CARVER Coaching & Performance Newsletter

Hi, Paul here,

I hope this finds you well. This week’s theme is…

Personal Truths

Back in Newsletter 11, I introduced an exercise I like to complete, and continually revisit, with coaches I work with. It is the “What do you know for sure about coaching” question. It’s a simple question, but it can bring profound clarity. I picked up this question from the Queen of the Talk Show, Oprah Winfrey. “What do you know for sure” was a question she posed to countless of her interviewees. In asking this question, Oprah was seeking to find the interviewees personal truths.

A personal truth is a belief or perspective that an individual holds as true, based on their own experiences and interpretations. Personal truths are subjective and can be influenced by a person’s culture, values and beliefs. These truths may not be verifiable or universally accepted, but they shape an individual’s understanding of the world and their place in it.

I like coaches to use this concept and I like them to actively evolve their personal truths as they grow in their coaching. Coaching entails the ceaseless pursuit of figuring out what is no longer important. As an aside: I also use the very same question when working with athletes i.e. What do you know for sure about performance? (No doubt I will share this with you in a further newsletter). Helping both the coach and athlete develop personal truths is powerful stuff.

Back in Newsletter 11 I shared 3 of my own personal truths about coaching and said I would return to it in time. Today is the day!

CARVER Insight

I have been gathering my list of ‘what I know for sure about coaching’ for many years now. If I hear or see something that resonates with me, I will jot it down in my journal and add it to my list when time allows. I now begin one of my keynote talks by asking the audience this very question, and use their answers to shape the presentation which follows. Towards the end I present my own personal Top 10 and will ask audience members which one resonates most with them. I explain their choice in detail, from my perspective. The hope is that I will be able to reference a number of points I have made earlier in the talk, thereby illustrating the power of personal truths as a means of developing a coaching philosophy.

So… In no particular order, and without further comment, here are 5 things I know for sure about coaching.

1. Athletes go to the training to learn how to think and play for themselves.

2. How I speak will generally determine how they listen. How I coach will generally determine how they learn.

3. Coaching is not about the coach… it’s about enhancing other people.

4. Example isn’t another way to coach… it’s the only way.

5. Uncertainty lies at the heart of all coaching.

This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours,


P.S. This week’s sign off ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ is a nod to the Manic Street Preachers. Song two on that album is, ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’. Sounds to me like a good title for a coaching blog!

Copyright Paul Kilgannon 2021
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