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Edie Seashore: On Coaching

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And everybody hates groups, right?  I mean, meetings. Meeting after meeting, another meeting.  Oh, my God, we go to lousy meetings, without stopping to think, is there any mechanism by which we could actually ourselves reflect on what could make this meeting better and be the people to choose to make it better?  Not wait until some magical formula comes down the pike or the leader is responsible for the lousy meeting. Does this work for you is the question. If it isn’t working for us, why do we persist on doing it?  Why don’t we become accountable for saying we can make a difference if we just simply stop and use some of the wisdom that we have within us.

So, why is it so hard to do?  People say, “I don’t have time to spend the last 10 minutes of a meeting talking about how this could have been more effective or what we’d like to do next time to make it more effective. I don’t have time for that.”  So, they’d rather go back to another lousy meeting.

It’s almost like the health field to me. I know it isn’t good for me to eat bacon, but it’s here and I love it so that’s too bad. I’m eating it anyway. That’s our question: why have we chosen to persist doing things that we know aren’t working for us? In the interest of what?  How do we change bad habits even if our whole organization has a bad habit?  It’s very hard to do. The best thing I’ve experienced is when people actually can stay with it long enough to experience it and see the difference.

The “Triple Impact” Program

Dorothy:  How have you found the way of keeping people engaged?

Edie:  It’s not easy. The thing that I would do with my “triple impact” programs is we meet once a month approximately for a day. We have an online, interactive thing going in between. Our clients have the constant opportunity to call us and be coached about something they’re doing and then letting us know how it happened and what they need to do differently and all that.  We try to build in as many support systems as we possibly can to help us go from a concept to a change of behavior, change a way of thinking. As a person in one of our groups says, “It’s a cosmic shift.”

And I think what we’re doing is a cosmic shift. We’re asking people to accept stuff that in many ways is countercultural to a lot of things that are going on today: we don’t have time, we’re too busy, all these kinds of things. We’re asking people to say no, no, a few moments of taking a deep breath and saying, what is my choice in this?  How could I become accountable for what I do, not continue to blame somebody else for what they’re doing for me? What do I want and what can I do to get it?  To take those few minutes could make a lifetime of difference. But, how do we get people from here to there? That is not easy.

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