. Obama addressing school children in London, I saw the same transformation in her and her audience. They both have what we in the coaching world call, a coaching presence.
They both speak and act as if they know that they are global role models. They do not come off as typical politicians, because they do not seem to have a personal agenda. Their mission is to lift us all up and now they are singing that out to Europeans, who like us here in the U.S. are touched by his presence and his message. In fact, I think the effect that this president has and will have on the world might be even greater than his effect on us Americans. The world is eating his message and wants more. The world is looking for hope and significance. We all want to make a difference, relate to each other with respect, bridge our differences, and leave the world a better place for our children. This is such a different path than just wanting to make more money to buy more stuff which seemed to be the center of our existence. Finally, it is cool to care. Our consciousness is shifting and we are looking for leaders that can help show us the way. In Barack and Michelle Obama we see that getting involved, doing good, helping others, speaking up, and courage all pay off. And in some ways this is an even more important message for the rest of the world, where coming from very humble beginnings and rising to the position of president of a country is not even imaginable.
Once again though, I find myself at a loss like others who speak about Obama. What is it about him, what is it about what he says, how he shows up that make him be the way he is? How can you capture what he offers in mere words? And just as in the definition of coaching, words cannot capture the experience. I’ll try anyway: A coach allows you and gives you the permission to be who you want to be, no strings attached. A coach sees only the possibilities and none of the obstacles. A coach believes in the unlimited ability and potential of each client without any reservations. A coach has no agenda and sees only love and endless possibilities. And in every interaction with a client we are part Tony Robbins, part Mahatma Gandhi, part Mother Theresa, and part Clark Gable… I guess we’ll do and be anything and anyone in the moment, to help the client feel supported and heard, so they can be and do what they want to.