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by Glen Cooper
Business Coach & Business Broker
ne of the most interesting subjects to explore
is whether or not we have the ability to coach
I actually think we do.
ow, you might expect that a business coach – like me – would take the position that
people CAN’T coach themselves. I’m available! Why not hire me for the rest of
your life? Right?
Actually, the best service I can offer is to teach you how to coach yourself. From our time
together, you will learn the process that works for you and lasts forever.
Most people don’t think they can afford a coach. Some know that they can’t afford NOT to have
a coach, yet still can’t quite bring themselves to spend the time and money to hire one.
In the business and professional arena, this is further complicated, frankly, by doubts about
coach competency. The perception is that coaches – even so-called “business coaches” – don’t
know anything about business. We all doubt what we don’t understand.
Business owners and professionals – that’s my market – still don’t understand what having a
coach is supposed to accomplish. So, they doubt its efficacy. And, yes, the doubters, in
particular, always know what “efficacy” means!
Business owners and professionals live in a world of “experts” who sell “expertise.” Most
advisors and consultants want to sell you their expertise, not teach you how to do your job so
you don’t need them anymore!
My coaching is different. I will teach you how to coach yourself.
Every effective coach must know how to ask powerful questions to help you refine and focus
upon what’s happening in your life, not what’s in the coach’s life. A coach draws upon your
thoughts and feelings, desires and preferences, and doesn’t “sell” you a course of action. A coach
listens to you on several levels. By bearing effective witness to what you are saying and doing,
your coach holds you accountable to your own agenda.
But, if you want to learn how to coach yourself, you need a coach who will teach you how to
coach yourself. You need to be taught how to ask yourself powerful questions, and how to listen
to yourself and others on more than one level. You need to be taught to set up your own effective
way to be accountable to yourself. You need practice and testing to be ready to go it alone.
Right brain, left brain
Our brains are separated into two halves: right and left. Now, it’s a lot more complicated than I
am about to make it, but your right and left brains have an ongoing conversation with each other.
So actually, in our heads, each of us already has two coaches – an emotional one and a rational
one. The right brain is the emotional side that thinks in pictures and feelings. The left brain is the
center for our rational thoughts and language.
These two parts work together in constant conversation. The right brain says, "I want to do it
because it feels good."The left brain says, “Wait a minute! That’s not good for us.” The right
brain says, “Yeah, but I want it anyway.” The left brain says, “Okay, but I warned you.” Notice
who wins – mostly the right brain! Most of the time, we make choices based upon emotions.
If we’re going to coach ourselves, we have to be more consciously aware of this internal
dialogue. We already coach ourselves through this discussion. If, however, we want it to be more
effective, we need some training to make it so.
I base my coaching with you on a foundation with four cornerstones:
1) You are a whole person: competent, creative, energetic, resourceful and
committed to certain values, even if you don’t think you are.
2) You have a whole life, not to be compartmentalized, except in emergencies.
3) You live in the present with the rest of us, even if you think you don’t.
4) You have your own agenda, and should.
These are things that, as a coach, I know about you.
If you want to coach yourself, you need to know these things too - about yourself!
So, the first conversation your right brain must have with your left brain is on those four topics.
How do you know these things? Make some lists:
1) List your capabilities, ideas, what gives you energy, resources and values.
a. I am competent when I . . .
b. I have an idea that . . .
c. What gives me energy is when . . .
d. My resources of people and things include . . .
e. What I really value is . . .
2) List the parts of your life and measure them (Wheel of Life Exercise):
d. Friends & Family
e. Significant Other / Romance
f. Personal Growth Needs/Plans
g. Fun and Recreation
h. Physical Environment
3) List the ways that you can enjoy today before you plan tomorrow.
a. Use the categories above?
b. Use your “to do” list categories?
4) Make a list of your core values and core performance metrics:
a. Core values: Personal & Business
b. Core Performance Metrics: Family and Business – Budgets & Goals
Now, if you’re doing this just for a business, it also works. The “Wheel of Life” type of exercise
can be transformed to become a “Management Competency Wheel” or a SWOT (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. Question 3 might become a list of short-term
and long-term goals, objectives, strategies, plans and/or tactics. But, surprisingly, the rest is
exactly the same, or is a mighty close parallel.
7 Areas for Training Yourself
If I were to train you how to coach yourself, I would focus
on 7 areas of skills development:
1) Discovery, curiosity and listening skills
2) Dreaming, envisioning and intuitive skills
3) Creation, forward thinking and design skills
4) Sharing, networking and connecting skills
5) Planning skills
6) Action and accountability skills
7) Adaptation skills
For those of you who know me, you will recognize these same areas from my other writings.
Notice how interesting it is that the basic business planning steps (as in a SWOT analysis), as
well as the basic steps we can take to reduce chronic stress (see other articles and/or videos on
my website), are also now the basic training skills one needs to develop for self-coaching!
Discovery, curiosity and listening skills are critical for collaborators, leaders and followers.
As a self-coach, with that conversation going on in your head, you are really all three. The two
hemispheres of your brain alternate as the collaborator and leader. Your body is the follower.
I will actually encourage you, however, to step out of your “comfort zone” – to go out and
discover something new about yourself, your business, or about the world around you. I will then
debrief you on your new experience.
True discovery is only possible if you are curious enough to seek it and a good enough “listener”
to hear, observe and understand what you discover.
There are three levels of “listening” which I teach my clients. You will learn to listen to yourself
in conversation with yourself. You will learn to focus upon what others are really saying to you.
And, you will learn to mix the two in real time AND observe the overall context and
environment of all of the non-verbal things that are going on around you.
Useful discovery relies on observing our own opinions, attitudes, beliefs and feelings about what
we think we know, and then recognizing that there may be other legitimate views of reality, and
even the possibilities of other realities altogether. To self-coach, we must all learn how to receive
different views accurately and often – and to weigh them realistically.
We grow much more quickly as people and as business leaders when we learn to step over the
artificial boundaries that we currently use to limit our experiences.
Discovering new things is often the source of major breakthroughs in our personal and business
lives. That’s why we need to train ourselves to be better at it.
Dreaming, envisioning and intuitive skills are often dismissed in business. Yet, as self-
coaches, we need to recognize their power. All of us are motivated – or de-motivated – by what
we dream about and envision.
As we discover and experience new things, we have to take time to dream a little. How can we
make use of what we are constantly learning from our discoveries? What is our “gut reaction” to
this new information? What can we create as a result of our new knowledge?
If we dream and envision what can be, then consciously create it, share it, plan for it and act
upon it, the odds that “it” will happen go way up!
Creation, forward-thinking and design skills are needed. We must learn to ask for what we
need, challenge ourselves to attempt something new, and apply structure to our ideas, dreams
and visions so what we are trying to create is understandable to us and communicable to others.
The best way to take control of your future is to create it with forward thinking and the intention
of purposeful design.
Sharing, networking and connecting skills are key elements of self-coaching. Without a
professional coach at your side for the rest of your life, you’ll need to get good at sharing your
creations and at receiving and accepting constructive feedback from everyone around you.
Sometimes, this is called “crowd sourcing.” Knowing and dealing with what our “crowd” thinks
and feels about us and about what we’re doing – personally and in business – are required for our
external success as well as for the success of our coaching conversations with ourselves.
People left alone will always go off on a tangent. Skilled self-coaches know where to get help
and how to make use of help offered by others.
Planning, acting and adapting require us to plan the work, work the plan, think about the
“bottom-line” of what’s important as we go, and recover from mistakes as quickly as
possible. We must champion our own causes and learn to reframe our own views and positions
to cope with the inevitable obstacles and outright defeats.
Discoveries, dreams and creations are still-born without plans and actions. And, when you share
in order to receive valuable feedback, your reputation is ruined if you can never “pull the
trigger.” For a self-coach, our reputations with ourselves are as important as with others.
We DO NOT want to be known, especially to ourselves, for “talking the talk” without “walking
the walk.” It is corrosive to our self-esteem to let that happen.
An effective coach is good at articulating and clarifying with questions, listening, and sometimes
even giving advice by using re-framing, big picture views, and metaphors to help people see
things from different perspectives. If we are to be self-coaches, we need to learn to do all that by
So, what’s the process I follow to teach self-coaching? Well, besides the skills sets I already
mentioned, I also have a 7-element structure I follow with most clients.
This is what I offer you, if you choose to be one of my clients:
1) Custom Designed Experiences: I work with you in an alliance that directs you toward
your own custom-designed “discovery experiences.” My approach is not a pre-packaged,
Together, you and I will define the purpose and context of what we will do to accomplish
what you want. I will help you find and create new experiences for yourself, then debrief
you on how those experiences feel, what you are thinking about them, and what you are
learning from them.
2) Business Orientation for Maximum Results: I start with a no-nonsense review of the
tangible things in your business and personal life – what I call your core performance
metrics. Those are your business sales, expenses and profits as well as your other
business and personal goals that are specifically measurable.
I will then encourage you to examine what I call your core values. I even have some tests
and exercises that will help you articulate what those core values are. Putting it all
together, we will see where you are vs. where you want to be, defining the “gap.”
3) Discovering What Counts and What Works: We will name and re-frame your realities
in ways that clarify for you “what counts.” Those “discovery experiences” I mention
above will serve as catalysts to shift your perspectives.
With a clearer awareness of what else is going on around you, you are likely to find new
energy and resources that help you take actions to create “what works.”
4) Exploring Your “Big Ideas” or Help You Find New Ones: You have unique talents,
strengths and preferences that define and “brand” you. You have a “reason for being” that
is bigger than you are. So does your business. I call this your “big idea.”
Your single best “big idea” is based upon who you are that your competitors aren’t, and
what you can do, that they either can’t or won’t do. You may think you don’t have such a
“big idea.” I’ll help you find one in the mirror that you simply aren’t seeing yet.
Even if you know yourself and your business well – and your “big idea” is clear – you
may have limiting assumptions and negative voices holding you back. You can get those
voices under control. I’ll show you how.
5) Building Momentum with “Quick Wins”: To climb out of the “rut” you are in – or that
your business is in – takes momentum. Momentum comes from what I call “quick wins.”
Small victories each day build momentum for the long-term.
Some people think that accomplishing big things requires big accomplishments every
day. So, to meet their goals, they try to do too much early-on without building
momentum. The result is quick failure, strengthening the very forces of inertia they had
hoped to overcome. 99% of people with New Year’s resolutions do this every year!
Business owners and professionals do too.
When an effective coach like me can show you how to trim those daily action plans to
build momentum, you will learn the “quick win” strategy to long-term big
accomplishments. No human being can sustain long-term efforts without experiencing
joy in the daily journey. True joy comes from doing something substantive about your
“big idea” every day.
6) Professional and Practical Approaches Using Widely-Recognized Coaching
Elements, Methods & Protocols: Wow! That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Well, all it means is
that I respect and follow the teachings of many great coaches that have gone before me.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the premier worldwide coaching
organization. I am an active member, both in the local Denver chapter in Colorado, and
also on the global level, in ICF-sponsored discussion groups on the Internet.
In addition to following tried, true and safe coaching methods, I also make the pledge to
you that I am not associated with any franchise or outside entity, in any way, that would
require me to promote any ancillary products or services.
A “professional” is one who puts client interests before all others, even his own. I call
myself a “professional” because I do just that – always.
7) Coaching Delivery with Warmth, Friendliness, Humor & Caring: One of the most
goose-bump-producing endorsements I ever got is now printed on the back of my current
client presentation folder from a couple who received both my coaching and business
brokerage services. My commitment to this seventh way I deliver my coaching service is
because of what I experienced with them.
John and Suzan Henkel wrote me an email in which they said, “It’s not just the level of
service that impressed us, but how the service was delivered – with warmth, friendliness,
humor and caring.” Wow! I have never received kinder words of praise.
Because of my many great experiences with former clients like John and Suzan, I will be
forever committed to serving each and every one of my clients in exactly this way!
So, how do you get started?
You will need a business or personal life coach to get started, unless you are willing to start by
training to be a coach yourself. I have included a short list of books if you’re interested in
Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of coaches, each with a specialty niche. In Colorado,
there is a local chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF) www.CoachFederation.org. If
you are outside the Colorado area, check out the international site. Interview a few until you are
satisfied that you have found a coach that’s right for you. Trust your own judgment in choosing a
coach. Your coach’s style and substance has to match what you need.
It’s okay to show other coaches this article and ask them what they think. What I have shared
with you in this article is not above comment and criticism. Discussing my approach to coaching
with other prospective coaches will give you insight no matter what they say.
Coaches, of course, must charge you for their time. I charge $175 per hour (my current hourly
rate as of February 2012), and, except for initial consults, I package my services in 3, 6 and 12-
session packages. Initial in-person sessions are usually two hours in length. I offer package and
pre-payment discounts. A good way to check me out for free is to invite me to speak to a
Colorado group about a business-related or coaching topic. I usually don’t charge for such talks.
I prefer in-person sessions, at least at first, to get to know you better. Long-term clients often
prefer to graduate to phone conversations because they are easier to schedule. Because I work
from my home office in the Denver, Colorado area (Northglenn), most of my local clients are
more comfortable if I come to them. The best setting for coaching is a distraction-free zone.
Like most professional coaches, I require a written agreement between us. I am willing to sign
most confidentiality agreements drafted by clients. I also use a pre-session questionnaire, so I
have a chance to reflect upon your situation before each session.
My job can be finished in 12 two-hour sessions over 3-4 months time. Beyond that, most can
coach themselves successfully with only a few follow-up sessions – perhaps just quarterly or
annually. Learning self-coaching does not come easily to most of us. I can offer you smaller
packages, but those are mostly to help people address specific problems or to offer a sampler of
my service. Two-hour weekly sessions over 3-4 months offer most clients what they need.
I am open for questions. My biographical sketch and contact information are attached to this
article on the last page.
Remember that everything you need is within reach. That includes me.
About Author Glen Cooper
Glen Cooper is an active Denver-based business broker, business coach
and public speaker.
In 2010, Glen sold the business brokerage and advisory firm he co-
founded and ran for 29 years, and moved back to his home state of
Colorado. He operates his own business brokerage and coaching firm
His website is www.GlenCooperColorado.com.
Glen offers one-on-one coaching, seminars, webinars, workshops and keynote speeches on a wide variety
of topics related to small business value drivers, predicting future business trends, creating work/life
balance, self-coaching and social networking.
In his keynote speeches, seminars, webinars, workshops and one-on-one coaching, Glen coaches business
owners and the professional service providers who help small business owners.
He revels in teaching and speaking about what he knows and continues to learn – available to, and
appropriate for, any business audience – combining his instinctive humor, storytelling ability and the
”street smarts” of any salesman who has survived for thirty years on commissions!
Born and raised in Colorado, he never-the-less ventured to New England and, in 1981, co-founded what
became Maine’s largest business brokerage firm. He sold his company in 2010, returned to his home
state, and now lives in Denver.
Glen is an active member of many organizations, including the Denver chapter of the Association for
Corporate Growth (ACG), the Colorado chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF), the
Colorado Association of Business Intermediaries (CABI), and the World Future Society (WFS).
Glen is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), a designation awarded by the International Business
Brokers Association (IBBA). Glen is also a former Certified Business Appraiser (CBA) and a Business
Valuator Accredited for Litigation (BVAL), designations of the Institute of Business Appraisers (IBA).
Glen is a sought-after senior instructor and workshop presenter for the IBBA and its regional affiliates,
and was named a "Fellow of the IBBA” in honor of his service to this professional association in 2009.
Glen remains active as a “virtual” senior advisor of Maine Business Brokers, its strategic partner firm,
New Hampshire Business Sales, as well as several other intermediary firms throughout the United States.
Contact: Glen J. Cooper