Coaches, get over yourselves! It’s not about you. It’s about the client.

It’s not about you and how well you perform. It’s all about the quality of the client and their willingness to change and do what’s required to conquer their endgame.

Marshall Goldsmith is globally recognized as a business thinker of influence. In 2015, Thinkers 50 ranked him as the number one leadership thinker and the number one executive coach in the world.

Marshall charges big bank for his services where he helps successful leaders achieve positive long term change in behavior for themselves, for their people, and for their teams.

In addition he’s published many books including the best seller: Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be.

I had the honor of seeing Marshall speak at a SHRM event in the Syracuse area several years ago.

What I love about Marshall Goldsmith is his no nonsense matter of fact type persona. In addition, his willingness to be vulnerable and simply tell things as they are. At times, even poking fun at himself.

Not only does he charge a lot for his services, one of his stipulations is the client doesn’t pay until they see the results they’re looking for.

During his talk, Marshall told the story of one of his clients: Alan Mulhally, an executive for Boeing who later went on to become the successful CEO of Ford Motor Company.

After a period of time, Marshall had a revelation. Mulally became his most successful client to date yet he was the same client who he spent the least amount of time with.

Marshall shared his new awareness with Alan. He flat out told him he was spending way more time with other clients yet they weren’t getting the huge results that Alan was achieving from his team of 50,000 employees.

Mulally explained to Goldsmith it’s not about him, the coach. It’s more about the client.

He also went on to share that it’s not just about Alan as a leader:

“In an important way, my situation is the same. I manage about 50,000 people. Every day, as a leader, I tell myself, ‘The success of our organization is not about me. It is about them-the great people who are working with me!’” ~ Alan Mulally


There are three rules to coaching:

  1. The client does the work.
  2. The client does the work.
  3. Guess what rule number three is?

There are days when I deliver what I consider to be great coaching and the client does nothing with it.

Other coaching sessions I provide what I thought was average coaching yet the client crushed their goals that week.

I frequently tell this story to coach mentees, students who I teach at Coach University, and clients.

I believe as coaches it’s imperative we deliver a coaching process that reveals the -who- of the client, what makes them tick, who they want to become, etc. etc.

That’s value.

If we deliver on this value, does the client have the conviction to go after and slay their endgame?

When your client comes to the session, check your ego at the door and realize, it’s not about you the coach, it’s all about the client.

They have to wanna.




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