It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, there’s probably at least one person out there doing the same job as you who you’ve studied and learned from.
As a professional coach, I’m no different. Over the course of my career, I’ve benefitted tremendously from the insights of other coaches and I’ve even integrated some of their teachings into my own work. It’s been a win-win for me and a win-win for my clients because it means I’ve never been locked into one way of doing things, I’ve always got a whole range of different techniques and approaches I can share with them.
So, who are the coaches I rate? Coaches whose work I’d recommend, so that maybe they could help you too?
Let’s start with one of the biggest fishes in the superstar pool…
The HCC Best Coaches List
As I touched on in a recent blog, Tony Robbins isn’t really a coach. He’s an NLP-er, and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is very different to traditional coaching. However, NLP is something I’ve studied as well. When appropriate, I’m not averse to tapping into NLP methods if I believe it’s going to help the client I’m working with.
So that’s why, despite my previous reservations, I’m including Tony Robbins in this line-up.
Tony Robbins began his career in the early 1980s. He quickly became famous proving the effectiveness of NLP by fire walking during his seminars (note: if you and I ever work together, do NOT ask me to do that) but behind all the bravado and showmanship I personally believe he’s onto something. After tapping into the US infomercial market to sell his Personal Power self-help tapes and publishing the bestselling books Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within, Robbins’ status as America’s ‘peak performance coach’ was assured. His celebrity clients have included Bill Clinton, Martin Sheen, Serena Williams and Hugh Jackman, and (according to his website) more than 50 million people from 100 countries have experienced his teachings.
“Your beliefs create your world,” Robbins says, “Your values and beliefs determine your decisions. Your decisions shape your life. It’s easy to get caught up in limiting beliefs that harm us and hold us back.”
If you want to dip your toe into some prime Robbins (don’t ask me where that imagery came from), Awaken the Giant Within is a good place to start.
Rich Litvin is one of the world’s most exclusive coaches. He’s coached everyone from entrepreneurs to Olympic athletes to members of the UK and US special forces, and he doesn’t work with more than five clients a year on a one-to-one basis. In his own words, “I’ve spent the past twelve years being paid to mess with people’s thinking!” and, considering each of those five clients will pay between $40,000 to $250,000 a year to work with him, it’s definitely been twelve years well spent.
But, before everyone gets cynical about the cost of coaching, Litvin definitely proves that you get what you pay for. One of his clients is now selling her company for a billion dollars, and another client raised $40,000 after a single coaching session… within 24 hours of meeting him!
Rich Litvin believes everything is possible if we only know how to tap into the power inside us. “You are only scratching the surface of the impact you could have (no matter how successful you are),” he says, “It’s easier to make the “impossible” happen than to go after what looks possible.”
He advocates a totally transformational mindset and, in my opinion, it’s fascinating.
If you want to know more about Rich Litvin’s thinking I heartily recommend the book ‘The Prosperous Coach’, co-written with Steve Chandler. Although its primarily directed towards coaches, there’s a lot of solid advice in there about harnessing the correct mindset and developing relationships with clients that could easily be applied to other businesses. It’s also a great way to discover more about the benefits of coaching and find out what coaches like myself do.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Steve Chandler…
As a coach in his own right, Steve Chandler’s no slouch either. He’s a Master Coach who has spent more than twenty years teaching his clients the ‘MindShift’ to achieve success and reconnect them with their passion for work and life. During that time he’s also written 30 books, including ‘Shift Your Mind Shift the World’ and ‘Reinventing Yourself’. If you’re looking for a total 180-degree shift in your thinking, and a way of disconnecting the hardwired beliefs that have been holding you back and draining all the enjoyment out of life, both of those books are perfect places to start. However, if you’re looking for advice that’s geared towards being more effective in business, his book ‘Time Warrior’ might be more your speed. Or why not read all three of them? I’ve got a feeling you’ll be glad you did.
As a coach and as a man, Michael Neill has impacted me quite hard. He’s been coaching, advising and mentoring for over 25 years and his six books have been translated into 23 languages. He’s also an ex-actor so, not surprisingly, he’s a charismatic public speaker (but without the rock star bombast of somebody like Tony Robbins – when you see Michael Neill ‘live’ you’ve got no doubt this is a man who’s plugged into knowledge and will pass it on quite happily. He doesn’t need to impersonate the Roadrunner or perform sideshow tricks to do it.)
Michael Neill believes in ‘Inside-Out Understanding’, which works on the basis that the more we understand the principles behind how our experience of life is being created moment by moment, the more freedom and creativity we will have in how we operate in the world. To accomplish that, we need to tap into the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought that are behind every human experience. Once we do that, Neill believes we can bring our genius to life.
As you’ll have already guessed, I’d highly recommend all half-dozen of Neill’s books but ‘The Inside-Out Revolution’ is probably the most sensible place to start because it clearly and succinctly lays down his complete philosophy in ways that can be quickly applied to help you transform your own life. They’re very easy, un-jargony reads as well.
Okay. Has anyone else noticed how this list has been very male-centric? It’s time to switch the script a little bit.
If there’s a female superstar coach, it’s probably Mel Robbins. Mel Robbins is also the perfect example of the power of practising what you preach… a long time before she began to preach it. When she was 41, her life completely collapsed. She was unemployed, facing bankruptcy, her marriage was in trouble, she was drinking too hard. But then, one morning, she made the difference that would totally change everything. Instead of staying in bed and hiding under the covers, she counted down 5,4,3,2,1 and got up and started ‘doing’ before her thinking could change her mind.
It’s that simple act of ‘stopping thinking and starting moving’ that’s the foundation for all her coaching and self-help work. She calls it The 5 Second Rule and its success not only gave her more self-awareness, self-confidence, resilience and determination, it also launched her public speaking career. Her TEDx 5 Second Rule talk has, as I’m writing this, been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube. It’s also the title of her interesting and extremely entertaining book, ‘The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.’
If you thought Mel Robbins’ 20 million views was impressive, Brené Brown’s ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ TEDx talk is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 35 million hits. As Brown says on her website, ‘I believe that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore… embrace the suck. I try to be grateful every day and my motto right now is ‘Courage over comfort.’ I absolutely believe that the passing lane is for passing only.’
Brené Brown’s talks and books have inspired millions. She believes that doubts and fears and the “warm wash of shame” are keeping us disconnected from each other and preventing us from living our own lives, and that we should tap into our vulnerability because “that’s the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.”
“Vulnerability is not a weakness,” insists Brown, “It’s our greatest measure of courage… it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”
She’s written several books about this subject but the one I’d recommend starting with is ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.’ It’s about being more concerned about who you are and less concerned about what other people think. It’s also about confronting challenges instead of avoiding them because a positive mindset isn’t enough to make things happen. You have to show up, face your fears, and do the work.
Once you’ve read that, take a look at Brown’s follow-up book, ‘Daring Greatly.’
So there it is, my recommendations of the best coaches out there. I guarantee you’ll find plenty to think about in all of their books and, of course, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford to work with any of them – brilliant, please get in touch and let me know how you got on!
Otherwise, if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced coach who’s learned from the best and will gladly channel all my learning, knowledge and experience into helping you, your business and your team members become more effective and successful… please get in touch.
Oh, and the other good news about working with me? This would never happen!