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What is Coaching?


Rabbi Joshua Ritchie MD   •   June 8, 2014


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Hirsch: I came from a completely different field. I was a lawyer and I practiced law for twenty years where I practiced law for 20 years in Massachusetts. The type of law I practiced was I started as a litigator in a firm and in another firm, I did other things, and then, I went into a big company. Then I was laid off from the company – a lot of people have that experience of working somewhere and having that place go away – my company literally went away so I had to make up a business, so I started my second business, the first one was practicing law traditionally, the second one was creating a business being a contract lawyer for busy in-house legal departments in order to get work for that business, I had to do a lot of networking and I networked my way into companies, some of them, depending on where the people are located, some of them are names you may have heard of like T.J. Maxx, Staples, Welchs, I had fifteen companies in all.


One day I realized I liked getting business a lot more than doing work, and all of my friends were asking me how I got business and I gave away all of my secrets which I will give over the course of the program, and, they’re not complicated secrets, they’re all somewhere in the Torah, like be nice to people, be respectful, things like that, and I built a business coaching, first lawyers then other professionals get business, which are the classes I teach here, and then, I got involved with somebody, a person here who wrote the book called Trusted Advisor, and he actually hired me to be his executive coach, which was not something I had really done before. I developed executive coaching with him, and I became the executive coach with Trusted Advisor and Associates, which is his company, that led to getting some introductions to some very senior leaders in some very large companies here. I ended up coaching some people who became General Counsel, the head lawyers in some very large companies, and some other positions like that.


Through networking, I also ended up getting involved with a publisher of a magazine called Inside Consul, the result of that has been, I have been involved with helping women become leaders in the legal areas in their big companies, and I also write a column for the company which has a subscription, I think a print subscription of somewhere in the 40,000 range and there are about 20,000 online. I was just on the phone with a publisher right before this call, which is why I could not get on earlier. I’m actually coaching him – doing some executive coaching and that’s kind of my background. I do a lot of coaching with a lot of different kinds of people – some of it involves a little consulting because I have a little specialized knowledge and a lot of it is straight coaching, which is a little more pure and asking more questions and helping people figure out what they want to do and makes the person think out loud about the things they have to do and how to do them, difficult conversations and other similar things that they have. That’s a very quick version.


The courses or classes I teach here are the marketing ones, like finding your niche and marketing your niche and, of course, how to coach by telephone. All of my clients are by telephone. I have all but two, one who I visit in person from time to time and the rest are really scattered throughout the United States. I have a couple in other places, other parts of the world, and I also teach a class on being a trusted advisor, so that’s the classes I teach here and a little bit about my background, so I’ll open up now for questions or anything you’d like to do for the next five to ten minutes.


Ritchie: Very nice. So Stewart is open for questions now, so speak up, please. If you want to unmute yourself on the telephone it’s *7 – will unmute you. If you want to unmute yourself on WebEx, you just have to click to the right of your name, where it has the mute and unmute symbol.


Hirsch: Ok, it doesn’t sound like any questions.


Man 2: Hello, Stewart.


Hirsch: Yes.


Man 2: Do you have anything to say about if you were only to take the select coaching course and not have any other degree in the field, it was just this course, what do you think the outcomes would be?


Hirsch: Wow, that’s such a broad question. I’ll give you my perspective of what the outcomes could be – one is you become a better person, that’s a pretty easy one, you become better at listening, better at communicating, depending on you, which I haven’t asked any questions yet, so if I was a really good coach, I would say there was much more about what’s behind your question but because your question is so broad, it actually has a lot of relevance for maybe a bunch of other people. In terms of being able to be a life coach, many people have left this course, I’m sure Dr. Ritchie has more knowledge than me, I don’t have much knowledge about what people have specifically done, although some people have kept in touch with me. People that have used the skills – people who have taken this course have used this course to enhance their abilities to lead schools, to sometimes actually coach in business, many have done individual personal coaching, so all of those things from learning hos to coach. What is your particular question? What’s behind your particular question?


Ritchie: Let me comment just a tiny bit. Usually where people end up working is where their heart leads them. Even, we have had some very young people finish our program who really had great empathy for young teenagers. They might just be older teenagers themselves, but the training skills that they got here, they were really able to help younger teenagers, for instance, or they might be working with children. We’ve had some rather young people take our course with not a lot of expertise or superb education but with coaching skills, they were tremendously helpful to others who could relate to them because they had empathy and an understanding and sympathy and they were close to them so they thought they could trust these people. You have to ask yourself, what prompted yourself to want to become a coach? Who did you want to help? Now, those are usually the people who you end up helping.


Hirsch: Does that help answer your question? Between the two of us?


Man 2: That was helpful – I guess a lot of my questions comes from stress these days to get a degree, certain certificates, psychology you especially need a masters degree, and that was a helpful answer and yes, credential-wise…


Ritchie: I can tell you a story about one of our graduates who got a psychology degree and then he went on to get a two-year Masters degree at NYU in Counseling & Psychology, and he went out to do some practice and was very disappointed – he didn’t feel like he could help people. He, then, decided to take our program and was very cheerfully and gladly telling us, with our training, how satisfied he was that he was really now able to help people. It’s true – he had the credentials before but he didn’t have the skills. It’s true, most university programs training, even in psychology, are academic. They are not skills-based, they’re not hands on, they’re not practical skills.


To become a licensed clinical psychologist, you need a masters degree and five years of an internship, and then you can finally start practicing but the training they give you is not very good, I hate to tell you because it’s old-fashioned Freudian, psychoanalytical approach which has not been scientifically validated or proven to be worthwhile. So you can spend years to get trained, get licensed and still not be able to help people. At the end of the year, here, you will be able to help people. Now, whether that’s good enough for you, whether you feel you need more credentials, that’s another story.


If you think you’ll make more money spending all of those years getting more credentials, probably not so, but some people are living in a world where they’re going to consult with social workers or therapists who are going to say, you have to do like I did, you have to spend years and years getting training before you can diagnose and treat. We don’t diagnose people. We take people as they are, find out what it is that they want to accomplish, and we help the accomplish it. Simple as that, and you can do that. You don’t need spend years and years getting degrees and licensing to do that. You don’t need the license, you need the skills, and if you have the desire to help people and the skills to help people, you will help people.  Some people will make more money, some will make less, some will find a career in this, some will find a career in that way. Some will only use it as their, so to speak, their hassic in the world, but you’ll all at the end of the year really be able to help people and have a great deal of satisfaction from that.


Hirsch: Generally in the personal coaching world, people don’t hire people because of their credentials. You have to learn the skill – it’s really important to have the skill. In the business world, it’s actually a little more relevant. I actually, for many years, had no credentials except that I was a lawyer and people considered me to be a very good coach – so I’ve been coaching since 1994 and have a very good business and includes some consulting too, not just coaching, but without coaching, I wouldn’t have been able to develop this business.


Man 2: Are you in America or are you in Israel?


Hirsch: I am in America.


Man 2: Which part?


Hirsch: Massachusetts.


Man 2: Are you able to be contacted? I’m in New Hampshire.


Hirsch: OK, I didn’t hear the first part of that.


Man 2: I’m in New Hampshire, I didn’t know if it would be possible to speak with you at some point, in addition to this.


Hirsch: So I live in Sharon, I don’t know if you’ve ever been or passed through.


Man 2: Sharon, yes, I know Sharon.


Hirsch: Well if you happen to be here, I’d be happy to visit with you.


Man 2: I can get that information through Professor Ritchie?


Hirsch: Yes, or you can also look me up, I’m all over the website, but I’m also on LinkedIn – but if you go to LinkedIn, you have to tell me who you are because people send me blank LinkedIn messages.


Man 2: How do you spell your name?


Ritchie: H-I-R-S-C-H and S-T-E-W-A-R-T. Thank you, Stewart.


Woman 6: Hello, I’m already convinced that coaching is a worthwhile program and Refuah Institute would be very beneficial to take the courses, but what I was hoping for was to hear a little bit about what I would hear in the classes. I’m hearing a lot about outcomes, and how great it is, I would like to hear a little taste of wisdom or something.


Hirsch: I can only talk about what I teach, and the one I do on trusted advisor is one to talk about. Coaches are trusted advisors, first we talk about why that’s important, then I go through the trust equation that came out of the book and the book the Trusted Advisor. A lot of its online and it goes through them, so I’ll give you a snippet of the trust equation so you will learn how to be trustworthy. The trust equation is trustworthiness equals, this is an equation so if you write this down, or go online to the trusted advisor or to, you’ll see some of this stuff.


The class on that goes through, as I said the equation, the equation is trustworthiness equals credibility plus reliability plus intimacy (which is connectedness) over (because an equation has to have a numerator and a denominator) self –orientation and we’ll talk a lot about what credibility means, what reliability means, what intimacy means and what is self-orientation? Which is about motivation. So what we’ll talk about in the class is how to boost your credibility, which is your credentials which is not just necessarily about coaching credentials but how to boost your reliability, how to boost your intimacy, how to stay connected making sure discretion is used, and how to make sure you do not give an appearance and as a person, not self-oriented, motivated by your own success and not the person that you’re talking with. These are all coaching principles, these are all very important principles for being trustworthy. That’s that class. We take a good two hours going through that and we have an exercise that we do to help people recognize trust-related issues that come up in everyday situations. One is to help you learn it two is to help you use the tools for when you’re coaching.


The other class is on coaching my telephone, and that one, we talk a lot about some of the things that make coaching work by telephone, some of the things you have to do is to make sure you have a clear space, you’re not interrupted, and lots of other things by how coaching by telephone can really work. We really start that class by talking about how people do if some people are uncomfortable coaching by telephone, and they want to do it in person, and we talk about whether that’s real and by the end of the class, most people say you know, I could do this. I could coach by phone.


How is that? Is that enough in about two minutes or less?


Woman 6: Yes, thank you very much.


Hirsch: And there’s so many other classes, but I can’t talk about those because they’re not mine.


Woman 6: Thank you.


Ritchie: You’ve also done them all, so you could probably talk about them.


Hirsch: Oh yes, probably could but I won’t venture to go that route. I do have to go – I have a coaching client that’s going to be visiting live and in person, very rare, but it is Sunday afternoon so I have to go and get ready for that, but hopefully this has been helpful for you all.


Ritchie: Thank you, Stewart.  Very appreciated.


Hirsch: Thank you. Bye.


Ritchie: We’re very grateful that we have Stewart on our faculty. He’s a master coach – he’s not only a great coach for his clients, but he’s’ a great coach for us. I, personally, work with him as my coach at least a couple of times a month and all of our students are both taught and coached by him. It’s a valuable opportunity and exposure to someone of with his skills and caliber. Lillian, did you want to introduce yourself or did you want to wait? It’s up to you… You are ready now? While my wife is getting ready, did you want to say hello? Zalmon, thank you for coming. Lillian, why don’t I have you sit here, sweetie.


Lillian: So it’s such a pleasure to hear these voices, to feel the care that is behind it and what you want to do. You really want to help people – it’s the highest profession. This is the profession of the sadiki – they are here to really love people and through this love and kindness and open up and have the courage to make new good decisions and to know what you really want. You really want to serve in the highest way and sadiki will bring that forefront and to listen to people’s challenges, weaknesses, depression, and you give a lot of confession so people can regain their courage and this is what we do in coaching. Even though we are not at the level of sadik, it is amazing how much we can help people, and how much you will be able to help people.


It’s a great calling – it gives you a sense of mission, a sense of purpose in life, and this is the greatest privilege that anybody can ask for and to serve Hashem in the highest way and help people in the highest way. You receive this in your training – you will read quite a few books, and you will benefit from this professional experience of many, many people and receive some encouragement of your own experience and your own love and care for people for addressing you with lots of joy and lots of growth in an easy way. This is the beauty of coaching that you can grow easily without going through conductions and depression and sense of failure and worthlessness. You are addressing people’s real worth and remind them of the good things they did in life, good things they have accomplished and helping them regain themselves again.


So there’s a lot to learn and a lot to enjoy and thank you for joining the course. It’s a very good idea.


Ritchie: One thing that I think, might not be clear to everybody, probably most of the learning is not through the lectures, which is obviously very important and valuable, but how you become a coach is the other parts of the program. A major part of the program is the practicums – the practice sessions that we offer five or six times a week for an hour and a half or two-hour sessions where several of our students call by conference call, like they have called in, with a faculty member. 


You discuss client situations, you role play them – you might bring up your own issues, you might bring up issues of somebody else and you might role play with somebody who needs coaching, and you’ll play that role as though you’re that person and somebody else would coach them or might ask somebody ask to role play being a certain type of problem and you’ll see how you coach them and then you’ll get feedback from your classmates, you’ll give yourself feedback, you’ll self-evaluate yourself, you’ll hear from the faculty person with some questions and some suggestions and some guidance as to how you can work with it.


As you do these hours of listening to others do the exercise and do the exercises themselves, you’re actually in a very safe environment practicing being both a client and a coach, you’re really learning a great deal of what it feels like to be coached and you learn a great deal of how to coach. Like any skill, the more you do it, the more natural it becomes and the better you become at it, so it’s not that you have some lectures which are really very good lectures but that’s not enough, you need to then use your skills and you’ll use your skills in these practice sessions and you’ll use them and will be required to use them working with clients. Clients can initially be friends and family, that you’ll find, or they may be your students, they might be employees, they may be acquaintances but you’ll be using what you learn every week by week, you’ll be practicing skills with people whether you formally tell them you’re doing coaching or you’re just sort of doing it because that’s now what you’re doing.


You now know how to talk to people and guide people in a way that feels natural after awhile, and as you practice these skills, you will learn to self-observe, self-evaluate, self-improve, and self-correct and self-manage yourself to becoming a better and better coach so that at the end of the year, you yourself will see the difference and you will also hear it from everyone around you. Our students at the end of the training are always telling us how their families are saying wow, you’re different. You’re really hearing me, you’re really understanding me, you’re really helpful. You’re really making a difference. It’s amazing because the people that take our program are starting are program are starting at a good place, but they, yet, still have so much to grow.


When I started formally coaching, learning coaching, teaching coaching, I thought I was pretty good. I had been a doctor for almost fifty years, more than forty years teaching students, training students and doctors, I have grown tremendously in my ability and my skills in these last fifteen, twenty years, there’s always more to learn and the field of coaching begins to grow. What’s nice about coaching is they do take it basically as an empirical science, a lot of old fashioned, like psychoanalysis, was not, people were not doing evidence-based improvement. What’s nice about coaching and the types that we do are called solution-focused coaching, cognitive behavioral coaching, neurolingustic programming coaching, reality therapy coaching, a lot of different coaching and the types of coaching that we teach and do are all validated and evaluated by studies showing their efficacy and they continue and we continue to improve our techniques depending on the types of results that we get, so it’s not just based on philosophy or theory, it is based on practical proof, in which a sense is the Torah’s way. If you can bring evidence that some thing works, you have to bring proof, and in coaching, fortunately, there’s a lot of proof to be brought.


One of the nice ways coaching first developed was it started in the sports world, where you could measure the performance of an athlete, then it moved into the business world where you could measure the performance of a business – how much money they made, how much production went off – so you could measure quantify productivity, profit, income, there were ways of measuring, and to this day, if somebody, a business, a corporation brings in a coach, they’re looking to see what can they measure and as they call it, the return on investment, can not only be ten-fold but it can be hundreds of fold and usually it is. For every $1,000 they spend on coaching in a big organization, they expect to make tens and thousands of dollars and sometimes millions of dollars of they benefit and they show it. They can measure it.


In coaching in general, you will be taught how to help your clients measure when you build – what we call smart plans and smart goals, and you help the client. SMART stands for Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Timely, and one of the major part is the ‘M’ – the Measurable. We will teach you and you will coach your clients how to measure their success. Even when it’s abstract things like how happy are they, there are ways to help them scale and measure week by week and month by month their progress, so it is a evidence-based practical pragmatic provable, measurable, accomplishment that you’re going to be working with – your clients – and helping them accomplish things that will give them great satisfaction and will give you great satisfaction because you have demonstrable evidence that you have helped people and you’ll, if you’re a good coach, you’ll ask them frequently, is this coaching helping you?


Are you getting what you want and need and do you feel understood? Are we dealing with the topics that you need to deal with? Are we going about it in the right way, and is the outcome what you wanted? Are you getting what you want and need? And you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much positivity you will get and if you get some suggestions for where you could improve, you can use those suggestions and improve and be even better next time, and your clients will really appreciate that you are really honest and caring and have the clarity and strength to ask those questions.


A master coach commands a great deal of respect even when he plays it like being simple and asking was that helpful and asking question? We are very respectful with the client – we collaborate with the client in a way that it’s a partnership. We’re not treating them as an inferior that we have to fix. We relate to our clients as an ally as an alliance as a partnership and they greatly appreciate that – they thrive on that. It’s a beautiful way of working with people, and people appreciate it – they thrive off of it. You’ll thrive through this program – which our students tell us they do. Let me hear some more comments. When we finish all of this, if there are people who want to talk to us offline, you can do that as well, if you want to get information sent to you, or if you want to make an appointment to talk to us more, we’d be happy to do that.


Raquel: It’s Raquel from before. I was wondering if you could give us more insight about the nature of the courses and what you are offering.


Ritchie: Well, why don’t you read what we sent you? Did we send you anything yet? If not, there’s a list of what the 36 lectures are, for instance.


Raquel: Oh ok, I just have to go to the site.


Ritchie: If you’ll read the list of 36 lectures, I think it will give you a good idea of what we will be offering you. If we put it up on the screen on the WebEx, I can’t read it that well on my screen, but it should have gotten to you by email, but if it hasn’t, please ask for it again. There’s a compilation of the 36 lectures with the topics and who’s giving the lectures, so I think that should give you a pretty good idea of what’s covered. And you can take as many as more than a 100 of these practice sessions where these subjects and others will be brought up and discussed, so you’ll have a chance to discuss that with a faculty person and some of your classmates several times as you’ll have the opportunity to join those sessions and cover even more and personalize it. The list of 36 topics is included in the mailing that you should get or I think it’s also findable on the website if you look at, on one of the pages talking about the course, this same list should appear somewhere on the website.


Raquel: So the course is one year and there’s a lot of internship practicum over the one year? How does that work?


Ritchie: During the year, the twelve month period, there will be 36 lectures, weekly, except for during the holidays and the summer break. During the year, which is more than forty weeks, you will be offered five times or six times a week, an opportunity by telephone conference, just like how you joined this now this telephone conference, you’ll join a faculty person and some classmates and you’ll get to do your discussions, raise your questions, and your practicing – play coach or play client or observe others doing role playing coach or client. Those are at assorted times, so you can choose a time or two or three or four that suits you. Some people join four or five times a week, some do it every now and then, the minimum is at least ten of these hour and a half to two-hour sessions.


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