Excerpt from Stephen Chandler’s Hands Off Manager Pg. 195
“There is something better than heaven. It is the eternal, meaningless, infinitely creative mind. It can’t stop for time or space or even joy. It is so brilliant that it will shake what’s left of you to the depths of all-consuming wonder.”
About a decade ago I worked for a company called TimeMax and we delivered productivity training and sold time management products. Our company was struggling financially when it brought in a business coach by the name of Steve Hardison.
Hardison was dynamic. His coaching went through the company like a hurricane and it wasn’t long before empty classrooms were converted to standing room only and major Fortune 500 companies were writing six figure checks for our training.
Hardison was a force. His coaching sessions opened people up to levels of performance and creativity they never knew existed.
I’d never seen anything like it.
And the best part of the company transformation was that it included me.
Not since I’d transformed from a hopelessly addicted person to a happy clean and sober person had I changed so much.
Do people change?
Because of Hardison, I started teaching classes, giving seminars (I’d previously had a public speaking phobia) and writing books. I was 49 and had never written a book before. I’ve now written 16-some of them bestsellers-so, do people change? Does coaching work?
More than anyone can imagine!
“But you’ve got to have someone willing to receive,” says Hardison. “Coaching can’t be imposed from one person to another. It’s a two way street. It’s an exchange of life. Both people learn. Both people grow.”
Hardison has now coached some of the top celebrities in the entertainment industry and personal growth field and says that everyone’s “problems” are the same.
“There’s no new problem,” Hardison said. “People are afraid to really express who they are. That’s all that’s going on. My job is to listen and connect.”
Hardison like to quote one of his own clients, Byron Katie, who says, “If you have a problem, you have a solution. There’s no problem without a solution.”
When Hardison started coaching me a decade ago, fear dominated my life. Especially my professional life. But he was able to connect to me on such a deep level that I knew he had the same fears I had. And his growth to transform fear became my own. His commitment to me was total, and I could feel it in every coaching session. I was no longer alone. I was connected now to the whole universe and all its energy.
I have seen Hardison give so much of himself away in a coaching session that he emerges almost near death – physically drained to the point of almost not existing.
“It’s an exchange of life,” he says of coaching that works. “It’s almost like giving a blood transfusion. But when people can see what they’re afraid of and then meet it, it’s exhilarating!”
Exhilarating financial transformations occur, too. I watched Hardison coach TimeMax from deep debt to exhilarating, staggering profits. I experienced my own professional life go through the same change. So coaching is not just some new age amateur psychotherapy – it combines the very best of sports coaching and business consulting to produce astonishing quantum leaps in productivity.
Hardison taught me to create from the present moment. He showed me the startling leverage we have in the present moment actions we take. He taught me to let the past dissolve away. He showed me that my future was just an anxious anticipation. Did I want to spend my whole life swinging between memory and anticipation like a bipolar monkey in a jungle of fear? Or would I like to swing on a star?
Hardison hooked me up with Duane Black a few years ago and told me that Duane was one of (the real?) leaders in the corporate world who was fearless about bringing love, nobility and integrity into the workplace, as if work itself were a sacred act.
I was very interested in that! And after meeting with Duane and co-producing seminars and workshops for his leadership teams I knew Hardison was right. The extraordinary financial success of Duane’s company was no accident.
Duane was genuinely excited about his team of people. And I recalled that Hardison had always told me, “Most of what is called coaching today is not really effective. There is no commitment to relatedness, and if a ‘coach’ has no excitement about listening to the other person, no change will take place.” This kind of excitement is not passive or limp. That’s a big mistake people make when they first hear about hands-off management. They think it’s soft. It’s the opposite.
After Walter Chrysler had built a dramatically successful automotive company against great odds in the 1940’s he said, “I feel sorry for the person who can’t get genuinely excited about his work. Not only will he never be satisfied, but he will never achieve anything worthwhile.”
“To me every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”