CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 78, 8th November 2004


  1. Editorial: Good luck, bad luck
  2. Coaching notes: Improving Your Organisation's Bottom Line

1.     Editorial: Good luck, bad luck

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultantI have just been reminded of a story that I tell.

Tomorrow (today for readers), we have a stand at the UK Confederation of British Industry conference in Birmingham. It is part of our strategy to raise our profile amongst corporate clients and to build a foundation for the consultants that we train.

It has been a hectic time because it has required us to design new publicity material, including a leaflet that explains Brefi Group's "integrated approach to releasing human potential"; our concept of integrating the processes of consultancy, facilitation, coaching and training to ensure that we can support our clients in the implementation of solutions. The inside of this leaflet is based on a mind map showing how the four activities integrate.

Unfortunately the printer printed the inside upside down. On the eve of a major exhibition we have 1,000 faulty leaflets. Rather frustrating – but it means that we can test them this time and then have a free re-print of a revised version for general distribution and use at our next exhibition, HRD 2005 at Olympia in April. Good luck, bad luck?

My next job is to prepare the presentation for my contribution at the 5th Annual Career Development Conference in Dubai in December. I have booked my flights so that I spend a few days after the conference having a rest and investigating the new Knowledge City. I tried to book my hotel for these extra days on the Internet. I could not complete the booking for my chosen hotel – I think there was a computer fault. In my haste I booked another one, near the city centre and the gold souk. Then I discovered it is in another city 16 miles away. How frustrating – but it means I will have to concentrate more on a rest, with time on the beach, free from business concerns. Good luck, bad luck?

Here is the story.

A father and his son owned a farm. They did not have many animals, but they did own a horse. One day the horse ran away.

“How terrible, what bad luck,” said the neighbours.

“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” replied the farmer.

Several weeks later the horse returned, bringing with him four wild mares.

“What marvellous luck,” said the neighbours.

“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” replied the farmer.

The son began to learn to ride the wild horses, but one day he was thrown and broke his leg.

“What bad luck,” said the neighbours.

“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” replied the farmer.

The next week the army came to the village to take all the young men to war. The farmer’s son was still disabled with his broken leg, so he was spared. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”



Dear Editor

I enjoyed today's newsletter since I have also reached a stage with my coaching clients where they are becoming more and more successful at achieving the goals that we have jointly set and once I have shared my tools they can just get on with it.

I am working on expanding their comfort zones now which is closely related to working through your fears.


Karl George
Managing Director
Andersons KBS Ltd

Dear Editor

Thank you for another excellent Newsletter. The review of The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz two weeks ago was especially interesting and your definitions concerning consulting, coaching, facilitation and training most useful, especially when we in the Business Link need to explain to prospective clients that we are teachers and facilitators and not consultants.


Stan Parsons
The Business Link

Consultant Training LimitedNEW OPPORTUNITY : Train to become a successful consultant

Are you a successful executive or professional who would like to become a successful consultant?

If so, Consultant Training Limited has an intensive six month programme that will set you up in business and give you the skills in consultancy, facilitation, coaching and training that will turn you into a successful and rounded consultant.

2.     Coaching notes: Improving Your Organisation's Bottom Line
Frank J. Troha PhD

Less than 30 percent of training gets applied, according to a study reported by the American Society for Training and Development. And it doesn't matter if the training is delivered in the classroom, online or through a combination of the two venues. There are two plausible theories offered for this unfortunate fact:

  1. poor instructional design and
  2. a work environment that does little to encourage or support transfer of learning.

I'd like to offer a third: irrational beliefs that all people unconsciously hold to one degree or another, and would be far better off without.

By beliefs I mean an individual's deep-seated views about himself or herself, other people and life in general. By irrational I mean unscientific, incapable of being proven, baseless. Here are some examples:

  • People must treat me fairly
  • I should have little discomfort in life
  • People must find me likable
  • It's awful when I make a mistake
  • I must perform well or I'm no good
  • People who treat me badly deserve to be punished
  • I must get what I want when I want it
  • I can't control how I feel
  • Such things should never happen

To understand the insidious influence irrational beliefs can have on an employee's application of learning, take a few moments to reflect on the potential negative result each irrational belief listed above can generate. I think you'll soon conclude irrational beliefs represent a major obstacle to an organization's investment in training paying off the way it could (and should).

Now consider how each of the above irrational beliefs can affect an employee's response to change in the workplace, whether it's a merger, a major new initiative, new leadership, expanded responsibilities, the introduction of new software or what have you. I think you'll agree that such erroneous, self-limiting beliefs can have a potentially devastating effect on the performance of individuals, teams, departments and the viability of the organization itself.

Recognizing the value of helping employees (and their management) identify and minimize irrational beliefs, my firm developed – and for the past several years has offered – a unique program. Known as How to Sail Through a Sea of Change? or Unstoppable Selling? (the version for salespeople) our seminar presents a simple but profound way for participants to identify and minimize their self-imposed obstacles to greater success. The results have been consistently impressive, according to our clients whose employees are trained to apply simple, proven techniques.

Here is one such technique based on the work of prominent cognitive psychologists, including Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck:

Whenever you experience anger, fear or upset at work, respond to these questions:

  1. What am I so upset about?
  2. What am I telling myself about the situation?
  3. Is it true? (Note: The participant, having an understanding of the difference between rational and irrational beliefs, scans a comprehensive list of irrational beliefs, noting any likely to be the root cause of the upset.)
  4. What is a more rational, constructive way of interpreting the situation? (Note: Here the participant vigorously challenges the original self-talk -- which was rooted in one or more irrational beliefs -- and replaces it with self-talk that is reality-based.)
  5. What, if anything, can I do to improve the situation? (Note: If circumstances are beyond the control or influence of the participant, he or she is trained to accept this fact and move on.)

Dr. James Fadiman, a well-known psychologist and writer, captured the necessity of removing internal blockages, i.e., irrational beliefs, when he wrote:

"When we get stuck while trying to reach a goal, it usually isn't because we need to learn a new technique. Rather, it's because we've run up against one or more internal barriers. Until we deal with those inner obstacles, all the good intentions, plans and motivational strategies in the world won't be good enough to see us through to our goals."

Unlike motivational or positive thinking programs, our program gets at the root cause of an individual's thoughts, feelings and actions: his or her unique belief system. What does this mean to HR professionals?

Simply put: Excellent Training + Excellent Work Environment - Irrational Beliefs = Maximum R.O.I. in the Human Resource.

Frank J. Troha, Ph.D. is an instructional design consultant, performance counselor and adult education professor (Fordham University) located in Port Chester, New York.


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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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)