The Qualities of a Magnificent Coach

May 6, 2012

In this 24 minute podcast, I was interviewed by Nicki McClusky of Nicki asked, “What are the qualities of magnificent coaches?”

You can listen to The Qualities of a Magnificent Coach podcast here.

Exquisite Listening

One of the qualities in magnificent coaches is exquisite listening. These coaches have a way of listening from the soul, for their clients’ values, their vision, their purpose. They’re listening for the person’s soul to speak, really listening to their words.

I asked one of my clients, “What is my greatest strength and hallmark of my coaching?” The reply was, “Listening. Karen when you listen to me, I know you see me at my very best. And you really know I can do anything I want to do, I have my own answers, and I’m 100% convinced.” I tend to think in metaphors – people are diamonds at the core and during the course of life, mud got caked on. A little splatter of wet mud, then it dried, and we added on another. And another.

People are essentially big balls of mud. 😉 When they come to coaching, they oftentimes don’t understand that if they washed away the mud, there is a diamond underneath. Instead they often fear once they chisel off the mud, that there will be nothing there.

So, exquisite listening and love are essential in a magnificent coach. A coach can effectively wash away the layers of mud. A magnificent coach needs to be absolutely convinced there’s a diamond inside that ball of mud. And when we do, the magic happens.

When we or our clients are not willing to go through self-development, it can get messy. We’re scared because we’re not presenting our best self to the world, how we like to show. Top coaches understand the process of self-development, and offer to bring the chisel and help dig in.

A magnificent coach needs to love and see people in their magnificence in the diamond. You’re a diamond miner.

Exquisite Selfishness

Ayn Rand wrote a book called, The Virtue of Selfishness. Really it’s about self care and supporting oneself. It’s funny because I used to think the whole idea of self care was a very good idea. Now I think it is ESSENTIAL…much more than just “really nice.” Self-care is as essential as needing air to breathe. It’s not the icing on the cake; it IS the cake. The pot roast. It’s really really really important. Top magnificent coaches practice self care and encourage self care for their clients.

This goes back to exquisite listening. Listen for self care strategies of the client. The beauty is that the client will tell us in many ways. I once coached a hospice vice president who was very directed, really smart, sharp savvy business woman who shared in our first meeting that she loved to write poetry. There was later a time in one of our coaching sessions when she was in overwhelm – as would be expected in any top executive position. And so I asked, “When was the last time you wrote a poem?” She replied, “Oh, it’s been so long.” So I asked if that might be something she would like to do. The beautiful part is that she started sending me her poems because she knew I was interested!

Whatever the clients’ strategies are, we listen to then, we acknowledge them, we utilize them to bring clients into their own balance or “selfishness.” It is so important to be able to help our clients to support themselves. Self care moves from way down on our priority list, up to the top, just like the air we breathe.

Exquisite Coachability

One other quality of magnificent coaches is exquisite coachability. One of the top qualities I’ve seen is when a coach is open to learning and coaching him/herself. A magnificent coach sees everything that happens as a gift, a lesson to be learned. I learn all the time from my clients. Other coaches whom I admire have asked me, “How are you doing this, Karen?” CEOs ask me these questions because they’re coachable. They know, as successful coaches know, we can always learn from people no matter who they are. I know I can always do something differently. I’m open to asking, “Is this working for me? Is this the direction I want to be going? How can I get there?” There’s a certain amount of humbleness. Mindset, curiosity, interest, without judgment.

I am always interested in what somebody’s doing and why. For me this isn’t about a skill set – exquisite listening is a MINDset – really seeing another’s true magnificence means really listening from the soul and having that vision. Everything we’re talking about here is mindset. The skill set, honestly – I’m going to say this publicly as the former ICA Chief Learning Officer – mindset is 90% and the skill set is 10%. Once the mindset is in place, the skill set will come. I’ll get the skills with this openness. I’m going to practice and choose to learn the skills. For me the focus has been on the mindset, which determines the motivation and vision.

My Coaches

Personally the qualities I look for in a coach is that he/she:

  • Has A Coach. They’re having regular coaching sessions, they’re clearing out their gremlins, they really value coaching. They’re gaining the perspective of being a coaching client.
  • Listens to My Soul. I have three coaches right now. I listen to people all day – in my session, I just want to talk in a stream. Then I take a breath and ask what they heard. They’ll respond with a Top Three list. When I’m all up in my head and into the doing and messed up and just confused and disconnected, I want them to listen to my soul.
  • Encourages Self Care. My coaches focus me and remind me of exquisite selfishness. I don’t want to do anything out of obligation, only what nurtures and nourishes me. And then I want my coaches to invite me to do it.

“What qualities do you look for in your coach?” Please share your comments below.

Where Do You Look for Love?

February 16, 2010
Hello, Magnificent Coaches!
I hope you all had a wonderful, loving Valentine’s Day. For this, our second Be Inspired Now message for February, I’m giving you a visual treat, from the YouTube archives of Louise Hay.

I think you’ll enjoy it; just three and a half minutes of love. From me, to you. Click on the image to begin the video presentation.

As always, we are here to support you. Just let us know how we can be of service.

Love and Great Joy,

…are u listening 4 love?

February 2, 2010

Hello, Dear Coaches,

And Happy February! (Can you tell me where January went?!)

This is Kim, Karen’s assistant – and I’ve been given the “go-ahead” to share someone unique with you. Evelyn Glennie, is a Scottish percussionist, who happens to be deaf. I saw her perform at the Santa Cruz Civic Center a couple of years ago, and was both amazed and profoundly inspired. I was also really sad when the performance ended; her energy, her wit…and her inner beauty was such a gift to us all!

I discovered a video of her performing, teaching an audience “how to listen.” You can watch it here (click on the image):

Now, you and I know that effective listening is a really big part of coaching, and listening with your whole being (not just your ears) makes for a successful coaching session.

But, it also makes for a successful, happy life, doesn’t it?  We have to listen for love in those around us. If we listen intently we will discover that we are a lot more loved than we realize. But, there’s more; in listening deeply to those around us, we discover hundreds of opportunities (each and every day!) to give love.

Sometimes we need to really focus, and release all the distractions’ to really listen for love and discover those priceless opportunities to give of ourselves.

This Valentine’s month, giving and receiving love is our theme for the Be Inspired Now messages. If you have a special “loving” story to share, please feel free to add it in the comments section of the blog.

Again, I’m delighted to share Evelyn Glennie, on “how to listen.” It’s my loving gift to you, this second day of February.  It’s rather long (32 minutes), so settle in with a cup of tea, and enjoy!

As always, Karen and I are here to support you; just let us know how we can be of service. Thank you for all the opportunities to show you how much we love you!

Love,  joy and deep appreciation,

VA to Karen Cappello

Put a Smile on Your Face, and Love in Your Heart

January 22, 2010

Hello, Magnificent Coaches!

A member of the eCommunity Mentor Coaching Club sent me a link to this video. Every single time I watch it, I find myself overjoyed, inspired, and awe-struck. I hope you feel the same way.  Just click on the image to be taken directly to the YouTube video.

I’m reminded of the words of Arthur Rubenstein: “Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.”

Can’t you just feel, and see the love? I know I can. This video fills me up, and I find that when I step out into the wider world, the love just flows from me effortlessly.

I honestly believe that this is why we’re here – to love one another, bringing each of us into our fullest potential. In closing, I send you…

Love, and Great Joy,


62 Ways to Brighten the New Year

January 7, 2010

Hello, Magnificent Coaches!

Here’s Robin’s list for your review. What are my favorites? Well, let’s see…#3, #5, #7, #8….#14 and #15…and certainly, #16 gave me the opportunity to sit down, and reflect. Always a good thing at this time of year!

Be sure to read Robin’s Bio at the close of this post, and drop by his Web site for more inspiration.

And, as always, I hope you take the time to leave a comment – with YOUR favorites in the list.

Love and Great Joy,


62 Ways To Make 2010 Your Best New Year Yet
By Robin Sharma, January 3rd, 2010

1. Remember that leadership isn’t about your position. It’s about your influence.

2. Get fit like a pro athlete

3. Lift people up versus tearing people down

4. Protect your good name. An impeccable reputation takes a lifetime to build. And 60 seconds to lose

5. Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence

6. Remember that even a 1% daily innovation rate amounts to at least a 100% rate of innovation in 100 days

7. Believe in your dreams (even when others laugh at them)

8. Measure your success, not by your net worth but by your self worth (and how happy you feel)

9. Take an intelligent risk every 24 hours. No Try-No Win.

10. Read “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist”

11. Watch “Man on Wire”

12. Regardless of your title at work, be a team builder.

13. Remember that business is all about relationships and human connections

14. Say “please” more

15. Say “thank you” more

16. Know your Big 5: the five things that need to happen by the end of this year for you to feel it’s been your best year yet

17. Read your Big 5 every morning while the rest of the world is asleep

18. Read “As You Think”. At least twice this year.

19. Be willing to fail. It’s the price of greatness

20. Focus less on making money and more on creating value

21. Spend less, save more

22. Leave everything you touch better than you found it

23. Be the most positive person in every room you’re in

24. Run your own race

24. Stay true to your deepest values and best ideals

25. Write a handwritten thank you note to a customer/friend/loved one every day

26. When you travel, send love letters to your kids on hotel stationary. In time, they’ll have a rich collection to remember your travels by

27. Read “Atlas Shrugged”

28. Be a problem solver versus a trouble maker

29. Rather than doing many things at mediocrity do just a few things-but at mastery

30. Honor your parents

31. Commit to doing great work-whether anyone notices it or not. It’s one of life’s best sources of happiness.

32. Give more than you receive (another of the truths of happiness)

33. Have your 1/3/5/10/25 years goals recorded on paper and review them weekly

34. Be patient. Slow and steady wins the race. The only reason businesses that went from zero to a billion in a year or two get featured in magazines is because 99% of businesses require a lot more time to win

34. Underpromise and then overdeliver

35. See part of your job as “a developer of people” (whether you work in the boardroom or the mailroom)

36. Wear your heart on your sleeve. When people see you’re real, they’ll fall in love with you

37. Be authentic versus plastic

38. Read “The Alchemist”

39. Remember that life wants you to win. So get out of your own way

40. Consider that behind every fear lives your next level of growth (and power)

41. Eat less food

42. Drink more water

43. Rest when you need to

44. Read “SUCCESS” magazine

45. Write your eulogy and them live your life backwards

46. Demand the best from yourself

47. Remember that the more you go to your limits, the more your limits will expand

48. See everything that happens to you as an opportunity to grow (and therefore, as a precious gift)

49. Be obsessed with learning and self-development

50. Become comfortable alone (you are the only person you get to be with your whole life)

51. Smile. It’s a stunningly effective way to win in business and life

52. Reflect on the shortness of life

53. Be bold when it comes to your dreams but gentle with those you love

54. Remember that success is dangerous because it can kill drive/innovation/passion and going the extra mile. Be successful yet stay hungry

55. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”

56. Be of deep value to this world

57. Own beautiful things but don’t let them own you

58. Use excellent words.

59. Laugh more.

60. Don’t complain, gossip or be negative.

61. Plan as if you’ll live forever but live as if you’ll die tomorrow.

62. Feel free to pass these lessons on to those you want to help.

Robin Sharma is a world-renown leader and coach in the personal development world and is the CEO of Sharma Leadership International, which helps organizations develop world-class leaders. He’s also the author of 10 books, including 5 #1 bestsellers, such as The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. And on top of coaching and writing, Robin is a highly sought-after speaker and consultant to organizations all over the world like Microsoft, Nike, FedEx, NASA, KPMG, IBM and The  Young Presidents Organization. Visit his Web site at:

One of My Favorite Stories…

December 7, 2009
During my coaching career, I’ve done many presentations at the Canyon Ranch Spa, here in Tucson. Many of you are aware of how much I love public speaking – and the story I’m sharing with you today is one of the most well received at these events. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do!

The lessons within this tale are many. But, for me, the most profound lesson is that each and every one of us a teacher. When we embrace those around us, recognize their brilliance, and acknowledge the fundamental truth that they have within them something to teach us; we open ourselves up for abundance, and joy. Without further ado, here’s the story I told so many audiences at Canyon Ranch…

At a fund-raising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued.

‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’

I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.

Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over…

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay!’ Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

You may have heard, or read that story before. It circles the globe as part of email forwards every year, so chances are you’re already aware of this tale of love. But…I’ll tell you something. I can read this story every single day, and find tears welling in my eyes, and often running down my cheeks – simply because it is so full of love, in all its forms.
Feel free to leave your comments – our community would so enjoy hearing your voice, and learning from you, dear teacher.
Love and Great Joy,

Comparing Apples and Oranges? Maybe Not…

November 9, 2009

For November, our inspirational messages will focus on the amazing wisdom of a truly remarkable young man, Sean Stephenson.

“He was born with every bone broken and by the time he was 18 he had already fractured 200 bones. I can’t even come to terms with that kind of pain. Told that he would die at birth, this man is undeniably one of the funniest, most inspiring, and caring people I’ve ever known. He just has this way with people, this energy that you can’t get enough of. I’m not kidding when I say he’s like a magnet.  “~ Vishen Lakhiani

I think you’ll be profoundly affected as you watch these first four segments of Part 1 of the 7-part series “How to Create a Deep Attraction.”

The theme of Part One can be found in the name: “Shattering Your Negative Beliefs – The Growing Pains Of Love.” Sean addresses the notion of limiting beliefs, and asks you to ponder these questions:

  • What is a belief?
  • How can a belief limit your success, in love, business, and life?
  • And, how can you release them, allowing a fuller expansion in your life?

“Limiting beliefs magnetize our universe.” ~ Sean Stephenson

I’d like you to find the commonalities between attracting a mate and attracting a client as you view the video. After all, attraction is attraction, whether it be of a client or a mate. They are not really two different things. I sincerely hope you find this young man as inspirational as I did. Click on each of the images to be taken directly to the related YouTube video! Feel free to leave a comment too; we’d love to hear from you.