Does Business Coaching Really Work?

There are some people in life who have extraordinary abilities.

Not in the able-to-paint-the-Sistine-Chapel or wrestle-a-polar-bear-and-win sense. More in the subtle art of people skills. Take my friend Karen Thrall for example.

She’s best known to me for her insane ability to see right through me.

I first met her through Nathan Rooke, son of my business partner Ken Rooke. They all attended the same church and asked Phantom to sponsor a fundraising event for the Vancouver Burns Unit (if I recall correctly). Karen’s best friend had survived a horrible fire and was passionate about the cause for sure.

There was something about her that just made me like her. An instant feeling of ‘hey, I want her to be my friend’.

And that’s exactly what happened. Friends we became.

Although for complete transparency, after that I found out she was a leadership and team coach I paid her to hang out with me. She did a number of team building events for us at Phantom too.

She is terrific at coaching. But soon after we met she joined the team of John Fluevog, those $500 for a pair of shoes company. She headed up his store expansions, flying hither and yon and sadly we lost touch.

That is, until just a few years ago.

But she lives in San Diego now so our face to face visits are rare and special. Oh and she’s back to using her amazing skills and is coaching again – check her out at:

Greatest Lessons I learned from her…

There are many lessons I’ve learned from her. I guess that’s why she’s a coach.

But in the spirit of choosing just one, it dates back to 1999. We were having one of our infamous Starbuck dates where we dipped from friendship to giving each other business advice.

This time it was her turn and I was in the hot seat sharing about my anxiety over some public speaking event I agreed to. I was probably also worrying about not being perfect or something.

Karen went into speed demon coach mode, grabbing the nearest napkin she could find and a pen, and started firing off questions at me. Who were my three Bible heroes? Give me 3 reasons why? What was I scared of?

And on and on.

Before I knew what was happening, those big blue piercing eyes of hers were bouncing with glee, so eager to show the correlation between who I admired and why they resonated with my heart so much.

And what it said about my God-given destiny. The napkin looked like a treasure hunting map gone bad.

But here’s the thing.

The gift Karen gave me that day in building up my confidence to be able to say to myself: “Yes! I can do this!” was beyond earthly value.

I still carry that “treasure map” napkin in my purse, tucked in my travel Bible, right next to my folded up Bucket List.

It is that special to me.

If I could talk to her this very second, I would say…

Go get your clubs, so we can play a round of golf!

It’s been awhile. And while playing there’d be a high probability I would remind her of that infamous coffee date where she infused life into me. I would profusely thank her for being that heaven-sent angel to my rescue.

And she would don her genuine humble response of acting like her gift was just another day at the office. Her amazing gift of being able to see through people, draw them out and having such amazing knowledge of what makes them tick.

Then I’d make sure I’d win at golf. I may love her, but I still have to win, right?