Coaching the Coach

Just over a week ago I went through one heck of an experience.  I have been working with Dale Carnegie Training since September of 2008 to become a trainer for them.  Needless to say, it is a long process.  It all ended last Sunday.

I went to Iowa City for a four day weekend where I went through the final step of the process, what is called product endorsement.  I met up with five others who had gone through the same process as me and we were tasked with training a full course, for our very first time, with two master trainers watching us.  We had eleven participants over the four days.  Our days consisted of practicing from 8am – 1pm, followed by actually doing the program from 2pm – 6pm.  Then getting our assignments for the next day, studying, pretending to sleep and starting all over again.

The first day, I was a mess.  I was so concerned about getting everything correct, that I tripped all over myself.  I pointed out everything that I didn’t get right, and the master trainers had plenty to coach me on.

The second day was not much better.  I still was incredibly concerned about myself, and how to do what I was supposed to do exactly the “right way”.  The master trainers kept asking questions about what the participants were thinking and about how the participants were being drawn in.  That night I felt completely beat down.

But then something happened.  I stopped worrying about myself and I started worrying about what the participants were getting out of it.  Saturday, I was much more relaxed and focused on making sure the participants were picking up what I was laying out.

But Sunday was the real breakthrough.  If there were butterflies in my stomach, there wasn’t more than one or two.  I felt cool, calm and collected.  I chose one of the hardest sections of the day to facilitate, one of my hardest sections of the whole weekend, and I made it through with no problems at all.

I think one of my biggest breakthrough moments was when one of the master trainers was telling me that I was sounding robotic, or professorial in working my way through my section.  She kept repeating it and finally told me to sing the part that I was going through.  So I did.  I literally stood there in front of all eleven participants and just sang my section.  It took me completely out of myself.  It made me stop thinking and start doing.  I had done enough thinking.  I had been through this course several times before as a participant and as an assistant to the trainer.  Now I was free to just do it.

In four days I was transformed.  I am amazed at how powerful coaching can be in stretching us outside our comfort zone and pushing us to new levels so much faster than we think we can get there.  Four days!  I think having this experience at the very beginning of my role as a consultant for Dale Carnegie will be of unmeasurable value.  I know the power of Dale Carnegie coaching and training.  Now I get to go out there and share it with others.  How lucky can one guy get?

~Ryan Lynch