How is the coaching process like rocking the cowbell?

more cowbell


You’ve all seen the “More Cowbell” Saturday Night Live skit with Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell, right?  Yes?  Great!  No?  Then take a moment to watch. This is great.

More Cowbell

This past weekend, I was talking to a colleague about the coaching process, and trying to come up with a good metaphor for when the coaching process goes RIGHT.  You know – when the coach sits back and lets the client do the work, and Big Things Happen.

I gave it a little thought, and this is what popped up.  Christopher Walken as the coach, and Will Ferrell as the client.

The coach is there, watching the client, and comes to the realization that his client isn’t bringing his authentic self.  He’s stuck in the middle of the room, not exploring the space, and not relying on his gifts.

What’s a coach to do, when we see that?  Well, there’s not much to be done on the coach’s end.  About the only thing for us to do is to create a container, with our presence and relationship with the client, where they can really get out there and explore the space.  It can feel a little awkward when they start, sure, and there are some false starts and sudden stops.  But we need to have faith that our client is creative, resourceful, and whole – and that they’re going to rock it as soon as they realize that they already know.

Our job as coaches isn’t to come up with cowbell strategies and pass them down to our client.  Our clients really are their own cowbell experts!  All we need to do is keep holding that space with them.  Sooner or later, with enough support and exploration, our clients will get so excited about the cowbell that will have no choice but to leap into action and really, seriously explore the space!

What metaphors work for you?