The Author

The Coach Behind the Book

Reason for writing Coach Yourself to Win:

I recognized that there was a sizable coaching gap in the corporate world between those executives at director level and above—in whom companies are willing to invest—and all others. Beyond that, everyday people needed access to a methodology that can produce breakthrough results for them without having to rely on expensive seminars and tapes. There are a vast number of people who want to take their game to another level and don’t know how to do it. They don’t need theory.  I wanted to give them a rigorous, step-by-step way to achieve success.

Coaching philosophy:

Far too many people espouse the Popeye philosophy that “I am what I am.” They have a story in their head: “I am hardwired a certain way and cannot change.” There is an ongoing academic debate about whether people can change their personality. I’m not much interested in that. My focus has always been on changing behavior. Can you shift people’s behavior? Absolutely. You can help them shift their mind-set and provide them with skills to change their behavior, provided they feel that there is something at stake. The only time this may not be so is when you’re dealing with a psychological pathology. But most people can shift behavior with effective coaching and the right process.

Biggest challenge for executive coaches:

The toughest challenges I have experienced center around trying to dial up nonassertive people to become more powerful. You literally have to help them shift their world view so they believe that it is safe to become more assertive. It is far easier to dial down aggressive types.  Nonassertives are afraid of being authentic—giving truth to the old coaching adage that it’s always easier to dial people down than to wake the dead.

Biggest challenge for self-coachees:

Their willingness to be vulnerable and allow others to provide them with feedback. This requires the capacity to depersonalize the feedback and the ability to remain riveted on Intention. When you treat feedback as a gift rather than a threat, you open up the possibility of achieving personal breakthroughs.

Your own toughest self-coaching challenge:

Whenever I receive feedback, being able to actively listen and be present with someone without having my “ADD” story kick in, which then prompts me to move on—if not physically, then at least mentally. The people closest to me know that they have an absolute license to tell me when I am not remaining attentive.

Effective feedback is dynamic. It’s not as though people provide you with input, sit in the grandstand observing to see if you apply the formula, and then grade you. They are members of your coaching staff and are in the game with you. They know that they have a stake in the outcome; they don’t just sit on the sidelines and play the judgmental game of whether you get it right or not. They are on the field alongside you, providing feedback and even cheering.

Your biggest high from coaching:

Seeing someone manifest the Intention that they set. I provide feedback from myself and others; we discuss the Intention to change and create a plan to do so; we begin to see the positive impact of the change. For me, that’s the high! It happens often. A few months ago, I discussed with a client what he had to do to ratchet up his performance. The moment of truth came when he faced 100 executives in a room.  He was confident, crisp, and solicited feedback without being defensive. As he looked across the room at me, I gave him a thumbs up. It was deeply gratifying.

Howard M. Guttman

Principal of Guttman Development Strategies