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Two years ago, I had a wonderful plan for building my coaching business in 2020. For some strange reason, that all got messed up!

I’m blessed that my coaching can instantly switch over to Zoom. In fact, I’ve been using that for all my remote clients for many years now.

No, my marketing strategy got totally derailed. Since my approach is heavily based on building one-on-one relationships, most of my networking instantly disappeared. Some groups fell apart while others stagnated or were forced to redesign.

Since I have a tech background and have lots of experience with Zoom, I got pulled into producing Zoom events for various organizations. It turns out that can pay pretty well, so I ended up getting some significant revenue for that in 2020. Some of it continued into 2021.

Along the way, I discovered something fascinating. It turns out that clients are drawn to my production work because I take a coaching approach to it. I focus on their deeper goals, and help them design an event which truly achieves that. Sure, along the way I need to cajole Zoom into working properly, but many people can do that.

I’ve also been told that my coach-like optimism is a real asset. It helps my clients to approach their event calmly, knowing that somehow the tech magic will happen behind the scenes and all their participants will get a lot out of it.

But the lesson here isn’t really about Zoom, or pivoting my business in response to the pandemic.

It’s about how I’ve learned to bring the coaching mindset to everything I do. Looking back on my life, I see many examples of how that thinking has served me well as facilitator, leader, volunteer, and parent.

As I look to the future, it appears that we all need to strengthen our skills in being flexible and adapting. Key forces might be health care, climate change and industry upheaval – or other new influences we haven’t yet seen. But it doesn’t seem like things will become stable anytime soon.

It turns out that coaches are well suited to navigate this space. We’re all about balancing the power of a vision with the reality of the present. We look for resources and capabilities, building on strengths and synergies.

I have no idea if the future belongs to coaches. What matters is that we help bring the coaching skills and mindset to more people in our society: leaders, collaborators, and problem-solvers.

It doesn’t mean that we coaches know any more about having solutions or what our future will look like. Most of the time we’re probably as lost and confused as anyone else.

What makes the difference is our optimism and confidence that we can, together, build a better future. We believe that problems can be solved. We believe that people are fully capable of achieving ambitious goals. We believe that every person is to be included and respected.

Those beliefs seem to be in short supply sometimes.

That’s why coaches and coaching skills are so vital to the future of our world!


This article was first published in Choice Magazine, Volume 21 number 1.

For most of us, 2020 was a brutal year. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be better, but it’s going to be a slow improvement, likely with many false starts and surprises.

So how do we remain optimistic in an environment like this? It’s about the learning.

Challenges, problems and failures provide a richer learning environment than when things go well. I find that a bit annoying, but it’s true. It’s about being observant and thoughtful despite the emotional turmoil of things not going according to plan.

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We laid my mother to rest recently. Given that it’s 2020, we weren’t able to have a proper funeral, and had a short outdoor service with extended family on Zoom.

It wasn’t the ideal. But you know what? It was plenty good, and respected everyone’s limitations.

That’s what this whole year has been about. Making the best of what we have. And if you think about it, this is nothing new. We’re always making tradeoffs.

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No doubt you’ve heard the term that’s been in vogue with entrepreneurs for a few years: Pivot your business.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

As a skeptical outsider, it looks like an excuse for someone getting bored, who can’t commit to the hard work of building and running a company. And there is some truth to that.

But it’s not the whole story.

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There are many times in business where it feels like you don’t know where you’re going. Employee issues. Customers giving you grief.

It just feels like the formula isn’t working anymore.

So what do you do when it feels like a need for change somehow?

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