Today’s show is another one focusing on the core competencies of coaching. One of the most misunderstood competencies is direct communication. We are taking a look at how that intertwines with us being culturally-intelligent as coaches.

Marilyn O’Hearne is a Master Certified Coach and one of the guests at The Essence of Mastery Summit 2019, which we covered extensively in last week’s show. Marilyn is committed to unlocking potential. She’s a globally-experienced, culturally intelligent, and appropriately direct leadership team and mentor coach, as well as a coaching supervisor. She’s worked with leaders and coaches in more than 40 countries over 20+ years, including United Nations leaders. Marilyn served for 6 years on the ICF Global Board of Directors and followed that service on the board of the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) and the first ICF Advanced Advisory Team on Cultural Competence. She has worked and fought and breathed coaching for many years, beginning her career as a social worker. I’m excited to cover this topic with Marilyn about how we can be culturally intelligent as coaches, and how that intertwines with direct communication.

Show Highlights:

  • How Marilyn fell in love with coaching in 1988 when she first read about it
  • Why the field of coaching is a calling and working with leaders has the potential for big impact
  • What “culturally intelligent” coaching means
  • How direct communication is misunderstood as a competency
  • Why the focus on direct communication is Marilyn’s “special sauce”
  • The confusion between “directing” and “direct communication”
  • How direct communication plays into the coaching partnership
  • How intuition shows up in masterful coaching
  • How coaches set the stage for direct communication in their practice
  • How coaches can pick up on cultural clues
  • Marilyn’s example with a coaching client
  • Why a coach should ask, “How direct do you want me to be?”
  • Finding the balance between letting the client share and having a structure in the coaching relationship
  • Marilyn’s 7-session course on direct communication and what it teaches
  • Marilyn’s acronym for direct communication:
    • D–Dealing with uncertainty
    • I–Intuition
    • R–Recognize the cultural differences
    • E–Expanding perspectives
    • C–Clear, compassionate edge in feedback
    • T–Transforming through metaphors


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