22 October 2020

The Coaching Experiment

If you’d like to be part of a coaching experiment, apply here by November 1st, 2020. Anyone not selected or applying after the deadline will be considered for further cohorts which would start in the second half of 2021 (you can also re-apply if you’re not happy with your first application submission).

What is this all about?

The Coaching Experiment will select 4 participants – 2 men and 2 women – from various parts of the world. Each participant will benefit from my coaching for free over a period of multiple months. In exchange, participants will have to record themselves during each coaching session and to document their progress between coaching sessions in the form of videos (and in any other format at their discretion). Using all that video material, a reality show will be created and released around June 2021. In that series, viewers will have the choice to either watch all coaching sessions in full or a summary of those sessions interspersed with the progress of all participants. If you’d like to be notified when the series is released, or to have access to extra content, add your email address into this form. It’s all free, what’s not to like!

What are the goals?

I have 3 objectives with this experiment:

  • make each participant succeed in accomplishing the goals they would have set for themselves;
  • inspire viewers when the series comes out: I want them to feel a sense of connection with the participants, to feel energised in accomplishing their own goals – it would be great for the series to receive at least a few thousand views (so don’t hesitate in sharing the form that collects email addresses of those interested to watch, or to contact me if you’d like to help with the promotion of the series);
  • demystify what coaching is: surprisingly, I didn’t find any real-life coaching examples on YouTube – perhaps people are too shy (sure enough, coaching is very personal and private) – so I find it difficult for anyone to relate or judge a coach’s skills purely based on simulated coaching sessions. This series will hopefully give a much better sense of what coaching is.

Why such a project?

It’s actually not the first time I offer free coaching. In 2013, I had publicly offered to help anyone for free on a range of topics. The only condition? That they pay it forward i.e. that they help someone else after I’d help them. This experience was enriching of course, and it also led to forming some close friendships. I’ve since continued to provide coaching in ad hoc ways but also more formally within Google, helping both individual contributors and managers. I did receive some training but nothing as intensive as what “professional” coaches go through in the numerous institutes that exist out there. In fact, while I can follow some useful coaching frameworks, I like to remain flexible, blending coaching with mentorship as need be. And if you’re confused about the differences between those two terms, don’t worry too much – to simplify, coaching is mostly about guiding the coachee towards solutions they’ll come up with and commit to; mentoring is instead mostly about sharing experience the mentor possesses and that’s relevant to the mentee.

So I don’t claim to know it all, far from it. I even suffer from “impostor syndrome” at times. But hopefully I do bring something to the table. I also believe anyone can be trained to become a coach to others – you’ll see some of that in action during the series. In fact, “to be a great manager, you have to be a great coach” (Adam Grant in his foreword to Trillion Dollar Coach). And if you’re hesitating to get a coach, ponder the following: even top athletes, including and especially the ones competing at the Olympics, have coaches.

Truth be told, I have already received applications of several people whose profiles look very interesting. So if you’re not subscribed to my newsletter, for this is how they heard about the coaching experiment before anyone else, go ahead and subscribe (that’s also free!).

If you’re willing to become better at something or get someone to hold you accountable to help you finally achieve what you’ve been putting on the back-burner for so long, go ahead and apply to the coaching experiment. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!