CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 62, 7th June 2004


  1. Editorial: A tragic opportunity
  2. Coaching notes: Networking in the USA

1.     Editorial: A tragic opportunity

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultantJust before I left for the USA last week, I had an email from someone who said that he did not hang out with the CoachVille community.

CoachVille is very much a community. And it is also a dedicated resource for training and developing coaches. This year's conference on the coaching business, with a pre-conference session on corporate coaching, was about what I am currently interested in. So I came.

CoachVille is a phenomenon. Launched by Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach University, to exploit the Internet and smash the cost of coaching, it featured thousands of downloadable resources. As a founder member I paid $78 for life membership, compared with several thousands of dollars for other coaching schools. Later it was free, and still is!!

I was cynical about this mass-produced approach and thought it would be coaching by rote and box ticking. I am trained in NLP and adopt a very flexible exploratory approach to coaching. However, I thought I ought to experience this other approach to expand my flexibility. So I attended a course with Thomas in London. Surprise, surprise, his approach was the same as mine. Process driven and flexible. I learned a lot from him, but not what I had been expecting.

Not long later he died from a heart attack. Thomas was CoachVille. A charismatic leader with many followers - but a typical entrepreneurial company without a management structure. It could have been a tragedy.

In fact, Thomas had chosen to leave CoachVille to Dave Buck. Dave referred to himself as a 'solopreneur'. No experience of running a global business. But, not only has he been up to the challenge, but he has avoided the temptation to keep CoachVille as to Thomas made it, and has moved it significantly forward.

A tragedy and an opportunity! Thomas was a great innovator and had developed a tremendous resource of material. But there was no structure. Dave Buck has taken it, shaken it and created a new CoachVille where resources are focused in communities. Further, one of the first things he did was to attend the International Coach Federation conference and commit to building a bridge. CoachVille had been inward looking and separatist. Today, Dave told CoachVille members to sign up for other coaching schools and develop their skills.

Anybody who thinks they know what CoachVille is about should re-think. Visit the CoachVille site and explore. And watch out over the next few months. Things are changing.

CoachVille is dedicated to anyone who is interested in learning - to coaches and to potential clients. Brefi Group associates have drawn on CoachVille from its inception and Brefi Group will continue to support this wonderful global resource.

I attracted an upgrade

I mentioned last week that I had let go of the concept of 'a virtuous pauper'. It seemed to me that a better concept would be that of a virtuous millionaire. I wondered what would be the difference. One thing would be that I would have a certain model of Jaguar car - but that is in my plan anyway and had little emotional impact. Then it occurred to me that I would travel around the world first class or business class. That did have an impact on my state and was a real motivator. So I wondered whether I should just pay the extra now to get the experience and whether that would raise my game.

But my flights to the USA and my tour in July/August were already booked, so it was a matter for the future. Imagine my surprise on checking in at Manchester airport on Monday to discover that I had been allocated seat 3A! At the front in business class - no first class on this flight.

An indication that attraction does work. The theory of attraction was raised again at this week's CoachVille conference. More about that later when you attend my next workshop!

More networking

Since this very much a personal newsletter, it reflects the particular issues that concern us at present. Currently we are interested in practice building and networking - we are running workshops on this subject and are focused on laying the foundation for an expanded associates scheme.

Networking embraces any activity that involves building or maintaining relationships. You might not be networking for leads or prospects. You could be netowrking for suppliers/vendors, partners, associates or joint ventures, business opportunities or ideas. I, personally, most enjoy activities that develop my information or ideas bank, help me to understand the world better and stimulate new business activities.


WORKSHOP 2: How to build a successful business consultancy practice

Build a successful business consultancy practice Lessons from CoachVille (£175 + VAT)

21 June 2004, Central Birmingham

This year's CoachVille conference, "The Coaching Business: Create Your Own Magic", was dedicated to helping coaches expand their business and achieve financial success.

If you did not get to Orlando and you are in the UK, then Brefi Group can help. Lessons from CoachVille will be a follow-up, free standing event reporting all the best practice building tips collected by Brefi Group over the four days of the workshops and conference in Orlando. Be sure to attend and get these hot tips only two weeks after the international conference.

Contents will include: -

  • Corporate coaching
  • Building a practice
  • Web sites
  • Marketing

Book now

The price, £175 + VAT, includes workshop materials, teas, coffees, a buffet lunch and a copy of our recommended book, The Gorillas Want Bananas, for all delegates.

Book for "Lessons From CoachVille", 21 June: £175 + VAT

Payment is handled by WorldPay, using a secure server link. Or, if you would prefer to pay by cheque or talk to one of our consultants, then call 0845 0678 222 (International: +44 121 704 2006).


Here are some dates when I shall be travelling to meet subscribers and potential business partners. If you would like to meet me, please contact me.

  • 22-28 July, Dubai, UAE
  • 29-31 July, Mumbai, India
  • 2-4 August, Singapore
  • 6-10 August, Melbourne, Australia
  • 19-22 Sydney, Australia

2.    Coaching notes: Networking in the USA

Since I am currently in the USA, I thought it would be an excuse to give you some notes on how they network here. Networking is, apparently, much more serious and up front than in the UK. These notes were provided by Jonathan Wilson, who is an attorney who has lived and worked in both countries.

Americans spend up to one and a half minutes deciding whether to spend five minutes with you. They look for buzz words and key words.

They are prepared to make snap decisions on whether to spend the next ten minutes with you. To decide “Whether we can do business.”

If you recognise that the door seems closed – and you believe there is an opportunity – up the stakes. Ask “Have I misunderstood you. Please tell me again.”

The ideal is to spend up to ten minutes with someone, to exchange cards and to set up a discussion. “Let’s go and have a coffee and discuss this further.” Feed back their buzz words.

If not, don’t apologise, be honest:

  • “That’s been very useful; will you excuse me. But I must move on/speak to xxx.”
  • “Very interesting, but if you excuse me ....”

Americans believe in “give to get”. This can include some personal information, e.g. about your family. Message is “Look, I want to get to know you.”

Before a networking event, decide: -

  • What do I want to get out of it?
  • What am I putting forward?
  • Who do I want to talk to?
  • Who do I not want to talk to?

“Just feel at ease and look them in the eye.”

I would welcome any comments from readers in the USA or people who have worked in the USA. What could networkers in other countries lean from this?


We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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Copyright 2004 all rights reserved.

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Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. Be sure to visit the Brefi Group web site at

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: 08450 678 222, or +44 (0) 121 704 2006 (international)