My Heretics to Heroes All-In™ Leader Summits were designed to help three key groups:  young, rising leaders; senior executives and CEOs; and other coaches. I love the dynamics and opportunities sparked when that trio is in a room where all pretense has been swept away and hierarchies have been replaced with only a desire to learn.

Of all three groups, coaches may be the most underserved when it comes to personal development. Coaches expect and are expected to ask clients smart questions and to push people to grow. Their focus is always on others. My Master Coaching Summits give coaches a far-too-rare chance to invest in themselves––or, to put it another way, finally take their own advice.

When we coaches allow ourselves to be coached, incredible things happen.

Over the last several decades, my approach and outlook have been shaped by other coaches. My first experience being coached was by a man named David Fisher. Twenty-five years ago, David sent me to observe a “master coach” in action.

“I want to be as good as that guy,” I told David, invigorated but also reeling after witnessing such a virtuosic performance. David sighed and shook his head, casting a disappointed glance at the floor. “What?” I asked him, confused. “Isn’t that what you wanted? Did I say something wrong?”

“Cort, you are already as good as that guy,” David said, raising his eyes to meet mine. “In fact, you can run circles around him.” I let his response sink in, and forced myself to stifle the incredulous guffaw I felt well up in my throat. Then, I made a decision: I wouldn’t just listen to David. I’d believe him.

David told me I was a master coach, and that day, I truly became one. When I chose to believe him, the way I saw myself changed. I carried myself differently. I treated and understood myself differently––as a master. Like magic, others followed suit. I became the master coach who helped individuals and organizations achieve results once thought impossible––and it all started with David’s instinctive push.

I experienced what we tell others time and time again: you can never outperform your own self-image. So why not see yourself as you want to be?

I’ve learned so much over the years from other coaches, but these three gifts have helped build my foundation:

  1. As a leader, the most effective tool I have to produce business results within an organization or team that I lead is me.
  2. It is not possible to lead an organization or team to history-making performance unless they think and feel that you love them and care for them as sacred beings––not as tools to get work done.
  3. Most coaches––including me at one time––are playing a small game and not calling on themselves or their clients to come even close to their potential, both in terms of who they are as people and the results they are producing.

I’ve always been fascinated by people, humanity, and society. What is it that makes us human? Why are some people so effective while others are not? What distinguishes those who reflect the best of us from those who fall short? My natural hunger for answers made me more open to coaching from others.

If curiosity doesn’t come naturally to you, I urge you to cultivate it. Ask questions, both of others and of yourself. Be open to answers that may disrupt and even disturb you. And coaches, let go of control and realize a transformative truth: you need a coach.