John-Paul Flintoff




What would you work on, if you had a coach?

This post is for people who don’t have a clue what coaching is, and therefore don’t even think of trying it. It contains a few examples of work I did recently with coaching clients, and an offer.

Be more creative
I spent three hours with somebody, planning to turn a relatively dry academic subject into a thrilling, moving and funny theatrical performance. (I asked challenging questions, and the client’s creativity poured forth. Note: usually, my sessions are just an hour.)

Overcome limiting beliefs
I helped someone else prepare for a job interview he didn’t initially believe he could get. He firmly expected the interviewers to hate him. He also believed the job came with too high a salary, and wondered if he should offer to do it for half as much. (We found a way for him not to do that, and to recognise that his preconceptions about the interviewers weren’t helping.)

Stand up for yourself
I taught one young woman to stop saying yes all the time, when she obviously didn’t want to. (She’s now free to follow her own agenda, and beliefs.)

Feel your feelings
Over several sessions, I helped someone on the board of a large commercial organisation work through strong feelings as it became increasingly clear that excellence in the office had come at great personal cost. (The strong feelings are the reason we’re now addressing that.)

Be strongly committed
I invited another City-based client to physically wrestle me out of his way, to demonstrate his determination to get past the things that were blocking him. (He did, which gave us both a blast of adrenaline, and a laugh.)

Dream big, and make plans
I worked with a man in India who plans to turn his family business into the biggest of its kind in the world (The work continues.)

Prepare to sell
When a young client asked for me to help him with sales, I found him real products to sell, and over several weeks we worked through everything from lead generation to marketing and negotiation – with some tough role-play on cold calling.

Get it out there
And last week a group of brilliant coaches asked me to help find ways to put their work out into the world. Not just for their own benefit, but to make the idea of coaching itself better understood by the general public.

This post is my first response to their request. It’s an attempt to show what’s possible when an individual thinks out loud about how things could be better, in a structured conversation with somebody supportive who is willing and able to be challenging.

Please share this: there may be people you know who are struggling with something like the topics I’ve described above. If they read this, they might think of working with a coach. (Not necessarily me: I’m quite busy already, and there are lots of others out there.)


Page updated June 2021.


Posted: February 16, 2017

Keywords: coaching




John-Paul Flintoff headshot, with Yours Truly written across it John-Paul Flintoff is author of six books, in 16 languages, including How To Change The World and A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech. He worked for 15 years as writer and associate editor on the Financial Times, the Sunday Times and other papers and magazines.


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