“You’re the Boss, Coaching’s the Horse!”

     I recently heard a discussion in which an individual was confronting an employee regarding the work that he had contracted with the employee’s company to do at his house.  The homeowner was complaining that the employee to whom he was speaking had made some independent decisions (with which he apparently disagreed) without the home owner’s approval.  Entering into this discussion was the employee’s boss, the owner of the firm and the Supervisor of the employee in question.  

    The business owner proceeded to inform the homeowner that it was actually he who had made the decisions in question that the homeowner was complaining about, and had done so in what he felt was in the best interest of the home owner. 

     Chiming in,  the employee added, proudly pointing to his boss, “I’m the horse,  he’s the boss!”implying that his role as an employee, was to faithfully carry out and execute his boss’ directions to the best of his ability,  something in which he took great pride.

    I had never heard the phrase “I’m the horse, he’s the boss” before, and it got me to thinking as it applies to coaching.  When I work with a client,  THEY’RE the Boss and coaching is the vehicle (the horse!) that carries out the goals and aspirations of the client with whom I am working; I am proud to be that vehicle, accomplishing the desired mission in a professional and effective manner.

    This is an important point of conduct for me. No matter what the initial focus of my working with a client may entail, the client is always in charge. Coaching goals often evolve as the client and coach become more attuned to working with each other but they only change or shift at the behest of the client.   Goals are addressed,  goals are repeatedly reassessed, whether those goals are of the of the individual, family or organization.  However,  the mission is always to meet the stated need(s) of the client.

    As a coach,  my goal is to support and assist you in meeting your goals beginning with your initial awareness of your need or desire to enlist some coaching support.  As a coach, it is also always a pleasure to see other goals develop and evolve.  As coaching progresses or perhaps shifts focus to incorporate new challenges,  the awareness of a desire to change other aspects of one’s life is not uncommon as topics emerge which are both figural and important to the client.

    As your coach at Aucocisco Coaching,  I look forward in the New Year to working with you. Allow Aucocisco Coaching to serve as the vehicle for you to address and meet those life challenges which perhaps have been “nagging” at you for awhile, barking at your heels begging for your attention!  

    Consider coaching as a meaningful, effective support as you move toward a better, more fruitful and fulfilling life.  

Indeed, please allow Aucocisco Coaching to assist you in meeting those life goals…after all, You’re the Boss!

Take care…and stay positive!


Origins of the Gestalt Parent Coaching Model

In 1978, fresh out of my graduate clinical psychology doctoral program,  my wife and I came to Maine and I was hired to develop a children’s mental health program within a statewide community-based medical home health care/visiting nurses association agency. This was a time when a variety of support services were offered to children and families within programs that were known as “pre-care” (preventative services) and “aftercare” (maintenance, post institutional care). This particular program’s Children’s Mental Health Service mission was to provide children with opportunities for pre-care as a preventative alternative to institutionalization. The defined client group included the child (at that time still usually considered the “identified patient”), the family and the school. 

Based upon the program philosophy I created, and the admissions rules that were based upon that philosophy, our Children’s mental Health Service was born.  Referrals from either the home or the school came with permission to also work in the other, non-referring system. This provision created a wonderfully effective synergistic intervention strategy. Being able to work in both venues gave us so many more opportunities and time to put into place more effective strategies for parents and teachers. It resulted in significantly increased access within which to carry out behavioral intervention strategies in a consistent, connected manner. This approach generated a high degree of effectiveness being achieved regarding the achievement of behavioral goals and in bringing about significant, effective changes in the targeted referral behaviors. In developing that philosophy of service back in 1978, I wrote the following:

“Our goal must be to provide quality care to the children and families we serve. In pursuit of this ideal…we believe that the child can best be served through interventions that provide for the involvement of the whole family.  That the services offered and provided should resemble as closely as possible the ecological [natural] available structure of the family being served, and as such, seek to maintain and reaffirm those strengths already existing in the family.”


“Professionals [such] as Gestalt Parent Coaches… should provide just so much service as to encourage independent adoption of those capabilities, actions, and values that are communicated and seen by the professional and the family as being important to them, [and by the coach] as necessary to achieve behavioral  change.  Our involvement needs to center around the delivery of services supportive of the child, the family, and their continued long-term existence.  Services, however, overreach their usefulness when they provide more than is realistically assumable after termination by the parties involved.  As such, actions need to be directed toward providing those services most closely attuned to the family’s present needs and subsequent capacity to maintain those services once our working together comes to an end.” (Melnick, 1978)

When the author later had the opportunity to become more knowledgeable about gestalt theory through programs offered by the Gestalt International Study Center (S. Wellfleet, MA), the confluence of all past education, training and program experiences began to jell within the framework that gestalt theory and coaching offered.  Ultimately this journey lead to participation and coaching certification through the GISC Coaching Certification Program, as well as additional certification in GISC’s well known and received Cape Cod Training Program. 

These two methods provided an important thread in the evolution of the Gestalt Parent Coaching theory and service delivery method that supports the logic of parents being identified as the natural change agents within families.  Linking the energy and motivation of the parents to align family-centered parenting goals with the roles and goals vested in parents is an essential approach that supports and empowers them.  Wrapped within a strong gestalt framework, the Gestalt Parenting Coaching Model was developed. This new approach vividly contrasts with various other existing approaches that enlist an external change agent.

It is important to me that parents who choose to pursue Gestalt Parent Coaching do so with an understanding of how this unique method is intended to support their desire to be more effective parents.  It is the parents who are experts in their family lore and children’s behavior. It is they who are both motivated and capable of identifying their goals and bringing to fruition the changes they desire.  The coach facilitates and empowers them through knowledge he or she has gained over their careers as coaches as well as those coaching skills he or she has acquired through training, reading and working with other families.  When all of these things comes together, wondrous changes take place in to the coaching process!!

I hope the above conveys the longstanding commitment to better supporting families that Aucocisco Coaching is committed.

"Wherever You Go, There You Are!"

The full quote of the above title is this: “Every wakeful step, every mindful act is the direct path to awakening. Wherever you go, there you are.” 


In our busy and hectic lifestyles, we often forget to be mindful and in the moment. Our minds are often overloaded and overburdened with what we need to do next, where we need be next, distracted by technology, media, children, partners, work, chores…the list is never ending. We are in a continual state of going and doing and thinking that it’s no wonder we have an epidemic of sleeplessness. How many of us wish for a bit of peace, a little quiet, just a moment to breathe? We need to give our minds a break, even if it is for just a brief moment. It’s really not a such a difficult thing to do, all that is needed is a moment, just a moment to stop the chatter in our minds and just focus on whatever it is we are doing and being in that moment. 


Being in the moment is being mindful. When we are mindful, we are focused on what it is we are doing without allowing ourselves to be distracted by what’s next. When someone speaks to you, do you listen to what that person is saying, or are you busy waiting for your turn, thinking about what you have to say without really listening to what is being said to you? Giving something (or somebody) your full attention is being awake in the moment. This is an important thing. It prevents unnecessary mistakes, accidents, hurtful words, or missing out on  something wonderful. 

When you are going about your day, try to take a moment here and there to consider what you are actually doing. Ask yourself: Am I really paying attention or am I thinking thoughts unrelated to the task at hand? If you find that you are not being mindful, don’t beat yourself up for it. 

Just take a deep relaxing breath or two, smile to yourself, and focus. 

This also known as “One Pointed Attention” (Eknath Easwaran;  www.easwaran.com)

This quote isn’t about religion; it isn’t being shared to proselytize any one religion.  ALL the great religions have produced similar thoughts….but whatever the origin, the message is worth considering!

Take care…and stay positive!