35 Ways to Vitalize Your Coaching Experience
Copyright 2007 Connie B. Shaw


Connie Shaw

Introduction: Jim Wright on Connie Shaw. In addition to coaching and counseling nearly seven hundred people since the late 1970’s, Connie Shaw  has inspired and galvanized thousands of people worldwide in over a hundred organizations for whom she has consulted.

As a communications specialist and consultant or workshop facilitator, she has been engaged by business, government, medicine, the clergy, museums and academia. Although her client list is far too lengthy to cover in its entirety, a sampling of some of her clients include Native American tribes, the U.S. Air Force Accounting Office and the Air Force Academy, Ball Corporation, various spiritual groups, Martin Marietta, the YWCA, art museums and the National Endowment for the Arts, a White House Commission for Women, sixty Colorado school districts, and retail business franchises such as the national headquarters for Big O Tires.

She has key-noted conventions and has spoken at university settings in eleven countries.

Many of Connie’s coaching clients have written and published books, have designed workshops, have started their own businesses or have healed their shame and grief from spousal abuse or divorce.  

Among the many teaching stories which Connie could tell about touching moments in her career thus far, three stand out. One of her first clients was a Chinese American whom Connie taught to read, write, speak and spell English. At the time of the coaching her client was working as a waitress in a local Chinese restaurant which Connie used to frequent. After a year and a half of working together, Connie’s client progressed from having been a waitress and an employee in someone else’s restaurant, to purchasing and managing her own restaurant and buying a new Mercedes.

A second story involves a Native American tribe which engaged Connie to work with battered wives of tribal members. When Connie arrived at the remote reservation she was horrified to discover one of the reasons for the extremely low self-esteem of the native women. It seems that on Friday nights, after getting their paychecks, the native husbands would go to local bars, get intoxicated, get into fights, then go home and beat their wives. The wives would call the sheriff’s office, which would send a police car and the battered wives would be placed in jail – for their own protection. They’d be released on Monday, after the husbands had sobered up and the scenario would start all over again.

Naturally the women erroneously believed that they must be unworthy people if they were being beaten. That notion was reinforced when they, rather than the husbands, were placed in jail, adding insult to injury, week after week, year after year. The result of Connie’s work with the tribe is that the batterers went to jail, a women’s shelter was designed and built and the abusers and the battered family members were given training in conflict resolution.

A third story involves Connie’s work with a large downtown Denver bank which had 1,400 employees and thirty-three affiliate banks. She was one of the first people in the U.S. to successfully design and execute a unique, productive and highly profitable coaching and mentoring program in the banking industry. She designed a fast-track mentoring program for women and minorities who had been discriminated against as part of a class-action lawsuit.

The program was voluntary on the part of senior management coaches and mentors as well as the women and minority protégées.  Coaches were given guidelines for helping their protégées and in-depth training was provided to the in-house coaching clients. The result of the very successful program is that within about eighteen months, ninety-seven of the one hundred women advanced two or more pay-grades, gained new poise and communications skills and received new promotions and responsibilities. Three of the employees were hired by other institutions and were given considerable pay increases and responsibilities.  Thus, all one hundred advanced in their careers, with ninety-seven percent having made significant contributions to the sponsoring organization of the mentoring and coaching program. Such a success rate is virtually unknown in any training program. Connie is able to garner loyalty, to inspire team-work and to galvanize people to believe in themselves and their dreams.

This program has two parts – your accountability to yourself and your coach’s accountability to you.

I. Your Accountability to Yourself and Your Coach

A.  What are your responsibilities to yourself?
To be accountable to yourself, you need to:
   1. Plan for the session.
   2. Prepare questions or key points to discuss.
   3. Ask for help and be honest about your feelings.
   4. Set and reach attainable goals.
   5. Know your core values and the priorities which comprise
          your ethics.
   6. Review your progress.

B. Accountability to Your Coach
   1. Be prepared and on time for sessions.
   2. Tell your coach what you expect. Are expectations
         realistic and possible?
   3. Be honest with yourself and with your coach. Tell the
         truth faster to yourself and to others.
   4. Notice when you’re trying to impress another person and
           stop. Get back to center. Impress yourself.
   5. Ask for candid feedback. State what that means.
   6. Concentrate totally on the session (No multi-tasking!)
   7. When you are stuck, say so! The coach is there to help.
   8. Stay attuned to your feelings about the relationship. If it
          isn’t working, say so.
   9. Get a commitment that all information, ideas, plans,
           drawings, inventions, book titles will never be divulged
           to anyone else.

II. Accountability to You From Your Life-Coach

A. Overall Expectations
Naturally, there is a wide variety of coaches, skill-levels, years of experience and types of expertise. But you may legitimately expect that your coach will have:
   1. Competence, experience and skill to guide and to
           inspire you.
   2. Discretion in keeping your information between you.
   3. Genuine liking for you, interest in you and interest in your
          life and projects.
   4. The ability to Be CURRENT

C: Communication Skills Way Above Average
U: Upbeat and up-to-date
R: Reads - on many topics
R: Real and authentic; realistic about client load.
E: Educates you in many areas (e.g., goal-
        setting; noticing your self-sabatoging)
N: Next step – keeps you moving forward
T: Trustworthy: Does not surf the web, walk
        the dog, or check e-mails while on the call.

B. What to Look For in Each Session - The coach:

  • Is on time and prepared.
  • Takes notes.
  • Pays exquisite attention and listens well.
  • Gives superb feedback, helpful hints and new ideas.
  • Asks what you accomplished on your weekly
    and long-term goals.
  • Helps catapult you forward with energy and
    questioning when you get stuck, tired, luke-warm,
    overwhelmed, side-tracked by life.
  • Gets your goal commitments, tasks and strategies
    for the next few weeks.
  • Asks what patterns stand in the way of reaching goals.
  • Asks what you intend to do about them.
  • Asks what your intention is for the session.

C. Periodic Review - The coach, guide, mentor ideally:

  • Asks what goals you have achieved this month, this
    quarter, this year.
  • Asks what you have learned about yourself in your
    times together or as a result of the coaching help.
  • Says, “Which of my skills are most helpful to you?
    Which habits, patterns of mine are least helpful to
    you? What was the most valuable thing I ever said
    to you?”
  • Asks how you are feeling about yourself, your life,
    relationships, health and energy, playtime, income, spiritual life, mission statement.
  • Asks if it’s time to re-do or revise your goals.
  • Asks if you’re happy with the coaching relationship.
  • Tells you what your unique aspects, skills, talents are
    and what contributions you’ve made to the coach’s life.
  • Helps you re-set the bar for yourself to keep life challenging.
  • Is honest with you when you’re making excuses,
    justifying, dodging, lying, fantasizing, under-performing,
    being lazy.
  • Keeps his/her vibration upbeat.
  • Has a sense of humor and helps you have perspective.
  • Won’t let you stay in your victim story or stay stuck.
  • Reminds you of your dream, vision and mission.
  • Gives constant encouragement without insincere flattery.
  • Reviews what you’ve covered, discovered, done together.

If you enjoy your coach and have good chemistry together, you can speak frankly about the key points in this piece and ask if your coach is willing to use these ideas in your work together. You can say that you are equally forthright with your doctor and lawyer and like to have a clear understanding as to whether your expectations will be met. It’s not only fair but essential to convey what your expectations are so that the professional whom you’ve hired can consider whether those expectations are realistic and do-able without discomfort or resentment on his part. I’ve never had a professional tell me that my standards were too high for them to wish to work with me. In fact, most of them have told me that they prize our interactions and that they learn something from me with every encounter, even though their role is to educate and to serve me. I enjoy giving my maximal best in every encounter.

The result of working with a good coach should be that you feel joyfully empowered to give your unique gifts to humanity. As far as the danger of getting lost in your goal-pursuits is concerned, there’s a saying that “Being is lost in becoming.” But when you know your values and maintain a spiritual practice or an attunement to Source, you’ll stay connected to your core. Without that connection you have nothing.

Now a word about seeking approval: as long as you seek love, praise, permission or recognition from others, you’ll dis-empower yourself and will be out of integrity with yourself. That trying-to-please obsession is your enemy. It can betray your relationships and ruin your life unless it’s acknowledged and plucked out like a weed. Naturally feed-back is important but you have value by your very existence and it’s your job to make you happy. No one else can do that for you, nor should they.

Finally, if you can’t find a coach that is smart enough, compassionate enough, exacting enough, or skillful enough, keep looking and intend that the Universe (your Higher Self) will send you the perfect person to help you to grow to your next level of smooth, happy functioning. There is someone perfect for you and the magnetic Law of Attraction will bring that person when you’re ready to discover how you have unwittingly thwarted yourself in your spiritual life, your relationships, your work, your health and fitness and your finances and prosperity. 

Are you ready to take responsibility for your thoughts, your words and actions and for everything which you are creating, both consciously and unconsciously? Congratulations! Then say out loud, “Universe, bring it on! I’m ready for my next step!”

You may contact Connie Shaw specifically for a coaching sign-up (if there is an available spot for you at this time) by e-mailing her at