This is a tribute to a man who many consider to be the Godfather of Coaching. Sir John Whitmore recently passed away (28th April 2017) and this is my attempt to honour his memory. I was fortunate enough to have been trained by John back in 2002 when I completed his course based on his book ‘Coaching for Performance’ I then took this training to the next level when I completed his 3 day course entitled ‘Transpersonal Coaching’ Both courses were amazing and gave me a desire to explore my own coaching journey.
Firstly, to the courses and the the foundation for all my coaching since completing ‘Coaching for Performance. This was really a journey of giving you tools and techniques to become a competent coach. The GROW model was introduced and I still use the model to this day. The real secret to this was not the tools and techniques but was looking inside at my own personal improvement pilgrimage. John’s authenticity drove us to look inside for answers. Not once did he tell us what to do. He just asked the right questions. So many people if they just learnt to ask good questions and not tell people what to do could make a massive difference to personal performance. The video below shows an exercise we carried out.
Although the quality of the video is not great, I think you will get the message. We did exactly the same exercise and the results were incredible.
Following this course I signed up for the Advanced Coaching course ‘Transpersonal Coaching’ and was lucky enough to have Olympic gold medallist, David Hemery, as my coaching partner. This programme content was a real eye opener and I must admit I struggled with it at the time. It was delving deep into my own psyche and the different sub-personalities we all have. It took ‘Awareness’ and ‘Responsibility’ to new levels. It looked at your core values and beliefs. It was about EQ and your own personal growth. But it was even more than that. John took me on a developmental journey which I am still on to this day. We looked at spirituality and the impact we have on others. It really was a rollercoaster for me where I explored things I had never even thought of before. ‘Crisis of Meaning’; ‘Crisis of Duality’; ‘Personal Will’ are all things I am still researching. It is only 15 years on that the jigsaw picture is now taking shape.
John was an inspirational figure to me back in 2002 and 2003. Although we lost touch I received the odd message from John over the years and I truly treasured his wisdom. A truly humble man who not once told me what to do. He just asked brilliant questions. I try to do the same but I am nowhere near as fluent as I want to be.
John is best known for his business coaching but also through the Inner game series and Tim Gallwey has helped me in my football coaching. Sports coaching and Business coaching are very different but both aim to improve the player/person being coached. John states that ‘building awareness, responsibility and self-belief is the goal of the coach’ Too true! Our goal is to bring the best out in the people we are coaching. John taught me that in order to do this we must work on ourselves first. The dichotomy of this is obvious but being selfless and giving to others is key for me. John talked about moving through three stages in life. From dependent to independent to interdependent. We really need to get to that last stage where we depend on each other to flourish.
John, you have joined my other great great coaching hero John Wooden and I would love to hear your conversations!!. I had the privilege to be influenced by you and you have given me an invaluable gift. You practised this until your last breath. I hope I can honour you by doing the same.
You made me GROW. I salute you Sir.