Coaching as a Tool for the ECS Chairman

By Kevin MacDonald
In November of 2002 I was speaking at a Club Managers’ conference in San Antonio, Texas.  One of the speakers was Jim Singerling who was speaking to Club Managers about a challenge that he saw in the industry.  He was commenting on the fact that although the Club Management industry is made up mostly of people who are very concerned about professionalism there are some in the business who do not live up to these professional standards.  He was suggesting that because those of us in this industry build relationships with one another and often try to support each other we sometimes help those whose professional standards might be in question to continually get good jobs.  Although we’re doing this with the best intention we may be unknowingly perpetuating a problem that starts to paint us all with the same brush.  Mr. Singerling’s point was that as Club Managers we need to be accountable for not only the technical skills that we bring to the table but also for the personal foundation that we can build our future successes on. 

He mentioned to the audience that in his mind one of the best ways to build your personal foundation is to work with a coach.  Jim had seen me speak at the conference as a coach and a former Club Manager and asked if I would be interested in bringing coaching and a coaching culture to the Club Managers Association of America.  I was absolutely thrilled to be able to use my coaching skills in an industry and within an association that has done so much for me.  In September of this year the coaching program for CMAA was officially launched.  I was privileged to be able to address the ECS Chairmen and the leadership of various chapters who were in attendance at the Leadership Conference to describe the initial stages of the program that was about to be started.  I announced that the CMAA had arranged to make coaching available for its members.  The first group that was being targeted was made up of managers who have recently lost their jobs or are going through some sort of transition.  I made it clear that anyone could call for a coaching session but as I was speaking to the ECS Chairmen I was asking them to think of people in their chapters that could benefit from coaching because they were going through this sort of change. 

In September, Christian Thom announced as well that there would be a coaching section on the CMAA web site.  In this area people are able to ask questions on-line and see some of the answers to other people’s questions, find out about coaching and be able to connect to me personally.  CMAA members are able to book coaching sessions with me, typically scheduled on Tuesdays, and we have also made two hours available for “Just In Time” coaching.  This is designed for people who may just have a quick question they would like to pose to the coach or follow up on a previous coaching session.  These sessions are scheduled in 15 minute intervals between 11am and 12pm eastern, and 7pm and 8pm eastern.  During the first few months of this program I have received a great response from people throughout the CMAA. I have had coaching sessions with people from a wide variety of chapters and have received great comments from the people who have taken advantage of it. 

I would like to use this communication to ask you how I can support you in your role and I would also like to suggest ways that I think I can be of assistance.  In last month’s Outlook I wrote and article called “Congratulations, You’ve Lost Your Job!”.  This article has elicited a very strong response and although the title may seem somewhat provocative the people who have sent their comments and contacted me as a result of reading it clearly received the message that I could relate to their challenge of going through a transition.  If you haven’t read it I would ask that you do and use it as a potential resource for managers in your chapter who are going through this experience.    When you have read it I would like to you look at it from the perspective that my role as a coach is not so much about giving answers as it is about being a catalyst to help people shift their thinking.   One of the ways I believe that I can support you in your role as ECS Chairman is by encouraging you to book a coaching session with me.  My goal would be that you would have a better understanding of what the coaching experience is like thus giving you the confidence to recommend it to someone from your chapter.  The experience could also help enhance some coaching skills that you could employ as ECS Chairman and manager of your club.  The third and perhaps most important benefit would be building a relationship with you so that I can better understand how to support you.  What do you need?  What do your chapter members need?  How do we support someone who needs help today?

Over the next few months let’s really work together to see how coaching can enhance the support that you give to the members of your chapter in designing the future of their career.

Kevin MacDonald
Clarity Success Coaching
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