Last week I took you through the progression I have undergone recently, from how I used to think about coaching, to where I am today, as I move through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) program.

But I only really started to get to the great stuff that I have learned about coaching as it relates to family businesses, and the ways that it can help me interact with all of the different people who are part of any business family.

So for a little recap, CTI’s program involves a series of five courses, each one is three days of intense exercises, led by two course leaders. There are typically around 20 students in each class, and after 3 days together, you feel like you have known most of your classmates for a LOT longer than three days.

One analogy that I have come up with for what happens over the 3 days is this: It is like taking your brain out of your head, putting it on the table, and mashing it up, kneading it, and flattening it out with a rolling pin. At the end of the Friday class, you fold it back up, stick it back in your head, and go home. You repeat the process on Saturday, and then again on Sunday.

By the time you get back to work on Monday morning, you do NOT feel like you had a relaxing weekend, to the contrary. But then you start to notice how you look at everything differently.

What goes on during those three days is very intense, but also a lot of fun. There is a lot of self-analysis, as you are repeatedly put into real coaching situations with the other participants, based on real things that are going on in your (real) life.

One of the greatest feelings that you get in the course is that you are actually helping other people, and that positive feeling is hard to describe. You are learning new coaching techniques, and you get to apply them immediately, and even though you are just trying things out (and making plenty of mistakes), you start to see immediate results.

It is hard to put into words the feeling you get from helping people make important breakthroughs in areas that were troubling them, usually in a very short time (15 minutes or less) and with only a bit of training, and very little practice. The idea is that we practice on each other, but the cool thing is that we already get to see that the techniques actually work.

In the third course, called balance, one of our leaders mentioned something that stayed with me. He said that 80% of coaching is simply “being with” the person that you are coaching. It reminded me of the old Woody Allen quote “90% of life is showing up”. But think about it, being with someone as they work through an issue, the coach is there, as a resource, as support, as someone who is not judging, but simply helping, asking questions, and offering a different perspective.

It sounds simple, but as I always say, simple does NOT mean easy. One of the reasons that we see progress so quickly is that by the third course, the only people who are still registering and showing up for these classes are people who get off on helping others work through issues in a helpful way.

I still have two more weekends ahead of me where I will be throwing my brain on the table and giving it another few daylong workouts with the rolling pin, but I am excited by the thought of getting even better at this.

When I can combine all the things that I am learning from CTI with my experience with business families, the possibilties for me to help them through their tough issues will continue to improve.

Steve Legler “gets” business families.
He understands the issues that families face, as well as how each family member sees things from their own viewpoint.
He specializes in helping business families navigate the difficult areas where the family and the business overlap, by listening to each person’s concerns and ideas.  He then helps the family work together to bridge gaps by building common goals, based on their shared values and vision.
His background in family business, his experience running his own family office, along with his education and training in coaching, facilitation, and mediation, make him uniquely suited to the role of advising business families and families of wealth.
He is the author of Shift your Family Business (2014), he received his MBA from the Richard  Ivey School of Business (UWO, 1991), is a CFA Charterholder (CFA Institute, 2002), a Family Enterprise Advisor (IFEA 2014), and has received the ACFBA and CFWA accreditations (Family Firm Institute 2014-2015).
He prides himself on his ability to help families create the harmony they need to support the legacy they want. To learn how, start by signing up for his monthly newsletter and weekly blogs here.