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January 03, 2011


Your post is once again very timely, Scott, as I prepare to assume leadership of a team in which each member has more formal power and authority in the organization than me.

To go with "Have a Plan", might I also suggest having a vision of the end state? It would be along the lines of this: when we are completely successful, here is what it looks like.

Happy New Year!

Kathy Fannon

I've not seen the movie yet but do want to. I appreciate your article as I think I may view it with different eyes than what I had anticipated.

Great points! Thank you!

Scott Eblin

Hey Joe - Happy new year to you too and congrats on the new role. Completely agree with your point on defining what success will look like. You're on your way - safe travels!

Hi Kathy - thanks for the comment. Hope you enjoy the movie. I think you'll love it!

Cheers -



I have seen the movie and highly recommend it - it is inspiring on many levels and remarkably well-acted.

The two points I would add are:

- as emphatic as Lionel was about certain boundaries, i.e. non-negotiables on which he would not budge even if it meant losing the client, he also demonstrated flexibility even at the beginning. that is, he was able to distinguish between the must-have-now and the may-develop-later. He was right to be firm AND he was right to include some discretion on his "rules."

2. In a similar vein, the 'believe in yourself' point is absolutely true. there is NO WAY that Lionel would have landed this client, or kept him, without the remarkable confidence he felt in his approach. At the same time, no one is infallible. Lionel benefited enormously from the advice of a wise ally at a critical time; more, he knew to heed the advice. Confidence is key, but it cannot topple over into arrogance. Knowing the line between the two is an art, and at times an additional perspective is invaluable in clearing one's vision.

Jean Johnson

Another thought-provoking post. Thanks Scott! I completely agree that the movie has many lessons for coaches in how to set our own boundaries and be the presence that allows our clients' best selves to emerge. Lionel's experience and compassion helped guide him skillfully through finding the right balance of support and challenge.

I would add that while Lionel had a process, he could also let go of control of the process when that was needed. He did everything he could at each moment, then when things were out of his control, he let them go.

Sara Jane Radin

The King's Speech resonated with me as an instant classic that I will view repeatedly!

While I certainly agree with all of the 'coaching lessons' you mentioned, Scott, the movie validated for me that THE KEY ELEMENTS for (coaching) success are the authentic and deep rapport, respect, and relationship between (any two) individuals - regardless of level or rank.

Scott Eblin

Thanks Chris, Jean and Sara Jane. Great insights and additions. Think we may be seeing a lot of Bertie and Lionel during the upcoming awards season!

Ian Cook

Great extraction of coaching lessons, Scott, from one of the best films I have seen in years.

To your most comprehensive list I would add two (both of which could fit under your "stay flexible and open").

1) Be patient - Lionel was forced to wait through a hiatus or two, until Bertie chose to return to the process.

2) Track your client, following where he/she goes and work with him/her at that place – Lionel did a lot of this right up through the pivotal scene in Westminster Abbey.

Senior executive

The King's Speech is definitely a textbook case for executive coaching. The king was emotionally frail, but the coach was sincere, truly cared about the king, and was committed to his success. All the points you have added are relevant. Well done.

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