The planet’s most powerful coaching method

by Ben M. Bartlett

In a few minutes I’m going to reveal to you the most powerful coaching method for developing your skill set and human capital.

The foundational framework for this method is more than 500 years old, and is used worldwide for developing skills and performance in sport, trades, business and personal development.

I’ve developed a model which takes this 500 year old framework to a much a higher level, and would like to introduce it to you with the help of the 1984 movie, The Karate Kid.

In case you didn’t know, The Karate Kid is a cult classic movie.  It was a box office success, earning 10 times its budget, made its stars household names, spawned a number of sequels, and even a 2010 remake of the original.  Here’s what it’s about.

In The Karate Kid the main character, teenager Daniel Russo, moves to a new town with his mother. And, not long after arriving he becomes attracted to Ali, a cheerleader and fellow student at his new school.

Unfortunately for Daniel, Ali’s ex-boyfriend Johnny sees him moving in on his ex. And as well as being the jealous type, Johnny is a top karate student.

One night after a confrontation with Johnny, Daniel is chased by him and some of his mates.  They catch Daniel and Johnny starts beating him up.

Anyway, just as Johnny is about to deliver his most brutal blow, an old, ex-Special Forces Vietnam veteran intervenes and single-handedly defeats Johnny and the other attackers.  Give it up for the old man!!!

Once the dust settles Daniel asks his rescuer – Mr Miyagi – to teach him how to fight.

After initially refusing, Mr Miyagi then teaches Daniel all he knows about karate.

Long story short. Daniel enters a prestigious karate tournament and defeats “Bad Boy” Johnny in the final.  So he wins the karate tournament, as well as Ali’s heart.

Daniel’s success resulted from him doing something really simple – yet profoundly powerful….

….He was coached by a master.  Mr Miyagi was the master and Daniel was the apprentice.

A proven coaching method

The process of learning by receiving instruction from a master has been around since the caveman days, whereby young cavemen were taught how to hunt and fight by their older mentors.

On a formal level though, this type of instruction developed in the Late Middle Ages (1250-1500 CE) whereby an apprentice (learner) would be taken under the wing of a master (expert) to learn a skill. And the origin of coaching – which has an association with the apprentice system – dates back to the 1800s where expert tutors coached their students to pass exams.

Seeking out and getting coached by an expert is one of the most important steps to achieving success.  Put simply, if you want to be better at something, you need to ask and get help from someone who has the skills and abilities you’re trying to develop.

The key benefits of using a master coach? Firstly, you get to benefit from the master’s experience and expertise.  In other words, you build your own capabilities from one who knows.

Secondly, you get to slash weeks or years off your own learning curve.  Meaning, you have the chance to achieve your goals faster.

Let me share with you my coaching model which combines the key aspects of apprenticeships, coaching and mentoring into a powerful framework for success. I call it the Blended Coaching Model, and here it is:

Under the Blended Coaching Model:

  • You have the coach (the master) and the coachee (apprentice or learner)
  • In terms of knowledge, skills and performance ability, the coach is on a higher level than the coachee.
  • The coach’s role and purpose is to improve the coachee’s skill level and performance

The key element of the Blended Coaching model is that the coach applies a range methods to help the coachee, and most of these have a practical component.  Here are some specific methods.

  • Modelling is where a coachee imitates the skills performed by the coach.
  • Scaffolding is where the coach demonstrates the skill and then steps back to allow the coachee to learn the skill
  • Game sense is taken from the field of sports coaching and involves the coachee learning skill sequences that closely resemble the game being played.

In addition to the highly practical components, Blended Coaching also includes traditional learning such as whiteboard instruction.  So all in all, Blended coaching covers all bases in terms of teaching both theoretical and practical aspects of skill development.

For more than 500 years the master-apprentice model has shown to be highly effective in developing skills and performance, and is still used widely today.  Top sports coaches combine elements of the apprenticeship model with game sense training and other coaching approaches.   And many leading business schools now teach their students using a combination of traditional classroom learning with other more practical methods such as modelling and scaffolding.

Getting coached by a master who uses coaching methods such as those listed on the Blended Coaching model will put you on the fast track to success.  So if improving your skill set and developing its intangible asset value is what you’re after, take these three action steps:

  1. Make a stocktake of the skills and performance areas you want to improve in.
  2. Identify a master with the skill set and track record you’re looking to emulate.  Also ensure he or she uses the techniques outlined in the Blended Coaching model.
  3. Ask to be coached by the master.