Discover “The Last Mile Technique”

If you are a coach, you most likely want to continuously grow, expand your coaching knowledge and help your clients get better results to make a bigger impact in the world.

And, you may also resonate with the feeling that many of the coaching frameworks you’ve learned are too restrictive, or structured, not taking into account the individuality of the person you are coaching. 

Have you been called to find a more natural, holistic way of working with your clients? One that gets to the heart of the matter, without following a strict script to get from A to B?

Then I hope you will join me for Dr. David Drake’s 90 minute workshop called “Discover the Last Mile Technique.” This is complimentary and I am looking forward to attending myself and learning how to help my clients see results with a more holistic approach. If you’d like to be my guest, please join me here –

Coaching and Mentoring for ALS Teachers in the ALS Teachers’ Summit 2018

Last November 22, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity of being one of the resource persons for the first ever ALS Teachers’ Summit 2018 sponsored by the Cebuana Lhullier Foundation, Inc. (CFLI) in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).  The partnership was established by CFLI in 2013 with the DepEd.  CFLI adopts local government units and public schools to make ALS available in their area.

“ALS” stands for Alternative Learning System (ALS) and is a parallel education system that is an option for those who do not or cannot have access to the Philippine formal education system.  ALS provides Academic, Livelihood, Spiritual and Social Education to former out-of-school youth and adults in the elementary and secondary levels.  Mobile ALS Teachers provide the alternative education and, at the secondary level, this is aimed at preparing youth and adults to take and pass the Junior High School and Senior High School equivalency tests, respectively.  Equipped with the knowledge and skills at said equivalency levels, test passers are helped to become more job-ready.

First ALS Teachers’ Summit 2018 Sponsored by Cebuana Lhuiller Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the Department of Education

Back to the summit, the overall intention of the summit was to provide ALS Teachers more opportunities for personal and professional development.  One day during the 2-day summit was devoted to helping them learn more about Coaching and Mentoring skills for ALS teachers and how they can use these to help youth and adults develop their full potential.  The role of teachers as coaches and mentors was explored and a coaching and mentoring approaches and skills were discussed.

We started with differentiating several helping modalities as these are often confused with one another.  The most succinct points that sums up the difference that I’ve found so far are the following.  In a nutshell…

  • Coaching is about generative change and enabling self actualization
  • Mentoring is about guiding from experience
  • Consulting is about giving advice and expertise
  • Training is about teaching and drilling in new skills
  • Counseling and therapy is about remedial change, i.e., solving problems, healing hurts, resolving traumas and building up ego-strength so the person gets up to average and becomes “okay“
    (L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.)

The GROW/TGROW Performance Coaching Model (John Whitmore) and the Narrative Coaching Model (Dr. David Drake) were introduced and discussed.  GROW/TGROW stands for Goals, Reality, Options, Way Forward, and T stands for Topic. GROW/TGROW is an approach for guiding a coaching conversation and may be used to guide a mentoring conversation as well.  Narrative Coaching “is a mindful, experiential, and holistic approach that helps people shift their stories about themselves, others, and life itself to create new possibilities and new results.

We live our lives according to the stories we tell ourselves and the stories that others tell about us.” (John M. Winslade and Gerald D. Monk, 2007.)

One insight during the interactions with ALS teachers is that more felt that the Narrative Coaching approach can support them more in helping out-of-school youth and adults, who typically come from disadvantaged backgrounds, to re-author the stories of their lives to develop and strengthen their positive self-esteem and self-confidence.  The stories we tell about ourselves and the stories that others tell about us are very powerful indeed, and often the impact they have on our thinking, feelings, choices and actions, remain blind spots for many who are clueless about their influence.

For example, an illiterate 15 year old youth may not have the motivation nor confidence to learn how to read and how to do simple math, believing that these are beyond his abilities. Such a limiting self-belief may continue to be perpetuated with his self talk and stories about himself that learning is beyond him and that he does not have what it takes to learn.  Stories about the times he tried but just did not learn are those that are most salient in his mind.  Others in his life may have the same beliefs about him expressed as stories about his lack of ability, motivation, and so on. Such stories also being most salient in their minds.  The vicious cycle continues and he has given up on himself.

With the help of an ALS teacher using a Narrative approach, he can explore areas where he may have higher self confidence, demonstrated the ability to learn, how these came to be, and how these may be resources for him to tap in learning how to read and do simple math.  Exploring events and interactions in his life which showed that he does have abilities for learning and many other skills, helps him create new stories about himself as a person with abilities that he may not have realized until this time.  The process goes on to “thicken the plot” of his new story that he is able and helps him to make new choices, including applying himself to his studies.  Enlisting the support of others in his family and environment are critical as well if creating new stories and making them stick.

The focus of coaching and mentoring is always supporting the “client” (a.k.a., “person coached” or “coachee” and/or “mentee” or “protege”) in achieving the outcomes that s/he has for herself/ himself.  Helping clients in discovering, exploring and realizing their fuller potential is what coaching and mentoring is about.  Coaching is about helping someone to learn instead of teaching them. Mentoring, on the other hand, may include advising and teaching someone by the mentor sharing their experiences.

Opening the ALS Teachers’ Summit 2018 are Pebbles Muñiz, Manager and Program Head for Education Education and Special Projects Department and Jonathan Batangan, Executive Director of Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Inc.
Vicky Mandap, Resource Person on Well-Being and Self-Care, Betty Narvaez, Training Manager, PJ Lhuillier, Inc., Maricar Testa, Resource Person for Coaching and Mentoring, and Jonathan Batangan, Executive Director of Cebuana Lhuiller Foundation, Inc.

To learn more about Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Inc. and its advocacy on education and the Alternative Learning System (ALS), visit the Cebuana Lhuillier Alternative Learning System website at

To learn more about the Alternative Learning System (ALS) in the Department of Education (DepEd), visit DepEd web page on ALS at

The Stories of Our Lives

A new journey that I started in 2018 was to learn more about Narrative Coaching. Taking the 6-month live virtual Enhanced Narrative Coach Practicioner Program of Dr. David Drake helped me realize that the stories we have and tell about ourselves, and those that others tell about us, are very powerful influences in our lives.

When the stories are “problem saturated,” transforming them into positive stories can make a huge difference in who we become and how things turn out. The origins of Narrative Coaching, as well as Narrative Counseling, spring from Narrative Therapy. Lucky for us who are keenly interested in learning more about Narrative approaches, tools and techniques, so that we can use these in helping others discover and achieve more of their potential, there are many resources available. One is the Dulwich Centre, Australia, that offers a free introductory course on Narrative Therapy.

One resource in the Centre that can help us realize the power of stories is the TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about “The Danger of a Single Story.” One key point is that there is never a single story about a place or a person, and to the extent that we blindly swallow and repeat single problem saturated stories, without ever questioning them, and without digging deeper and wider to learn about different perspectives and alternative realities, we perpetuate misunderstanding. Worse, we may be ignorantly and unfairly destroying others.

There are many stories we create about places, about ourselves, others, and just about anything. In the context of narrative practice, “stories consists of events, linked in sequence, across time, according to a plot” (Alice Morgan, 2000. What is narrative therapy?: An easy-to-read introduction (Gecko 2000) First Edition Edition.)

The power that we have over our stories is that we can re-story, that is, we can choose to create new stories that open new possibilities that can lead to a better future instead of staying stuck in destructive stories. As one colleague put it, “you are not your story.” A story is just a story, and we can break free from bad ones and pivot to new ones.

In the context of family, a lesson for parents is that you must carefully choose the stories you tell about your children, for the seeds of growth or destruction are nascent in such stories. Start with a negative plot line and highlight only negative events over and over, and the pattern will surely lead to a downward spiral. Instead, look for alternative positive plot lines, enrich these plots with positive events, and you have taken control over creating a brighter future.

This one TED Talk can make a difference for us and for others if we let the key messages sink in and stop mindlessly, or worse, maliciously repeating problem saturated stories that may just be based on mistaken assumptions to begin with.

We may have all been at the receiving end of single stories, as well as perpetrators of such stories. If we own that we are part of the problem, then we can begin to choose to take a different and constructive course of action.

Any change takes an open mind, an open heart, and an open will, to borrow from Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.

So, what are your stories about yourself and about others? What would be more positive stories instead?

How to Make the Most of Your Coaching Sessions

Your company has engaged a professional coach for its leaders and high potentials and you are one of them.  How do you make the most of this investment in your personal and professional growth?  Here are a few tips to consider:

  • In the context of your job role and career in the organization, reflect on your strengths and areas for development based on past and present,  formal and informal feedback, from your superiors, peers, and direct reports.  Identify possible developmental goals you may want to be coached on by your professional coach.
  • Talk to your executive sponsors about what they see as your strengths and areas for development that they would like you to be coached on, Take note of where your and their perspectives may be similar or different. Ask questions to better understand the perspective of your executive sponsor and share your own views as well.  Ask about what specifically they would like to see change and improve as outcomes of coaching.
  • If the company invested in a 360 feedback survey as an input to your receiving coaching, learn as much as you can about the tool and what feedback were given to you by the people you selected to be your 360 respondents. Keep an open mind and receive all feedback as the gifts that they are, both positive and negative.  You may not agree with the feedback, nevertheless, that is how you show up to the 360 survey respondents.
  • Remember that our intentions do not always manifest in ways that others perceive them. Sometimes, if not often, there may be disconnects between our intentions and the perceptions people have about us and our actions.  Areas where there are huge disconnects between our self perceptions and that of others are helpful places to start our reflection on how come there are these gaps and what actions we can take, things we can do differently (e.g., start, stop, continue doing), to bridge these gaps.
  • Identify the initial top three priorities you need and would like to be coached on by your professional coach and build agreement with your executive sponsors about these.  If it’s too soon to have specific goals at the start of the coaching, that’s fine. The initial coaching sessions can focus on deepening your awareness and understanding of the situation you are in and what makes sense to work on with your coach.
  • Between coaching sessions, be sure to work on whatever assignment or actions you agreed to do with your coach, and learn what you can from these.  No excuses.  Being a more self-motivated and self-directed adult learner, you take responsibility for yourself. Keep a learning journal to write your questions, perceptions, ideas and insights that can help you move forward with your intentions and goals.

We are all always learning, and brain research shows that we continue to rewire our brains through neuroplasticity and nuerogenesis even as we grow more experienced and older.  (Bergland, Christopher, Psychology Today, 2018) (Bergland, Christopher, Psychology Today, 2017)

Are You Ready for Coaching?

Your company has initiated a coaching program for high potentials. So you have been enrolled in a three month coaching program by your boss, your sponsor. What now? What can you do to get ready and make the most of this great opportunity to work with a professional coach?

Here are eight questions to think about.

  1. Are you prepared to take responsibility for your own growth and development?
  2. What specific goals do you need and/or want to focus on during the three month coaching program?
  3. Are you willing to talk to your boss and discuss what goals she had in mind for you?
  4. Are you willing to work on these goals as well?
  5. Are you willing to listen and receive feedback?
  6. Are you willing to be open to another person?
  7. Are you committed to taking action on your learning?
  8. Are you willing to commit to the weekly coaching sessions?

To get you started, consider these points.

1. Are you prepared to take responsibility for your own growth and development?

You are always responsible for your own personal and professional growth and development. Other people may be there to help you, and unless they know what you need and want, they may not be able to help you as much.

2. What specific goals do you want to focus on during the three month coaching program?

Based on your experience and feedback from others, what do you want to be different? What do you want to change and be better?  If you have information from a 360 assessment that you took, go over it carefully and ascertain what areas/competencies you need to work on.

3. Are you willing to talk to your boss and discuss what goals she had in mind for you?

What are your boss’s reasons for enrolling you in the program? What did she want you to take away from it? What benefits did she hope you would get so that you can be a better you and more ready to take on new challenges?  Take the initiative to meet with your boss on a periodic basis to find out how you are doing, to discuss your career goals, and to give feedback about your progress relative to your agreed upon goals.

4. Are you willing to work on these goals as well?

How similar or different are the goals that your boss had in mind and your own goals?  If they are quite different, how do you reconcile these differences and prioritize what to focus on during the three months?  Get agreement on the priority goals.

5. Are you willing to listen and receive feedback?

How open are you about feedback that may not sit well with you or that you may disagree with? Think of all feedback, good and bad, as gifts of different points of view to explore. Ask yourself what might be the truth in each of these and how you can use these different perspectives to help you grow.

6. Are you willing to be open to another person?

Take heart, confidentiality is part of coaching. Typically, what you discuss with your coach is confidential. Often, the responsibility for updating your boss is with you. Nevertheless, it would be helpful for you to have a discussion about the limits of confidentiality with your coach and your boss. What is the coach required to report on?

7. Are you committed to taking action on your learning?

While the coaching process may give you a lot of opportunity to reflect on the present situation, you must take steps to act on what you have learned to move closer to your goals. If you have an “assignment” between one session and the next, work on it and learn in the process.  If you want to make progress, you must be willing to change self limiting beliefs and behaviors.

8. Are you willing to commit to the weekly coaching sessions?

Last, but not least, is that you will show up and on time during your coaching sessions.  Plan your week and block off your calendar to make sure that you don’t schedule anything else during your coaching session.  Coaching is an investment in your future and deserves your time and energy.

Want more?  Read “Get the Most Out of Executive Coaching” from the HBR Blog Network.

Check out this “coachability” quiz at

Is Coaching and Counseling the Same?

No, they are not.  Some folks may, however, confuse coaching with counseling and this is not unusual. Both coaching and counseling focus on helping people deal with difficult challenges or issues. Both may also focus on helping an individual to change her behavior.  How are they different?

Counseling typically involves people who are experiencing some dysfunctional behavior or internal turmoil. Counseling is often focused on healing past wounds and looking for the cause or origin of the dysfunctional behavior. Going back to the past is intended to help the client get unstuck, to gain understanding on how the behavior may be causing problems in the present and the dynamics involved, and then to be able to move forward in making the change the client wants.

Coaching is for everyone. In the corporate world, coaching is often an investment made to help high potentials progress towards their full potential and prepare them for bigger challenges. In families and communities, it is for anyone who would like to have a “thinking partner” in pursuing her work, life, or other goals. Coaching has a future focus and aims to create a desired state, that is, the goals that the client wants to achieve. It focuses on helping the client clarify her goals, assess the present, and identify what steps or actions she will take to achieve her goals. It is more focused on the future.

The lines between coaching and counseling may not always be clear, especially for a client. What’s important is that the coach can ascertain whether his client needs coaching or counseling. And, unless the coach is also a trained counselor, the coach will refer his client to counseling.

What is Professional Coaching and How Is It Different From Other Service Professions?

One of the things that a coach must do at the beginning of a coaching relationship is to help her coaching client better understand what professional coaching is and how it is different from other service professions.  Often, coaching clients mistakenly think that coaching is the same as giving advice or consulting or counseling. However, these are different in important ways. Key points are quoted from Coaching FAQs in the International Coach Federation website.

What is professional coaching?

“ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential… Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”

How is coaching distinct from other service professions?

Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.

Therapy: Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.

Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.

Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.

Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.

Athletic Development: Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.”

Source:  Retrieved from Coaching FAQs at

Visit the International Coach Federation website to learn more about professional coaching at

Knowing Which Hat To Wear

So what if consulting, coaching, and mentoring are different form each other? As a professional coach, it is important to know how one is similar and different from the other so that you know which hat to wear given a specific client requirement or situation.

One interesting perspective was given by Edgar Schein when he wrote about indoctrination, training, education and coaching in his essay Coaching and Consultation Revisited, Are They The Same? Essentially, all these involve changing the behavior of an individual or groups of individuals in an organization. One can say the same thing about consulting and mentoring as well.

Schein clarified that what’s different is that in coaching the coach does not necessarily have in mind a predetermined direction or outcome, the coach does not have arbitrary power over the person, and that the person volunteers and is motivated to learn.

He thought of coaching as helping a person develop a new way of seeing, feeling about, and behaving in situations that are defined by the person, the client, as problematic. In coaching, the goal is selected by the client. He viewed coaching as a subset of consulting.

While you may or may not agree that coaching is a subset of consulting, at the end of the day, you may agree with his point that it’s more important that you can easily move from one role to the other as needed, and that the ultimate skill of a coach is to assess the moment-to-moment reality that will help him or her know which hat to wear to be in the appropriate role.

From Consulting to Coaching: How is Coaching Different from Consulting

Having been a management consultant for many years, one of the questions that intrigued me was how is coaching really different from consulting and how can I be a better coach given my consulting background. I had the mistaken notion that being a management consultant all these years automatically made me a good professional coach. One of the things I learned is that the mindset and approach is different.

Coaching involves working with clients or “coachees” to help them maximize their personal and professional potential. While this can mean a lot of things, however, the focus of coaching is the coachee, that is, helping her to clarify her developmental goals, determine alternative courses of action, moving forward to achieve her goals, and holding her accountable for these.

While there are various niches of coaching, such as executive coaching, team coaching, life coaching, performance coaching, business coaching, and more, the essence is that it is the coachee who is ultimately responsible developing greater self awareness, gaining insights about herself and what may be keeping her from moving forward, for assessing the choices available to her, and for deciding and taking a course of action. The coachee works on and with herself with the coach as a facilitator, not as an adviser, mentor or consultant. Personal change and growth happens from the inside out.

Consulting involves working with organizations to analyze business problems or challenges and providing advice and solutions, including helping the client to implement these. Consultants are typically engaged because they are domain or subject matter experts in a particular industry, a particular business line, a functional or process or other specialization. They are expected to address the business challenges with implementable and working solutions that enable the client to achieve the desired business outcomes.

From my coaching experience, I’ve learned that I am not there to “fix” the coachee, as the coachee does not need or want fixing. I am not there to do something to the coachee, but rather I must have strong coaching presence so that the coachee and I take our evolving journey together. I go with flow while also influencing the conversation to achieve the coachee’s desired goals and outcomes.

From my consulting experience, the consultant was always expected to analyze and solve the problem, or to analyze the new business requirements, draw up the action plan to get from point A to point B, help organize and run the project implementation teams, and actually implement the change. Thus, in other words, the consultant is expected to “make things happen,” “make things work,” and “get things done” while working with her client counterparts.

Definitions of Interest

There are many definitions of coaching and management consulting, nevertheless, these selected ones help to clarify these two professions.

Coaching: “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. It is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses, or organizations.”

– The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is recognized worldwide as the credentialing organization for professional coaches.

Management Consulting: “Management consulting indicates both the industry of, and the practice of, helping organizations improve their performance, primarily through the analysis of existing business problems and development of plans for improvement. A management consultant is a professional who, for a fee, provides independent and objective advice to the management of client organizations to define and achieve their goals through improved utilization of resources. He or she may do this by diagnosing problems and/or opportunities, recommending solutions, and helping implement improvement.”

– The Institute of Certified Management Consultants of the Philippines (ICMCP) is an institute affiliated with The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI). The ICMCS is an international membership organisation and a network of the management advisory and consultancy associations and institutes worldwide, who have a common purpose and shared values and goals.

Which is Right for You, Executive Coach or Career Counselor?

One question you may have is what is the difference between an executive coach and a career counselor.  I came across an interesting and similarly titled article which sought to help leaders assess which one is right for them.

The article gave the context that organizational leaders today face many tough challenges such as economic uncertainty, faster technology, globalization. We can add more such as unrelenting competition, talent shortage and workforce mobility, to name a few.

To be successful, leaders must develop not only new skills but also broader and alternative perspectives. The question is, how does a leader go about identifying and developing these?  The answer is, and you guessed right, through working with an executive coach or career counselor.

While both help their clients assess and develop their professional capabilities, these are some distinctions between executive coaches and career counselors, and understanding what kind of transition you are making can hekp you make the right choice.

If you are making a career change or are considering one, a career counselor may be more helpful to you in identifying and exploring your career options. Career counselors would have more information about job and career opportunities in various industries.  They can also do assessments of your interests and skills.

If you are working to develop your full potential, which is a never ending journey, an executive coach is the better choice.  Executive coaches help you in ascertaining and focusing on your priority development goals and in moving forward to achieve these.

In a nutshell, if you are making a career change, seek a career counselor, and if you need support in moving foward to develop your full potential, seek an executive coach.