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Authenticity: A risk worth taking

By Martha Lasley  December 12, 2013

Martha Lasley



I had an epiphany that completely changed the way I coach.

It happened last month while I was mentoring a new coach: As I listened to the recorded coaching
session, I got a strong sense that the client’s issue - lack of authenticity with her partner - was showing
up in the coaching relationship itself. At one point, the client said, “You must think I’m rambling on and on.” With just a little too much enthusiasm, the coach said, “No, that’s okay. I’m enjoying listening to you.” After the session I said to the coach, “So you really enjoyed listening to her?” She swallowed hard and said, “Well, no.”

Uh oh. What good is benevolence if it isn’t real?

Scrutinizing the coach - client relationship isn’t easy. It takes boldness and a willingness to dive into the
great mystery. But sharing internal experience is a risk worth taking. Sure, we might make mistakes, but
both the client and coach grow from the experience.

So what happened to the coach I was mentoring? Realizing she valued authenticity more than being
polite, she dropped her nice-girl demeanor and went back to the client and got real. “Actually, I am
feeling bored right now. I want to hear about what really matters to you.”

Big shock! But her honesty changed everything. The coaching relationship blossomed and so did the
client’s relationship with her partner.

I'm grateful for the learning which I got out of this experience. It inspires me to take it into our Coaching for Transformation certification program for helping coaches get real with clients and keep them on their growing edge. Not only are our students learning edgy coaching, but so are our faculty – we don’t just share what we already know – we share what we’re learning right now.


Martha Lasley


About the author:

Martha Lasley resizedMartha Lasley is a founder of Coaching for Transformation, an accredited coach training program and ChangeMakers, a year-long facilitation training program. She creates results-oriented programs that inspire, motivate, and transform. “I surround myself with people who take risks and look for new ways of doing things; we explore both the solid ground and the edges of transformation.”

Martha is a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication and is a professional member of the Indian Society for Applied Behavioral Science. She has written three books: Courageous Visions; Facilitating with Heart; and Coaching for Transformation.


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