The Power of Coaching

by Mark Feldman

Eli J SegalI place my recent experience as a Segal Fellow Coach in the category of things I feel guilty about.  Why?  Not because I didn’t show up on time or give it my all, but because I got so much out of the experience.  I can almost hear Eli knowingly chuckling about the power of service to help transform those who serve.

I am grateful to my Segal Fellow Alan Ratliff who during the time we spent together gave me a window into his dynamic and highly complex work informing GBLT (gay, bi-sexual, lesbian, and transgender) policy development on the state-wide level.  Over fancy salads, Japanese noodle soups, and something Thai that I am still not sure about, I learned about the disconnects between public officials and a new generation of youth leaders and activists in this arena.  Alan is bravely in the process of positioning himself as a bridge.  He is learning to speak the languages of multiple stakeholders and helping them find new ways to first “hear” one another and then, hopefully, work together.  Like most Fellows, he is a pioneer.

Stepping back and taking a broader perspective became a core theme of our conversations together.  Not being immersed in GBLT issues and day-to-day politics, I was able to put my consulting skills to work and help Alan take a fresh look.  Together, we talked about models from other disciplines and alternative ways to re-frame processes and assignments.  Out of mutual respect we asked tough questions and pushed each other to think differently.  Thanks Alan for making Coaching such a great experience.  Good luck in all your endeavors!

The Segal Fellows Program is part of the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Center at Brandeis University.  It commemorates and honors the extraordinary contributions of the late Eli J. Segal, one of my friends and mentors.

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