Seven Steps to Mastery

Jun 20, 2019

It’s true that in order to be a Master Coach, one needs to develop skill over time with increasing experience. However, there are certain mastery techniques that every coach needs to develop right from the start. Here’s what we consider to be the seven steps to mastery:

  1. The client has blocks between reality and outcome. These are mostly internal. The coach has blocks of wanting to solve the client’s problems with his/her own experience. It’s important for the coach to suspend judgement and only listen curiously.
  2. Establish a session goal that you can partner the client (use ‘we’ not you or I) that both can bite, chew, digest and chew out within pre-agreed time by creating client awareness of blocks and pathway to action. Use the 3A model: Awareness- Action- Anchoring.
  3. While establishing session goal, CC 2, bring in all competencies of CC 3 to 7, in building a relationship and communication, as a process (3C). Trust the process, yourself and the client.
  4. Fully explore all aspects related to session goal (CC 2.1 to CC 2.5) with reference to the client’s internal mind state, emotions, words not expressed, voice, energy and body language. Emotions and body do not lie, words and thoughts may.
  5. Acknowledge the client’s growth, observe emotional context in client language, share with no attachment and invite/inquire curiously.
  6. Partner the client to the future and learning for growth; never to the past and drama.
  7. Structure the conversation, with freedom to be flexible (Double Hourglass model), partnering the client as an equal, with the client leading to choose.


Myths and Reality

  1. Every question leads. Yes, all inquiry leads to an answer. However, a leading question is one that suggests an answer, and a closed question limits options to choose from.
  2. Never ask a ‘why’ question. Why questions are the most powerful, however may make a client defensive due to past conditioning. Understand client style and modify as needed using ‘what’.
  3. Inquiring into body language and energy are too personal. Perhaps. Check with client. So would inquiry into emotions.
  4. Appreciation seems artificial. Use acknowledgement of client progress instead.
  5. Inquiry into past is important. Yes. however, this may lead into therapy, drama and root cause inquiry. These are therapist role not coach’s. Stay with inquiry into present mind state of client.
What do the Masters say:
  1. Inquire humbly (Edgar Schein)
  2. Show unconditional positive regard (Carl Rogers)
  3. Listen and vision client generatively (Otto Scharmer)
  4. Perceive client as part of his/her ecosystem (Peter Hawkins)
  5. Goals always change, often from transactional to transformational (John Whitmore)
  6. Be Mindless (Coacharya)


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Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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