Highly Masterful Coaching

Highly Masterful Coaching

Six Zen Principles for Highly Masterful Coaching

Co-written by Fran Fisher, MCC, and Annie Gelfand, MCC


Imagine a world where these are guiding principles, not just for coaches, but for how we are all being in all of our relationships. Each of these Principles is designed to spark new insights and perspectives. Open to the possibility that when you honor these Principles you will call forth your own greatness and the greatness of others around you.

Six Zen Principles

  1. Being leads doing. Who you are being has more to do with the quality of your coaching than what you are doing (i.e. skills and tools you are using). For example, being caring and curious will influence the quality of your presence, safety and trust. That state of being will influence the depth of your listening and the effectiveness of your reflections, questions, and choice of tools. Focus on who you are being, and the doing will naturally follow.
  2. Learning is central. Coaching is founded on the principle of empowerment. You facilitate a client’s self-empowerment by helping them learn more about themselves. Focus on asking questions that help the client learn who they are (vision, purpose, values, strengths, beliefs, what they think, how they feel, etc.) and they will grow their own capacities for greater success and fulfillment in their lives. The nature of your questions, open-ended and curious, is the invitation for the client’s self-awareness to be revealed and their deep wisdom to be discovered.
  3. Deep caring is the key context. The power of the heart creates safety, trust,and openness. It clears obstacles, expands possibilities, and supports clients to feel safe and empowered to move toward what “lights them up.” Judgment is the single biggest impediment to transformation, whether it is self-inflicted or perceived as coming from the coach. The coach’s ability to generate caring, kindness and compassion without being attached to the outcome or ‘voting’ on the client’s choices is subtle yet empowering.
  4. Transformation is the purpose. The purpose of coaching is to affect deep,meaningful, and lasting change – in other words, a transformation. When a client shifts their perspective to an empowering view versus a victim view, for example, they are at choice rather than at the effect of the circumstance. This is transformational for the client. Now the client has the freedom to choose versus being influenced by limiting beliefs, circumstances, or others in their life.
  5. Empowering Feedback is Essential. Use language that has the greatest positive impact on the client, such as acknowledging the qualities of who they are being. For example, reflecting the qualities you observe like courageous, responsible, generous, etc. will raise their self-awareness on who they are being. This helps the client access their greatness. Offering observations of your client’s unconscious limiting or empowering patterns of behavior or language will also shine the light on their unconsciousness, and empower their self-discovery process.
  6. Deep listening is the key competency. Most interpret listening as originating from their ears. Deep listening comes from listening with your body, heart, and soul. Deep listening is from your client’s heart to your heart for where they are hungry, for where they are longing for change, and for where they are longing to be seen, heard and accepted. Your listening informs your powerful questioning, direct communication, and raising awareness, and impacts the effectiveness of all your coaching competencies.


Fran Fisher and Annie Gelfand: http://www.mcpmentoring.com/

Annie Gelfand:  http://radicalwisdom.com

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