My vision (Seite ist komplett auf Englisch)
Serving my audience to deliver a specialist service to achieve the best possible experience in a fun and dynamic setting.
What is a Sea Level Coach?
A Sea Level Coach is a coach who follows "the manifesto of a sea level coach" to get as close as possible to the vision and the best possible output of a workshop / coaching / teaching / seminar / or any other service.
Sometimes profiles in social networks are really getting on my nerves. I fully understand that people want to share things and use it as a „personal PR”, so do I. But still, sometimes, people try to show something off that seems to be very special and important but it isn’t. I mainly see that, when looking at titles of people. Here are examples of titles, which I find really stupid:
Top 10 Speaker, CEO Executive Coach, Vice President Anything, Trusted advisor … or whatever.
C-Level Coach is one of these titles, which I found really funny. It is supposed to show, that people deal with important people and know how to handle them (C-Level means CEO / members of board / Top management). I also train our members of boards, our CEO and half of them know me by my fist name, nothing special to me. I believe, if you can deal with important people (by the way: What is important?) and if you are good at it, you don’t have to show this off in a title.
One night in April 2019, we wanted to celebrate my birthday and I came along with the topic, complaining about these titles and specially “C-Level Coach”, mentioning my thoughts about it. One of my friends has his own restaurant and hotel, very successful businessman, but has no clue about those “office codes” – so he didn’t get it and asked: “What do you have to do with Sea Level and with the sea?” I asked him to explain and he really thought, I talked about a Sea Level Coach (he even wrote it down!), which didn’t make any sense to him at all. So, I explained the misunderstanding and what I really ment, but out of this misunderstanding, the name was born and I started thinking …
I thought about how sea level would be a metaphor for coaching. I started thinking about sea level and how this could fit into my coaching / job. I didn’t stop thinking about the idea for weeks. There are a lot of different styles and methods out there, which I looked into or already had experiences with. Then I started working on the first draft. It is a continuous journey of exploring, learning, re-framing. I want to make a free offer to everyone and to find a way to host successful trainings / workshops / seminars, from beginner to senior professional (no titles, we are all on the sea level now! ;-) all are welcome.
During corona crises I read some inspiring books and re-framed this manifesto to version eight.
Background and Sources:
My thoughts and the manifesto are inspired by the agile manifesto from 2001, Design Thinking, Scrum, Lean, Design Sprint, Kung Fuzi (better known as Confucius), Sharon L. Bowman (“Training from the back of the room” / “Brain science”), Robert K. Greenleaf (“Servant leadership”), my observations/learnings from more than ten other coaches and my experience of teaching/coaching for over six years.
Manifesto of a Sea Level Coach
Stay on the sea level
You serve the audience. Your service is based on the best possible outcome for your group. Your service is based on moral and behaviour.
Operate on the sea level
Output of the workshop for the audience is more important than to follow a strict agenda - stay with the audience and focus (see focus).
Use games and warm ups, whenever possible und useful, but they have to be easy, fun, grounded! Games are the method if they make sense.
Concrete practice und multisensory concepts, are more important than lecturing from the front with a speaking / listening situation.
If a choice makes sense than use movement over sitting, talking (participants) over listening, pictures over words, writing (participants) over reading, shorter over longer, different over the same (e.g. always the same method of learning).
Space on the sea level
Check with the audience if the room is okay or if improvements are required for the best possible outcome. Having the best possible space is the first task to finish.
Timing on the sea level
Timeboxing at any time to keep up efficiency.
Mobil devices on the sea level
Any mobile device to be switched off, we are here and now, with the people in the room and nowhere else. Only to use in case of specific tasks, like documentation or other tasks. I case of a desperate need, leave the area for the time.
Treating on the sea level
Treat all the same, every perspective or experience, point of view is useful, helpful and wonderful. Treat everybody with respect.
Trust on the sea level
Trusted room: We trust each other that we do the best we can at the momentary time. What happens in the room stays in the room. Anything critical leaving the room requires agreement of everyone. There is no hierarchy.
Meet on the sea level
Start by creating connections between the audience and the topic. Afterwards, create a connection between the people, so everybody should get to know each other and have any important information about everyone, at least the name. In German speaking areas, it is mandatory to “duzen” each other, to remove barriers.
Orientation on the sea level
Set up the rules in the phase of beginning, just like a game, but the first experience is NOT the rules, it is an experience towards the goal of the setting. Getting lost is no option, you always know where you are and you can always guide the audience.
Navigate on the sea level
Easy and grounded explanations/tasks/rules, so everybody can always follow/work/learn.
Focus on the sea level
Focus on the best possible output for the audience.
Fun on the sea level
Take fun very seriously. Fun is an important part, make fun, whenever possible. Keep any fun and jokes above a certain level. Not below: No racist, sexual or any other jokes, that insult someone.
Questioning on the sea level
All questions are good and valuable, there is no good or bad questions, no judgement on questions, any question is helpful.
Sea sickness on the sea level
Any critics, trouble, change, feedback is a gift that helps to improve coaching.
Documentation on the sea level Any important Information requires documentation. It is upon the coach to keep in mind, do or to delegate.
Finish on the sea level
Always finish on the fixed time, whatever it takes, any additional time is on a voluntary base. The last three tasks must include a conclusion, feedback and a proper thankful closing by you.
Clean up on the sea level
“Rest room principle” – leave the room the way you would like to come across, if you where the next person to work with it (cleaning, another workshop…). Cleaning is part of the workshop and the workshop can only be finished upon a clean room. It is upon you to make sure, there is a nice room left behind.
Improving on the sea level
Change rules if necessary and helpful, try to become better at any time and value any feedback. There is no dogma. Take time to ask for feedback and just listen.