Flying is easy… defy gravity, avoid obstacles, land safely.

The trouble with underestimating the degree of difficulty!


By Dave Buck, The “Crazy Mad Scientist of Coaching”
Seeing the world through “coach-colored” glasses.

*** This is an article that will take 3-5  minutes to read and it will be worth it ***

This is a quirky title for a coaching article but I will explain, I promise!

It started a few weeks ago when I attended Melonie Dodaro’s virtual event on Social Selling.  The purpose of the event was to create a high value platform to promote her new book: “The Linked In Code”.
Quick kudos to Melanie for delivering a right-sized event that did provide great value with just the right amount of soft sell promotion for the book.  I did buy the book and I will let you know my impressions after I get into it a bit.

OK, now for about the quirky title.

As I listened to the gathering of 10 Social Media gurus over the 3 conversations the core message became very clear: Business is easy.  All you have to do is be yourself, build relationships and add value.

Whoa.  That is a doozy on many levels.

1) It is awesome that this is the new focused path to business success.  It’s WAY better than the “Check your personality at the door and manipulate your audience into buying” techniques of the 20th Century.


2) Asserting that it is just so easy to “be yourself, build relationships and add value” is CRAZY!

When I think about the many thousands of coaching conversations I have had over the last 18 years it would be a challenge to think of 10 didn’t have some connection to: “Be Yourself, Build Relationships and Add Value!”  In many ways you could say that is pretty much what Life Coaching is all about!  So if people are willing to pay for coaching to do something better you KNOW it isn’t easy.

So I challenged my brain to come up with an analogy; something else that would sound obvious, but is actually REALLY REALLY hard to do.

It came to me: Flying is easy!  All you have to do is
defy gravity,
avoid obstacles,
and land safely!

RIGHT. Humans tried to solve that flying riddle for thousands of years! Many lives were lost along the way and even now, a hundred years into the basic approach that works, there are still casualties on the “Land Safely” part.

The Coaching Perspective: Always assess the degree of difficulty

So from a coaching perspective it is SUPER important to be aware and realistic about the “degree of difficulty” when we set out to do something ourselves or coach someone else to do something better.

We also have to be careful about activities that “sound easy” because they are familiar. BUT they are really not easy at all.  Or even worse, we THINK we SHOULD be able to do them with ease, so we discount or ignore the challenges.

This is a sure-fire set up for frustration and failure!

For me, be yourself, build relationships and add value all fall into this category of “sounds familiar but it’s actually a lot harder than we think it should be”!

These may be three of the most vexing and perplexing human desires of all time.

Defy Gravity … Be Yourself

When you were a kid did you ever climb a tree and try to fly like a bird?  If you did, you hit the ground hard.  And you learned about the power of gravity.  Attempting to be yourself is a lot like trying to defy gravity.  There is a strong pull for us to be like others, or try to be what we think they want us to be; A very strong pull.

As coaches we teach our clients to use the force of adaption in their favor by using environmental design.  However until they learn to do that well, it occurs like a force that is constantly pulling them away from who they really are.

Avoid Obstacles … Build Relationships

I like this analogy because it is very easy to fall into the trap of seeing other people as obstacles.  Like when you run into a store to pick up something “real quick” and there are 5 people in the checkout line ahead of you.  Not a big enough line to just walk out, but big enough to cause a stressful delay.  Or when we need to get a group of people to do something and they don’t do it, it causes us trouble because we didn’t get the “numbers” we needed.

Like avoiding obstacles while flying, it often requires real vigilance to grant “personhood” to the people around us; to see them as persons rather than objects or obstacles.  It takes a lot of skill to positively influence another person. It is MUCH harder than controlling an object.

Land Safely … Add Value

If you did try that flying experiment as a child you learned that you COULD fly, but that landing safely was the tricky part.  If you don’t land well it hurts!  I think adding value is the same way.  The stakes are high.  When we give something of ourselves to another person we really want it to be embraced and appreciated.  If it isn’t, it hurts.

The Coach Approach

It is BECAUSE these three activities are NOT easy, that makes the pursuit of mastery so meaningful and fun!

For example, if we go into any relationship building opportunity with the understanding that this will be a really fun challenge and if I am on the top of my game I can create a connection, become a positive influence and get the results that I am playing for.  When we play this way we can totally enjoy the experience and continue to grow in mastery.

Here are a few thoughts about the “Coach Approach” to these three not-so-easy skills of business success.

The Play Two Win Playsheet with the RACE model will provide a framework.

Be Yourself

To be yourself you have to know yourself.  Start with these questions…

  1. What is your big game? In other words, what is the contribution you want to make in the lives of others?
  2. What does winning look like for you?
  3. If you are able to win this game on your own terms, what would it mean for your life?
  4. How do you define success?
  5. What is your purpose?  Or, WHY do you want to play this game?
  6. What purpose does this game serve in your life now? And in the big picture of your future?
  7. What are your values? Or, What do you CARE most about?
  8. How will you express these values in your BIG game?
    A few more to consider…
  9. How would you describe your “voice”? Or What do you want to be known for?
  10. How will you express your Voice in your BIG game?

Build Relationship

The keys to building relationships are to
a) put your attention on the other person
b) share yourself to create connection
c) creatively find ways to participate together within shared interests for mutual benefits

To do this you can start by asking the questions from the “be yourself” section to get to know what is most important to them.

1. What is it that you want to contribute to the world?
2. What does winning look like for you?

Then you can go deeper with…

  1. What are the outcomes you most want to create right now?
  2. What are the actions you are playing to master right now?
  3. Who do you want to become in the next part of your life?
  4. How do you need/want to upgrade your environments to sustain your success?
    What do you need to let go of?
    What tolerations do you need to ZAP?
    What do you need to acquire?

With this depth of understanding of the other person you can then see where you have potential for personal connections, shared interests and mutual benefits.

Add Value

As I said earlier, adding value (like landing safely) is the trickiest part of the success formula because we put ourselves at risk when we set out to be of service to others.  (This is why we call it playing BIG because it really does require a lot of courage)

As a coach we can add value in many different ways but mostly our aim is to help the other person play their game better.

1) Help another person gain clarity about WHO they are.

2) Help another person clarify their big game and what winning looks like for them.

3) Help another person understand how to play for results that accumulate into outcomes.

4) Help another person create a game plan that utilizes their strengths, values and voice.

5) Help another person understand how to practice actions in pursuit of mastery

6) Help another person expand their Inner Freedom to face challenges and become more of who they want to be.

7) Help another person expand their World Power by upgrading their environments.


The good news for us coaches: Coaching is an advanced form of relating

Thomas Leonard often said: “Coaching skills are an advanced form of relating.”  I think this was a profoundly true interpretation!  Building relationships is what we focus on every day.  We are in pursuit of mastery in all three of these essential human activities.

And since now be yourself, build relationships and add value are being proclaimed as the fundamental business skills, our Coaching services should become very much in demand!

Additional Resources…

You can access these resources by
joining the “Coach Dave – Mad Scientist of Coaching” Community at CoachVille <<– click here to join! (it will be fun!)

Be Yourself

How do you define success” : 3-Step Training by Thomas Leonard

Build Relationships

Proficiency #1: Engage in provocative conversations Student Guide

Add Value

Attraction Principle #2 : Add Value for the joy of it.


You can be great.

Coach Dave Buck, MCC, MBA

“The Mad Scientist of Coaching”.