Marcia Reynolds

President of Covisioning LLC and 5th Global President of the International Coach Federation

Dr. Marcia Reynolds, president of Covisioning LLC, is fascinated by the brain, especially what triggers feelings of connection, commitment, and possibility.

She has trained and coached leaders in 41 countries, and has presented at the Harvard Kennedy School and Cornell University, as well as universities in Europe and Asia.

Dr. Reynolds is a pioneer in the coaching profession. She was the 5th global president of the International Coach Federation. Currently, she is the training director for the Healthcare Coaching Institute in North Carolina. She is also on faculty coaching schools in Russia, The Philippines, and China. Outside of the schools, she teaches Leader as Coach classes to organizations around the world and consults with them to build coaching cultures.

She is recognized by Global Gurus as the #5 coach in the world. In addition to teaching and consulting, Marcia coaches executives globally. Many of her clients are leaders in healthcare and technical companies. She has coached executives and high potentials in energy, computer software and hardware, banking, pharmaceuticals, retail, construction, water (city and state agencies), real estate, federal agencies, and equipment manufacturers.

Marcia has been a student and researcher of how humans learn since earning her second master’s degree in adult education. She became fascinated with emotional intelligence and designed a training program that integrates emotional choice with leadership presence, communications effectiveness, and resiliency. She has taught her programs for agencies of the National Institutes of Health and multinational corporations around the world. Marcia earned her doctoral degree in organizational psychology in 2008.

Before launching her own business, her greatest success came from designing the employee development program for a global semiconductor company facing bankruptcy. Within three years, the company turned around and became the #1 stock market success in 1993.

Interviews and excerpts from her books Outsmart Your Brain, How to Manage Your Mind When Emotions Take the Wheel; Wander Woman: How High Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction and The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs have appeared in many places including Harvard Communications Newsletter, Leadership Excellence Essential – HR.com, Fast Company, Forbes.com, CNN.com, Psychology Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and she has appeared in business magazines in Europe, Asia and on ABC World News. Her latest book Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry, will be released in June 2020.

Key Notes:

The Transformational Tuesday reached episode 10 with a special guest – Dr. Marcia Reynolds. One of the world’s prominent coaches, Marcia is admired for putting her coaching and neuro/behavioral research into practical applications. Recognized by Global Gurus as the #5 coach in the world and one of 10 coaches inducted by the International Coach Federation into their Circle of Distinction, her solutions on how to flip defensiveness, create rapport, and have everyone involved experience breakthroughs seeing new ways forward, Marcia generously shared her insider-tips with our participants on coaching.

Here are the key takeaways from our conversation with Marcia:

How is coaching different from other professions?

People think they already know the answers. You can’t tell the people to change. Coaching is not about asking questions; it’s an emotional shift. Coaching is helping people gain clarity so they can act on solutions and how to move forward.

Do we really need coaches?

We are stuck in our stories. Even if they say we’ll move past, they still may go back to their stories. As we’re masters at rationalizing, we don’t analyze our thinking. We don’t stop and look at our thinking. We need an external disruptor – someone who can make us stop and make us think about our thinking. That ‘someone’ can be the coach.

Why is coaching considered a transformational process?

The energy we bring in coaching is as important as the skills. We create a safe space where people can see their stories held in their brains. Sometimes people know what to do, they may not have the confidence and clarity on ‘which’ to choose or ‘how’ to do. Transactional is problem-solving. And transformation is formulating new ideas, seeing possibilities – that’s the practice of coaching.

What value does a coach bring/provide?

Coaching is also about providing the coachee a safe, sounding board to see and reflect his/her views. To receive what the coachee said and give back the same – that’s the power of coaching. This is the value you provide as a coach, helping them think through and see new possibilities.

What is ‘coaching the person’?

I often run into leaders and high-potential leadership clients. Many are young people into leadership positions for the first time. At times, they might not know what to do or how to move forward. 

First, I will know your environment. I also want to know how you had leaders in the past. What did you like about the leaders you worked for? What did you not like? How can you take it forward?

Reflecting on their past experiences will help them formulate who they want to be. We are thinking partners. We help them see their stories by reflecting on their words, expressions, and emotions. And then we ask curious questions.

Is coaching ‘asking questions’?

Coaching is not just about asking questions. Questions help us have perspectives. It’s an emotional shift, reflecting the stories and thinking people cannot do on their own. Coaching is disruptive reflections – I disrupt their thinking with my curious questions. It’s a learning technology, inside-based learning.

How can we have a greater impact with coaching?

Coaches help to break our story so we can expand. Learning happens when we slice through our frames, and a new perspective pops through. Once this breakthrough happens, we shape our reality based on these cracks or aha moments. Once we know where we’re going, we need to explore our assumptions.

Any coaching tips?

  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong. You’ll adapt your skills as you learn more. 
  • Make them a little uncomfortable. Allow the breakthrough. 
  • We see others as capable, resourceful, and creative human beings.
  • Coaching often happens in the in-between sessions. 
  • Don’t jump in to soften them or help them. Allow the client to process and simply hold that safe space to see beneath.
  • When the client sees beneath and breakthrough the frames of his/her story, awareness happens. What are we going to do with this awareness?
  • This awareness helps to identify their needs and values.
  • Be empathetic. Holding empathy is breathing in and letting it go and not getting stuck in your story.

You’re not profound if you try to perfect.

Marcia has shared some powerful insights on coaching during the entire webinar. You can watch the whole video here.

A big shoutout to Marcia Reynolds for sharing her “breakthrough coaching” tips with our participants!

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The COP series is a part of our Coach Transformation Tuesdays (conducted every Tuesday), an initiative for 2021 to reach out to the coaching community. The topic could be any preference of your choice, mainly to serve and contribute to...