The 100 Coaches Project

By Marshall Goldsmith

Community is essential to the earned life. I myself became aware of this a few years ago, when I created my 100 Coaches project. it became a real force in helping people live an earned life. 

Here’s how it began —

In reading my work, one of the things you may have learned in earning an earned life is to decide what you want that life to look like, and then work as hard as necessary to make your decision come true. 

No one but you can paint that vision. The influential people in your life may offer the intellectual and emotional tools to help you choose a wise path. But in the end, the choice is yours alone to make. 

As for the hard work part, that’s a challenge overcome by the application of structure. Structure is how we tame the unruly impulses that lure us away from achieving our goals. Structure is the most effective tool we have to repair and renew our lives. And unlike deciding what life path to take, structure can easily be adopted or inspired thanks to others. Structure is particularly useful with the small stuff. A friend once mocked me for tracking how many times I said something nice to my wife each day. “You shouldn’t have to be reminded to be nice to your wife,” he said. 

“Evidently I do,” I said. “I’m not ashamed that I need a reminder to behave better. It would be shameful if I knew about it and didn’t do anything about it.” That’s the power of imposing structure. Structure reminds us not to relax our standards, especially the small but necessary gestures that we take for granted. My friend now keeps a daily log of how many times he asks his wife, “How can I help?” 

If we can’t provide the appropriate structure to ourselves, we seek sources that can, whether it’s a personal trainer to implement our fitness regime, a boss to set our job’s agenda, or a book that offers a plan to declutter our home. 

Marshall Goldsmith Meme

Under my name on my business card, it could legitimately say, “Structural Consultant.” That’s what I do. I peel away the outer skin of a behavioral problem to examine the infrastructure, and then I reframe the infrastructure to address the real problem. 

I confess that I am a connoisseur of other people’s ideas, and when I hear a workable idea created by someone else, I internalize it as my own. The value I add is taking the idea and folding it with other ideas into a structure that works for me and my clients. 

For example, I have created something called the Life Plan Review, or LPR for short, that involves a weekly check-in format for achieving meaningful change and leading an earned life. It’s the end product of my attempt to add intelligible structure in one place to the seven epiphanies I’ve embraced at various moments in my professional life that have shaped my thinking about helping people change for the better. It’s a recent development. I couldn’t have imagined it five or ten years ago. I wasn’t ready. 

I came to that review over the years after a series of epiphanies that have had a profound impression on me. These are the referent group, the notion of feedforward, stakeholder- centered coaching, the business plan review (or BPR), a “what’s next” weekend, and daily questions. 

Each of these has helped me move forward in my work. Together, they have had an enormous impact on me. I will review each of these in the next few posts. 

Marshall Goldsmith Meme
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