Home of the Samurai Coaching Dojo blog where Toku McCree, Matt Thielman, and other guest Sensei share their philosophies and practices for deep coaching and honorable enrollment. SUBSCRIBE for updates to be notified of new blog posts, special opportunities just for subscribers, and more!

Performance vs Morality

Performance is a function of performance. We offer certain inputs, inside a certain environment, and we see what kind of outputs we get. 

The more we can control for the environment the more we can predict and modulate our inputs to get a certain output. The more chaotic or seemingly random the environment the more performance becomes part art and part science. 

It’s easy to get lost in the dance that we ‘should’ know the correct inputs. 

We should have the right knowledge, experience, data, and courage to make the ‘right’ choices.  Only a future you really knows what the results of your choices are. 

From here, the future is a void. When we measure performance, observe the process, and are attentive to results we can generally perform better over time given the right resources. 

Morality is how good you are or a judgment about whether you are a good person. Because we value performance we often think that people who perform better are better people. It isn’t actually true, and very often we’re disappointed when star athletes, giants of industry, or our leaders reveal their human frailty to us. 

But because we value performance it’s easy to think that performance is the most important factor of morality. Even though it’s not. 

While thinking that performing better will make us better people might inspire us to work and pay attention, the utility of this mix up pretty much stops there. And for every person who seeks to perform better to be better, there are three people who feel awful about who they are because of some real or imagined lack of performance. 

In truth, these two things are just different. Not that they don’t interact and play with each other. But performance is performance. It’s a measure of outputs based on certain inputs in a certain environment. And morality is morality. It’s about who you choose to be in life, it’s about kindness and generosity, it’s about love. 

And anyone who’s ever tried to measure of tweak the utility of love through performance can probably tell you the futility of trying to bar graph the heart. 

If you can allow them to be separate. If you can survive poor performance while maintaining a good self-image, so much is possible for you. It takes work, but it’s a worthwhile path to follow if you wish to do meaningful work in the world. 

What You’re Worth as a Coach

We tend to think about worth in relationship to what we do for people.

Beyonce deserves to make a ton of money because of the singing and performing she does. I can charge a thousand dollars per hour because of the kind of coaching I do. A brilliant programmer deserves to make $100k+ a year because of the code he writes.

But looking at worth as a function of the value of our doing isn’t truthful.

  • If you have children how much would you pay in ransom to get them back from a kidnapper? Assuming you were confident they’d be returned to you.
  • If your partner needed a life-saving procedure and it cost $50k or $100k what lengths might you go to get that money?
  • And yet if you look simply at what the people closest to you actually do, it’s often very simple.
  • Children draw crayon drawings, they snuggle, they play.
  • Your partner talks to you about your day, maybe cooks a meal or two, and gives you affection.

What makes them special isn’t what they do.

What makes them special is who they are for you.

Your children are the only people who can BE your children. If I came over and drew with crayons for you it wouldn’t be the same.

Your partner is the only person who can BE your partner for you. You won’t feel the same level of depth with a house cleaning service or assistant even if they do a better job cleaning your home and helping you manage your life.

It’s who we are for people that matter most. So much so that it’s almost impossible to replace.

Yet coaches forget this all the time.

As a coach, you live in fear that you won’t do a good job coaching your clients. How could you charge twice as much without doing twice as much?

What matters is who you are for people.

As a coach who you are for people is possibility, love, and a stand for their greatness. 90% of what you do, 90% of the magic is being this for other people. 10% is what you do as you be that.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your greatest value is in what you do.

Your real value is who you are for other people.

Learn to BE great for them.

PROSPEROUS COACH SECRETS DECODED – Chapter 1 – Why isn’t this working? – (Coaching Dojo Live)


Chapter 1 – Why isn’t this working?

This experience is normal, the confusion, the challenge
It creates that something is possible that things can be different
It says I’ve been there too

Scarcity mindset – You’ve got it

Fearlessness –
A lot of coaches know what to ask but are afraid to ask
We like to make excuses, trust yourself and your coaching will get better.

Investment and commitment matter –
We want to be ready first, but we’re already on the journey and we’re never really ready to fail.

Being a stand – be a stand for yourself and be willing to take a leap of faith.

The coaching game has changed A LOT
– sending in a check is OLD SCHOOL, so remember this when you read the PC

Not all investments make a difference. Sometimes they can matter, sometimes you throw money at the problem. Please remember the difference.

Fearlessness isn’t enough
– you need skill and ability

Fearlessness isn’t carelessness – bring heart along with boldness.

It sells exclusivity as magic – which in some ways is Rich’s magic but it can also be a bit of a foil. There is no special coach club out there.

Invest in yourself BUT don’t throw money at problems

Learn to face your fears, learn to be bold, BUT that doesn’t mean be foolish or pushy

Real commitment feels different. It requires a leap of faith, BUT it also requires follow through.

You’ve got to practice to get it!!!!

What does it mean to BE a great coach? – Integrity

Integrity is about a relationship you have with yourself.


If you relate to yourself as someone who is better off doing what feels good in the moment then your integrity is likely low. 


If you relate to yourself as someone who can’t really be relied on, who can’t handle it when things get tough, your integrity is likely low.


If you relate to yourself as worthless or incapable, your integrity is likely low. 


A building has integrity because it follows a pattern, it’s rigid, it has structure, it’s built around a set of known principles. 


A tree has integrity because it grows towards the sun, is flexible and supple, it has it’s own pattern, but the pattern shifts and flows to its environment. 


What they have in common is there relationship to themselves. The building is an expression of its being, it’s the purpose, and aligns with it. It sees the value of its structure. 


A tree is an expression of its being and purpose. It aligns with it. It sees the value of its structure. 


Integrity isn’t about rigidity or flexibility,

it’s about how you relate to yourself and how aligned you are. 


A building knows how much stress it can handle, so does a tree. They understand how tough they are and they are willing to stand for who they are moment by moment. 


As a coach, your word and your being are your two greatest assets. 


You must stand for them and they must be something you align with. 


Without that, all you have are puffs of air and a vague website.

What does it mean to be a great coach? – Authenticity

Being authentic is a bit of a trap. The more you try to do it very often the less authentic you end up being.

In trying to be yourself you end up not being yourself, you become a sort of performance of yourself, self-conscious, unsure, and full of doubts and fears.

Your attention is fully on being authentic which makes authenticity nearly impossible.

The challenge is that you imagine your authentic self is powerful, confident, and full of vigor. But that’s not who you are authentically. Who you are authentically is a human being. Full of power, possibility, and brilliance, but also full of insecurity, fear, and sadness.

You are whole and complete, not a pure bright white light of endless goodness.

As a coach, your job is to bring this authenticity with responsibility. If you don’t know where to go with a client you bring that, if you’re unsure, you bring that, if you’re scared, you bring that.

You bring who you are, you use it to serve your client.


DEPTH. . .

You can fake a lot of things as a coach. You can fake knowledge, certainty, skill, and confidence. But depth is hard to fake.

You can ask deep questions and talk real slow like, but when people are with you they feel something.

They feel the depth of your breath,
they feel the depth of your patience,
they feel the depth of your body and heart.

Your marketing can distract them, your pressure to sign up RIGHT NOW can push them over the edge, but somewhere in the back of their being they’ll be missing your depth.

When I sit with a coach, a brilliant one, who does the work, who is the work, I feel them.

It’s like sitting in a deep ancient cave. It’s confronting, it’s alluring, it’s transformative.

Like my friend and teacher John Wineland says “Fuck hacking, go deep.”

As a coach fuck hacking, fuck faking, fuck pretending and being all bright and shiny with nothing beneath the surface.
Being deep and going deep is worth it.

It may or may not make your life easier or you rich overnight, but it will change lives in ways you can never imagine.

And that’s why you became a coach to begin with, right?


What does it mean to embody a great or masterful coach? 

I remember once standing in the lobby of a coaching event and a new coach came up to me and said someday I want to be a coach like you. What did they mean? I wondered to myself. 

Yet I get what he’s talking about. Within a few minutes of meeting a coach, I can often tell how I feel about them as a coach. Sometimes I get this wrong due to my own biases and filters, but often I get it right. And it’s not because I’m psychic or incredibly intuitive. 

There’s just something about a truly great coach. A way they hold themselves, a way they speak, a way they listen, even just the way you feel when you sit with them. 

This is the embodiment of a great coach. It can seem mysterious, but it really isn’t. 


What does it mean to embody a great or masterful coach? 

Anyone can call themselves a coach. Anyone can ask a few coaching questions. But there’s something that set’s some of the world’s best coaches apart. 

  • Creativity
  • Depth
  • Authenticity
  • Integrity
  • Commitment and the ability to help others commit 
  • Clarity with finances
  • Spirituality or relationship to the divine 
  • Purpose and vision
  • Professional ethics

I didn’t become a coach to get rich. There are easier ways. I became a coach to embody the spirit of someone who changes lives, my own first, and those of people I care about. 

Maybe you became a coach for this reason too. If so, stop focusing on the skills, the nuts and bolts. They matter, but the context of your focus matters more. 

Focus on embodying a great coach, focus on BEING a great coach. 

And in the process, you’ll learn everything you need to do and to know.

Anyone can call themselves a coach, anyone can ask some coaching questions. 

But being a great coach, even when you’re walking alone in the woods, or cooking dinner. 

That’s rare and really something worth working towards.

Poetry Can’t Get You Clients

A few months ago I started writing poetry.

In truth, I’ve been writing poetry all my life, in moments of contemplation, in moments of love, in moments of difficulty poetry, has always been something I’ve turned to.

And yet as I began to write it I had a thought. Who’s going to hire me because I write poetry?



Mostly in the past, I’ve written about leadership, about how to build a coaching business, about how to coach well, or how to live well.

Instead what was coming out of me was meditations on death, reflections on love, questions about what meaning there was to life, and what it’s like to go through pain and heartbreak.

I mean who wants a coach who talks about that stuff?

Don’t we all want a guide with the answers?

Don’t people LIKE my answers?

But on some level that didn’t matter.

I just had poetry pouring out of me. So that’s what I wrote. And because I’m committed to showing my work and being honest about who I am. I shared my poetry.



And then a funny thing happened. I got a referral from a former client. It wasn’t a direct referral. This client had a client who wanted to refer their boss to me. Someone very intelligent and powerful. Someone who ‘could win a Nobel prize in the next decade or so.’

On the call, this woman told me: “I’ve been reading your poetry and something about it gave me the feeling that you’d be the perfect person to coach my boss.”

HUH? I thought to myself.

Maybe poetry can get you clients.



The truth is people long to be themselves, without apology, without exceptions, without limitations.

As leaders and coaches, we can either pretend to be what we think people want to see (which is what is more common than not) or we can be ourselves. Both have the potential for attracting people.

Some people are looking for the illusion of perfection or excellence. Hoping to steal some of the perfect paint and paint it on themselves. But other people are looking to be themselves and if you are willing to be yourself, with courage, humility, and a little humor that will inspire them.

You can attract people using listicles and the answers, it might actually be easier.

Or you can attract people by being willing to be yourself.

The question is what do you want to rely on?

And what do you want to build your leadership and business on? 

My 3 Secrets to Winning the Coaching Adventure Game by Francesca Woltanski

Today we have a special post from our friend and fellow coach Francesca Woltanski. She highlights her experience with the Coaching Adventure Game and tells us how she won! Check it out below.Read more

Coaches Are Selfish

Asking for money is selfish, so is reaching out to someone with an agenda, in fact, most of what you need to do as a coach to be successful is selfish. 

It isn’t true or at least it’s not the whole truth, but that won’t stop you from thinking it’s true. Even if you think far back in the part of your mind where you hide the thoughts that ‘keep you from manifesting what you want.’

THE TRUTH IS you’re better off admitting that you worry about being selfish as a coach, that you feel a bit guilty asking for money, and that you somehow think that generosity is the key to success

AND also sort of resent how generous you ‘have to be’ in order to be ‘successful.’ A resentment largely built on the obligation to be generous in order to be ‘good.’

Seem like a lot?

It is. 

All of this mental chatter arises because of the bind you find yourself in as a coach. Specifically the bind between being Selfish and Generous. A bind which if you can learn to see, can have you be more powerful, successful, and actually more generous than you were before.

So let’s see if we can see it together.


Bind 2 – Selfish VS Generous


At some point along your journey, you learned to wrap your desires in innocence. 

It was ok to want to talk to someone . . . if you had no agenda. It was ok to ask someone out . . . if you already knew they liked you. It was ok to ask for money . . . if you were certain you could provide a result. 


Your desire came with conditions that made them, ok, good, or acceptable. 

When these conditions were met they achieved the level of generosity or selflessness. You were trustable, kind, thoughtful, and loving. Sometimes you called this authentic instead. 

When these conditions weren’t met you were greedy, needy, and selfish. Sometimes you called this inauthentic or manipulative. 

Once you had these rules you tried to live by them. 

You tried to be a good person and avoid the ‘bad people’. You judged anyone who broke your rules as being selfish. You did this while you watched them make more money, date people you wanted to date, and become more successful than you. 

You did this while being certain that their success was somehow empty or karmically bad and that it was better to be poor, tired, worn out, and secretly resentful so long as you got to be ‘innocent’ ‘generous’ and superior to those other people. 



Here’s the trick, you try to be good for the same selfish reasons that other people try to be successful. 

No one is perfectly un-self-interested. Or at least not very many people. 

 – You do actually have an agenda when you reach out to someone you’d like to coach. 

 – You do actually benefit when someone hires you as a coach. 

 – You do actually feel good about yourself when you make more money than other people around you. 


You like to win, even if the way you imagine winning is by winning the ‘right’ way and not the ‘wrong’ way. But all too often you use the rightness of how to win as an excuse for why you’re not winning at all. 



You see that’s the bind you’re in. The things you need to do in order to change people’s lives, to run a successful coaching business, to do ‘the work’ you worship like some sort of ancient god, requires you to be a bit selfish. 

Or maybe I should say it requires you to own the selfishness you actually have. 


Here’s the truth:

  • My clients pay my rent. 
  • When they pay me I get to buy stuff I like. 
  • If they pay me more I get to buy more stuff. 


Here’s more of the truth:

  • What my clients pay me DOESN’T go to their rent. 
  • They get to buy LESS stuff they like. 
  • If they pay me more, they get to buy EVEN LESS stuff they like. 


When someone hires you, in a way you win and they lose. 

Yes, yes I know your mind doesn’t like this. You probably have so trained yourself to avoid this fact and hide it from your clients that the mentioning of it feels deeply uncomfortable. 

Unless you’ve learned to wrap your desire in another form of innocence called justification. 

Which is where you’re so clear you benefit others that paying you is a privilege. 

Please, please get over yourself. 



  • You are not a charity. 
  • You are not a perfect solution. 
  • You are not the answer to anything. 
  • And paying you carries NO inherent significance or value. 



The truth is if this wasn’t true coaching wouldn’t work. 

If clients paid coaches with monopoly money or energetic units or something else without real value COACHING WOULDN’T WORK. If client’s give up some of the opportunity to buy stuff they like, paying you wouldn’t mean anything to them. 

As the great Steve Chandler says, Money is a stand-in for commitment. You can complain about it, whine about it, not like it, but in our world, in the time we live in, money is the most powerful unit of commitment we have. 



That’s the secret to this bind. You think that SELFISH and GENEROUS stand on two sides of a line. When in fact selfish and generous can either stand-alone or be cozied up with one another. 

You can be selfish in your generosity, putting forth no real opportunity to commit and doing it so you can feel ‘good’ about how generous you are. 

You can be purely selfish and think only of yourself, justifying that you ‘deserve’ what you’re getting. 

You can be purely generous, truly giving from your heart and expecting nothing in return.

And MOST importantly you can be generous in your selfishness. 


You can be clear that you get something out of giving something. 

You can own the dark side of giving, of coaching, of offering a space for transformation. 

You can free your clients and the receivers of your gifts from the obligation to make you feel ok about the benefit you’re receiving.  



This is the escape to this bind. To OWN your selfishness. NOT by avoiding it and pretending it isn’t there. NOT by justifying it and deciding people paying you is a privilege you’re allowing them. But by acknowledging that having someone pay you for anything means you get something. 

If you own it, if it becomes your responsibility to be with the desire and impact of your inherent and unavoidable selfishness, then you can be free and even more so your clients can be free. 


Selling them coaching can be purely about what would serve them. 

You can sit in the place of really wanting to work with them, while choosing to be fully unattached to them hiring you. You can have clear sales goals and numbers you need to hit and then create the money you declare you’re out to create, in order to live the life you want to live, while magically and simultaneously showing up with tremendous generosity and compassion with every person you talk to. 

The pathway to purity is to get down in this human muck with the rest of us. 





PS This is a part 2 of a 3 part series about the binds coaches find themselves in. 

You can read part 1 here –

Part 3 will be about the bind of flow and structure. 

Thanks for reading this and thanks for being a coach. If you got something from this or you think I’m an idiot, shoot me an email/message or drop a comment below and let me know.