Shangu is a mongrel who adopted us a few years ago.

We had lost our pets one after another and my wife did not want to keep any more pets and suffer their loss. Then Shangu turned up at our gate as a little pup. A year later, his step sister joined him. One day,  a car ran over her hind leg. My wife took her to the local vet, who put her on a splint. Neighbors found this pup with a splint endearing.  Soon, Shangu and his step sister, who my wife named Mangu, owned the street we live in.

Shangu and Mangu love their freedom. However many times we put a collar on them, they manage to remove them and bury them where we cannot find hem again. They come into our house and go out as they please. If we close the gates, they find a way to jump over the wall. On occasion, when we return late at night, we find them inside at the door step patiently waiting for us, and a late night snack.

They know their meal times.  Beyond that they decide what they do.

Coaching a dog is different from training a dog. By coaching a dog, one allows the dog to do what it wants, while gently guiding it through motivation. They do learn, but it requires patience. In contrast, training a dog can be brutal. We have seen trainers abusing dogs and found it abhorrent. Such trainers should be behind bars.

Coaching a dog is not that different from coaching a human being. The only difference is that a human being talks. I do not see it as a beneficial difference. Coaches who work with clients who have sensory disabilities may empathize with what i say.

In any coaching situation, the coach must observe client responses carefully. In telephonic coaching , one is limited to  vocal communication. If it through Skype or another VOIP, one may be able add limited visuals. Even in such limited sensory communication situations, we can learn more about the client response through tonal and pitch variations. We can also learn from silence and what the client does not say.

In the absence of a coach observing very keenly how a client responds and refining the coaching response to lead the client forward to the client’s stated intentions, the interaction stops at knowledge transfer. One says something and the other says some thing else. Whatever each says may be meaningful, but not additive. The conversation runs on parallel paths.

Observant and responsive coaching adds exponential value to the coach client interaction. The client can leap over blocks of limiting and undermining beliefs if they become aware of how debilitating they are.

People who love animals do not judge them. They accept their seemingly wayward behavior as natural. We know that we do not own Shangu and Mangu. Yes, we do feed them, but that does not give us a right to tell them what to do. Can we help them to be a little more sensitive to human needs? Can we guide them not to chase people on cycles? Perhaps. We try and over time we succeed.

Can we use this understanding with humans? perhaps!