A good coach will basically be doing one
or more of the "Four Cs" with the client at any
given time:
Clarify, Comfort, Challenge or Confront

 

 

 

  In private practice for over twenty years, Dr. Anderson specializes in unraveling human snarls that prevent efficient and profitable functioning in individual people, their families, family businesses and corporate teams.
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Once, in an ancient circus a dear mother elephant gave birth to her one and only offspring, a son. She loved him as a good mother should, cared for and protected him.

As the boy elephant grew, things about him came to light. He was intelligent, curious, obedient and as all elephants should, remembered everything. One thing stood out; he had very long ears. In fact, as he grew, his ears grew twice as fast. Soon, they drug the ground when he walked and came underfoot, causing him to step on them and trip. When he tried to run and play, he'd fall, roll in the dirt and tumble like a weed.

Then the greatest of insults: the other circus animals laughed and ridiculed him. They called him "Dumbo". After a time, mostly all the mother's son could do was hide shyly behind her and weep in shame. Even his mother felt the disgrace and became disheartened.

As a last resort, Mother Elephant hired a coach for her son. The coach was called "Timothy the Mouse". He wore a red top hat, a gold chain around his tiny neck and waved a baton in the air when he gave orders. Up onto the head of Dumbo he sprang to get to work and solve this problem. But, this was no run-of-the-mill coaching challenge. Dumbo was mired in negative self image. He told Timothy he, the coach, was the worst of his tormentors teasing him with false promise of success despite his birth defect.
Timothy persisted. "You are not who you think you are. You are a flying elephant, the star of the circus, the only such elephant alive. Come on. I'll prove it to you. Climb with me to the top of the tallest circus tent pole, jump and you will fly." Both Dumbo and his mother thought this was over the line for Timothy to taunt Dumbo with his disability and Mother Elephant fired Timothy the Mouse on the spot.

"I have one last secret plan", Timothy said. "One more try and I'll leave you alone in your misery. Just a minute and I'll be right back. I have to get my secret weapon."

Soon he returned with a large black feather. "Here, Dumbo. Hold this magic feather in your trunk when you jump and it will make you fly. You'll be the star of the show, rich and famous. To prove my belief in you, I'm gonna sit on top your head when you jump. If you crash, I'll crash. We'll both be circus toast!"

Dumbo had no better plan. Neither did his mother. Secretly, both thought Dumbo might be better off dead. So, Dumbo made the climb with Timothy to the top of the tent. He held the magic feather tightly in his trunk, closed his tearful eyes and when Timothy counted to "Three", he jumped. "Wheeee," yelled Timothy.
"This is really fun!" Dumbo opened one eye a squint and looked out. Only, he had to look down to see anything. Sure enough, his ears were wings and he was flying high above the circus sawdust floor.

To shorten the telling of this hugely successful story, Dumbo became the hit of the circus. People thronged to see the amazing, flying elephant. He was no longer sad. His mother was no longer embarrassed. But, that is not where this story ends.

One afternoon, as he always did, Dumbo jumped to the drum roll far below him and the crowd held their breath while Timothy sat smiling in his usual spot on Dumbo's head. But Dumbo had become a bit careless. He forgot to hold the magic feather tightly and it blew from his trunk. Down they plunged, the proud little coach and the mighty flying elephant, the only one in the world.
Timothy knew what to do. He leaned forward and yelled into Dumbo's ear. "Dumbo, that feather was not magic. It came from the old crow that sits outside on top the circus tent. I used it to help you believe in yourself. You're the one who's been doing the magic flying all along. You have yourself and you no longer need that old feather, or me, for that matter."

Again, Dumbo had no better plan. So he stretched out his ears and turned them into splendid wings just before he and his coach would have crashed into the ground. "Wow!," said Timothy the Mouse. "That was close. But you did it, Dumbo. You've turned your best into success." And they celebrated for the rest of the day.


Paraphrased with great liberties from a story titled "Dumbo the Flying Elephant" by Disney, 1941: Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl, 1939.


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