kind words 
from coachville members

"Part of what I love most about the team that manages CoachVille is that .... you don't even realize there might be a box to think inside of." 
--Nina East 

"Coachville is an incredibly stimulating environment that naturally inspires me to upgrade all areas of my life so that I can be a model of a personally relevant, successful life. I serve my clients better now because I'm much more understanding and sensitive to what they are experiencing as they change, grow and achieve. With CoachVille's large membership, the impact this process has on coaches will improve the quality of coaching worldwide!"
Kurt Vander Weg

"I like what you're 'driving' Thomas, and the direction is ... well I'm not sure where that is... it is somewhere out there, further than my eye can see right now. You're pushing my horizon further and further - THANK YOU."
You're even doing 'things' with ICT (Information Communications Technology), which haven't been done yet by the ICT practitioners themselves! (As an ICT Practitioner, that's just one aspect which excites me about Coachville. I'm watching you for innovative ways to use ICT.)
Bill Brander

My CoachVille membership has enabled me to dramatically increase the number of clients in my practice while improving the quality of my coaching. There is no other source for the wealth of information, in the variety of formats all with such ease to access. Anytime I find myself or a client stuck, the CoachVille resources have come through. Call it J-I-T coaching but CoachVille continues to not only be ahead of the curve, they define the curve.
Janine A. Schindler

In a world of impermanence, it's nice to turn on my computer and find Coachville there. Coachville is a 
positive reminder of a commitment to coaching excellence. Though Coachville is the constant, it is ever developing and growing. Thank you for the creativity, to also 
remind us to renew and be refreshed :) The best in coaching.
Lawrence Lee

One thing that really appeals to me about CoachVille, and the GSC is the operating style and rhythm I experience. There's a real commitment to excellence (something I value highly), and there's also a lightness - a sense that 'the universe will unfold as it should'. What I notice is not a whole lot of energy focused on making sure things are 'under control', or fretting about things that might 'go wrong' or are 'not right' - yet! - instead, tons of attention being paid to a smorgasbord of actions that are of great value to me as a coach. A balance of energy that really resonates with me.
Maralyn Cale

The material that is coming from Coachville is more than anyone could
ever imagine. That is what the conversation turns to when any of us
members get to that subject.  This is not why I joined, it is why I stay.
Tim Rhodes

What I have appreciated so much about Coachville is how fluid and flexible and personalized it can be. You never "miss the train" because it is always coming around again in another way or available on an ongoing basis on web.
Marie Kane

After coaching for 15+ years I am occasionally tempted to think I know plenty. Almost daily you folks at CoachVille remind me that I still have a lifetime of learning about what is possible for this profession -- and for me. Thanks.
Steve Straus

"Coachville has been a breath of fresh air to the world of Coaching ever since its inception. Here is one of those rare companies where the customer is definitely the No.1. recipient - at minimal cost.
My expectation on joining Coachville has not only been exceeded, but I am continually amazed by the innovation of the Coachville Team in producing more & more useful coaching tips/courses for the members - at no extra cost.
Why invest in stocks and worry daily? Invest $79 and move yourself and your clients forward - smiling all the way."
Eric Gilston

Every program, every service, every communication, every employee is clearly committed to your mission of "improving the quality of coaching worldwide."
Jackie Lauer


From Thomas J. Leonard, Founder, CoachVille, 13.100 members, 74 countries.
Please forward this memo to your clients and friends...
View online at 


Thursday, August 29, 2002

Dear CoachVille Member:

This is the biggest news since CoachVille launched 15 months ago.
Welcome to the new world of CoachVille...

CoachVille has come a long way since our launch on June 2, 2001, just 15 short months ago.  With your generous input and financial support, CoachVille has been able to create significant value for members by developing training programs, a variety of marketing tools, and community-building opportunities such as the CoachVille Chapters and the CoachVille Study Groups.

We receive scores of thank you letters a month and we're pleased to read them.   From all indications, it appears that CoachVille has redefined the word 'value' and has been a real-world demonstration of one of the 28 Attraction Principles: Add Value For The Joy Of It.

And, that said, we feel that it's time to raise the bar again in the world of coaching.  The next target?  To do our part to help 10,000,000 individuals/clients experience coaching by the year 2010, just 8 years away.  We are going to pull out all the stops to facilitate this, and we're going to need your help.

Why 10,000,000 clients?  Why bother with numbers at all?

Forgive me for the numbers bent, but it's the only way I know to describe the scope I'm referring to.

Think about it, though...

When 10,000,000 individuals have had a positive experience of coaching, how will that benefit every coach in the world?

1. Critical mass will have been reached; the coaching profession will be on the table and no longer on the fringes.  
Currently, the majority of individuals do not know what coaching is, nor do they care about having one.  Until a professional reaches critical mass, so much of a coach's time is spent educating and marketing instead of delivering coaching.  We believe that once 10,000,000 individuals have been coached, that the 100th monkey syndrome will come into play.  (That's the term that describes the 'flip' in the acceptance level of something new.  When enough folks 'do it,' it becomes the norm, not the exception and that's enough to give it credibility and widespread acceptance.)

2. Once a person has a positive experience of coaching, they are likely to continuing working with coaches during their lifetime.  
But until they have an experience of coaching (and a positive one), they don't "get it" given how novel the coaching concept is for most folks.  I believe that a key opportunity we all have right here in the coaching profession is to make our services as appealing, customized and affordable to the majority of the population.  The profession is making great strides toward this by offering many modes and price points of coaching services, and by crafting highly customized and personalized offerings to service very specific needs.  As a result, it becomes less about 'coaching as a general service' and more about a situational solution to a problem or a specific strategy to reach a goal or make an important change. Increasingly, the marketplace wants specific solutions and strategies from coaches, not just the benefit of working with a great listener and supportive person.

3. There is political safety in numbers.  
As you may know, several states in the U.S. are making noises about either regulating coaching or seeking to stop coaching from occurring in their states.  It's not a crisis yet, but without a lot of work, it may well become one.  The problem is that we, as a profession, do not yet have enough political leverage to protect the rights of clients to be coached.   And, the ultimate source of political leverage is sheer numbers.  The more clients who have had a positive experience of being coached, the more of an outcry there will be if lawmakers start moving in that direction.  The key is having enough CLIENTS of coaches, in addition to growing the ranks of well-trained professional coaches who have been properly certified.

So, perhaps the most important question is.... 

How do we, as a profession, ensure that 10,000,000 individuals experience quality coaching over the next 8 years?  

Currently, our best guess is that only 1,000,000 folks have experienced being formally coached at this point (figure 25,000 coaches having formally coached an average of 40 clients each thus far in their coaching practice). 

We see several ways to make this happen by the year 2010.  And, with your input, we will add more ideas to this initial set of strategic initiative.  It's such a big game -- and there's plenty of room to play and plenty of room for all of the shades of coaching to emerge and thus significantly expand the palette.

As you know, coaching is an emerging worldwide phenomenom, and each culture and market segment wants their own set of preferred flavors.

Strategy #1. Assist 10,000,000 individuals to discover a compelling reason to hire a coach of their own.
Until someone has a compelling reason to hire a coach, they usually just won't even if it would support them to do so.  So, our task is to provide individuals a place to get excited about setting a goal worth reaching (and, hiring a coach to help them get there faster).  We also want these individuals to have an experience of coaching whether via an Audio segment online, or a free introductory session with you via an imbedded link to

What CoachVille is committing to...
We are going move up the launch date of which will be a public-oriented, completely free website rich in personal assessments, goal- and mission-setting and tracking tools and will also host a freely-accessible collection of 1,000 searchable audio and text segments, written and taped by CoachVille members, with suggestions and coaching on everything from raising your personal standards to managing your boss better to starting a business to redesigning your life.  We feel that this will become the largest personal and professional development site on the Net in about 2 years and anyone with an interest in improving their life or business will find it useful.  Each tools and audio/text segment will interface with -- the largest coach referral service worldwide.  The purpose of LifeVille?  To move the public one step closer to the life they most want, and to introduce them to what a coach can do for them.  Currently, there is no 'staging area' for the coaching profession and we feel the Net is the most efficient way to build one.  Remember, most people need a reason to hire a coach, and we feel that this site will stimulate them to think bigger, demand more from life and have the courage to really go for what matters most to them.

What you can do:
Watch for the announcement once we get our automated audio recording system set up to handle tapings of what you would like to share from our own areas of expertise.  There will be NO charge to you for using this system.  However, an editor will be selecting the strongest segments for posting at the website.

Strategy #2. Increase the number of professional practicing coaches from 20,000 to 100,000 by 2010.
This is fairly easy to do, actually, and it's a similar to the strategy #1 above and that's to give many more folks a taste of what it's like to be a professional coach.  We feel that another terrific way to reach the 10,000,000 "clients served" objective is to support more individuals to become professional coaches, whether full- or part-time.  CoachVille already has the strongest (as far as we can tell) online coach training program as well as the live Certified Coach Intensives which will provide the basis for the training of these 80,000 additional coaches in the 15 Coaching Proficiencies over the next 8 years.

What CoachVille has committed to do...
This is big.  As of today, August 29, 2002, we have officially waived the $79 membership fee to become a part of CoachVille.  We expect this change to be permanent. Anyone visiting and joining CoachVille as of this morning can join CoachVille for a lifetime, for free. No fee of any kind, and full access and use of the complete set of tools, ecourses, online coach training, listing at and, etc.  Why waive the fee?  Simple.  

We want to make sure that every person who wants to become a coach can receive free training and a wealth of resources; making it free to join CoachVille points to the depth of our commitment to furthering our mission of "improving the quality of coaching worldwide."  

We want nothing to get in the way of a person joining CoachVille.  Once in, they'll quickly see the sophisticated learning process that is available to them.  Until they come in and get a feel for CoachVille, it's pretty hard to convince folks that tools and resources we provide could be key to their success.  Problem solved.  Free CoachVille membership, as of this morning.

Note: If you joined CoachVille in the past 60 days for the $79, we can understand a sense of frustration about the timing (fyi, the final decision to go free was made only in the past 2 days) we can offer you a $79 credit toward a live event or to the Graduate School of Coaching.  However, if you are a member who joined CoachVille more than 60 days ago (before June 30, 2002) we ask for your financial understanding and we very much need your continued support in helping CoachVille do its part to forward coaching to the next place in its evolution.

What you can do:
Feel free to pass the word to your friends, colleagues and network -- to anyone you feel would benefit by learning about becoming a coach.  You may forward this memo to them, or invite them to visit

Strategy #3. Position the coaching skill set as a universal skill set, not "just" a skill set for full-time professional coaches.
The official tagline of CoachVille is "Everyone's a coach."  Not a professional coach perhaps, but certainly a coach in their own way.  After all, coaching is simply a set of advanced communication and relating skills, with knowledge and experience woven in.  Our best guess is that the greatest source of growth in coaching is actually in the non-coach sector.  Meaning that managers become more coach-like in their dealings, ministers weave in coaching skills to their professional skill set, even as accountants round out their style to including a coaching approach.  This is really big news.  After all, there are 650,000 attorneys alone in the U.S. and millions of teachers, counselors, physicians and others in the professions.  I believe that we're already seeing increasing levels of interest among these sectors in learning about coaching -- not as a career transition opportunity -- but as a way to be even more effective in their chosen profession. (And, as we all know, ones personal life can advance significantly once they starting learning the coaching skill set and all that comes with it.)

What CoachVille is going to do:
With your help, we will be building tools and website areas to serve those members who don't plan to be professional or full-time coaches, but who most want to learn and integrate the coaching skill set into their current profession or career.  

What you can do:
We'll be asking for help in customizing some of our current resources to fit better for this type of member.  And, we'll be building out 100 or so career-specific areas of the site along with our CoachVille Communities project (think SIGs) to provide a virtual forum for individuals who wish to be more coach-like within their current professions.


The benefits to you of CoachVille growing to 100,000 members within the next 2 years...
Is growth always good? No, not always. But it usually is in a new profession, as long as the quality of the work product can be maintained and increased.  We feel that knowing the 15 Coaching Proficiencies (the online training which is free when you join CoachVille) directly improves the quality of work delivered by coaches.  We want every coach -- current and future -- to have access to this body of work.

And, you may be wondering 'What's in this for me?" if CoachVille grows to 100,000 members. I know I would if I received a memo like this one. So, here goes:

1. Significantly increased public awareness of coaching so that what you do for a living is well known, respected and valued.
With awareness comes a better educated marketplace that will shift from "What is coaching?" to "Hmm, should I really hire a coach for that?" to the more exciting "Which coach should I work with to accomplish my goal this year?"  With more coaches coaching, and more clients benefiting, the awareness of coaching goes from a 3% (a guess) market awareness to perhaps a 10 or 20% market awareness.  When the larger marketplace accepts coaching as a viable and credible professional service, a tipping point is reached.  We are nowhere near that tipping point today, but we feel that 100,000 practicing coaches worldwide will cause that tipping point.
What's in it for you?  When the larger marketplace accepts coaching, you'll have more time to coach and will need less time to market and educate.

2. Political clout protects us from lawmakers and lobbyists.
Lawmakers are sensitive to public opinion, but only if in larger numbers.  And when there's a small group (5,000 to 10,000 folks), there is little influence we have. And, in the world of politics, influence is everything. And with some of the states hovering, we need big-time influence.  100,000 affords influence.  10,000 does not.  Fact of life.  Reason enough to take it to 100,000. 
What's in it for you?  Increased protection against anti-coaching legislation that would seek to prevent you from coaching.

3. Additional marketing and training tools to continually advance your coaching skill set and professional success.
As more folks -- from even more backgrounds -- join CoachVille, many of them will be willing to share some of the tools, forms, assessments, proposals, programs and concepts that have worked for them.  We'll be setting up the Coaching Tools Exchange as a place to host and organize these materials and tools.
What's in it for you?  Access to the largest bank of tools and resources ever developed for coaching.

4. Discounts from service providers and product manufacturers to save you hundreds of dollars.
Currently, we don't have the volume to arrange for significant discounts for you. However, once a group, especially a professional group, passes the 50,000-member threshold, a wealth of service providers and product manufacturers are willing to discount their wares in order to appeal to groups of buyers.  (Think co-op on a very big scale).  For example, discounts on headsets, software, support services, health insurance, liability insurance, information services and more.  
What's in it for you?  Potential hundreds of dollars of savings for the typical CoachVille member during their membership.  

5. Vibrant virtual communities to meet your very specific needs and interests.
With 100,000 members, you'll be able to participate in a number of highly-specific CoachVille Communities to provide you with support, resources, friendships and referral colleagues.  The better we can put you in touch with other members who share common interest or common needs, the more value we can add to all members.  After all, it just takes a single person to have a profound effect on your personal or professional life.  With hundreds of virtual communities, organized around specific interests or needs, you'll likely be able to find exactly who and what you most need at any given moment.
What's in it for you?  The power of connecting with those who will enrich your professional -- and personal -- life. 


Here are some answers to questions you may have about the transition of CoachVille from fee to free..  If you have a question that isn't answered here, please email me direct at and I'll do my best to respond personally.

So, you're saying that anyone I refer to CoachVille can join for free?
Yes.  As of August 29, 2002, CoachVille is free.  The $79 membership free has been waived.

Free permanently, or free for a while?
Our plan is free permanently, but we're going to evaluate this by December 31, 2002, in order to make a final decision long-term.  (But anyone joining between now and December 31, 2002, receives a free membership that is good for their lifetime.  We're 99% sure that we'll continue the free membership offer permanently, but we cannot commit to this until December 31, 2002.)

So, anyone coming in now for free is grandfathered forever?
Yes.  As long as they join by December 31, 2002, they'll have a free membership for a lifetime.

And I can refer as many people as I want?
Yes.  1, 10, 50, 100, 1,000, even 10,000 folks.  All for free.  

So, if I'm a manager for Wal-Mart, I can invite all Wal-Mart managers -- and my staff -- to join CoachVille for free?

But why would I want to?
If you're seeking to build or improve a coaching culture in Wal-Mart or any company, why not get everyone involved?  CoachVille is a great way for folks to get started.

I teach a course on coaching at Stanford.  May I invite my students to join CoachVille for free?  

But isn't most of the content at CoachVille designed for coaches entering the profession? 
Yes, our content has focused on this group.  And, we are expanding the focus of CoachVille to include the fastest-growing segment of coaches -- those who wish to learn coaching skills to improve their performance on the job, in their current professional and/or to become a better parent, friend and human being.  Remember, coaching is an advanced set of communication and relating skills woven into personal and professional experience.   Who wouldn't want to become a coach, or at least more coach-like?

I've been trying to get some of my coaching colleagues to join CoachVille.  You're saying that I can invite them?
Yes.  Just refer them to If they like what they see, they can join CoachVille on the spot.

How can CoachVille afford to do this?
Believe it or not, CoachVille has over $1.4 million in our checking and money market accounts.  We're the best capitalized coaching school/network as far as we know.  Most of our web programming and content development costs are behind us ($1 mm -- thank goodness!) and the cost of servicing members via email and the new live/real-time chat runs about 2% of our total revenues, given the efficiencies involved.  It's a big step for us, and we can afford it.  We would not put CoachVille at risk.

Are you making the Graduate School of Coaching free, too?
Dream on.  The GSC is $1795.

Why the shift to a free CoachVille?  What's behind that?
Several things are behind the free membership at CoachVille, and let me lay them out as fully as I can.  To the best of my knowledge, I am giving you the complete picture, as best I know it.  (If you have questions or doubts, please email me direct at and I'll respond personally.)

1. Evolution is key to flourishing -- and survival -- of any group...
CoachVille is run conservatively, yet we experiment continuously.  Opening up the doors at CoachVille carries very little downside risk.  And we'll all learn a ton from the experience.  Remember, CoachVille is evolving the whole professional association/ecommunity/ville format.  

2. Voting bloc = protection...
There are increasing rumblings of states possibly regulating coaching.  We see the solution as four-fold -- a rigorous, unified and industry-wide certification process (thus, the IACC), learning from how other professionals have protected themselves from the actions of competing professionals, lobbyists defending the coaching professional interests at the state level, and 100,000 coaches coaching -- it's voting blocs that get the attention of the lawmakers.  CoachVille is in a unique position in the coaching industry to take the lead on this last point.  

3. We're all doing our best to move the coaching profession forward...
From the very beginning, it's been our goal at CoachVille to develop and offer 1,000 products and services to coaches; some pay, some free.  Currently, we have 150 products and services available and we are accelerating toward that 1,000-resource target over the next 5 years.  Each of these products will further the mission of improving the quality of coaching worldwide.  Coaching is still in its infancy.  We, along with you, the other coaching schools, coaching associations and service providers are all doing our part to move the profession forward, one day at a time.

4. More members = more free features for all members...
The 3 largest revenue sources for CoachVille are: 
#1: Live Events such as the Certified Coach Intensive and the CoachVille Conferences.
#2, The Graduate School of Coaching.
#3, the $79 CoachVille membership fee.  
Even if we continued charging $79, by this time next year, the CoachVille membership fee would be only 10% of total CoachVille revenue, down from the 95%-of-revenue level when we started CoachVille last year.  Obviously, members are purchasing other trainings, products and services from us (great news, and thank you!).  Thus, it tracks that the more members CoachVille has, the more our revenues will be.  Which is what affords us the opportunity to create even more free stuff for members, like the 17 FREE new features we're adding for you during August and September.

5. Critical mass is needed to strengthen the coaching communities...
CoachVille has been helping to build additional institutions and infrastructure in the coaching community such as the CoachVille Institute, CoachVille Study Groups, the IACC, and we'll be designing several more institutions over the next six months.  Each of these needs to reach its own level of critical mass and an increase of membership will support those endeavors.

6. The coaching field is rapidly expanding, beyond the envelope we've gotten comfortable with...
And finally -- and this is big -- we see the major growth of the coaching field over the next 10 years to be individuals who don't plan to be full, or even part-time coaches.  In fact, we believe that this rate of growth will be 10 times greater/faster than those coaches seeking to become part or full-time coaches.  They want to learn the coaching skill sets and be a better manager, accountant, massage therapist, parent, friend, person.  We see CoachVille as a big enough place to include them.  (And, it's a another reason CoachVille is funding the launch of the IACC (International Association of Certified Coaches), so that coaches who are going the part-time, full-time route have a professional association based on the 15 Coaching Proficiencies.  

Are you sure that there isn't another reason for making CoachVille free?
Possibly.  All I can say is that it feels right.  I've laid all the cards on the table in #1-6 above.  

But doesn't a free membership diminish the value of CoachVille?
Yes, possibly, for the 10-20% of coaches who still believe that money=value.  The vast majority of coaches have moved themselves beyond that traditional thinking.  They now realize that time, not money, is what most folks in developed countries view as most precious to them. 

But won't some members feel ripped off because, after all, they paid $79?
Yes, some will.  We are hoping that most members will see this as an opportunity to invite their friends, colleagues and network to join CoachVille.  

Will you be giving membership refunds for members who are dead-set against the shift from fee to free?
No, it's just not possible. However, if you joined CoachVille in the past 60 days for the $79, we can understand a sense of frustration about the timing (fyi, the final decision to go free was made only in the past 2 days) we can offer you a $79 credit toward a live event or to the Graduate School of Coaching.  However, if you are a member who joined CoachVille more than 60 days ago (before June 30, 2002) we ask for your financial understanding and we very much need your continued support in helping CoachVille do its part to forward coaching to the next place in its evolution. 

How do I pass the word?
If you want to pass the word, simply contact the folks you know who might be interested in joining CoachVille and invite them to visit There, they can read about what CoachVille offers and, if they wish, they can join on the spot.  All for free.  

Can you give me a list of the types of people I would invite to join CoachVille?
Sure.  Feel free to invite...
--Your coworkers
--Other coaches
--Your professional network
--Your boss or managers in your company
--Anyone you would like to know about CoachVille

Do I still earn the affiliate fee for those who join CoachVille via my link or if they use my affiliate code? 
No.  We are continuing the popular affiliate program but not for referrals to CoachVille.  

Hmm. Seems too good to be true. Is there a catch?

I've always valued the personal response I get from all the CoachVille staff members.  Will that be in jeopardy when you get larger?
Not if we can help it, and we can.  We continue to add customer service hours reps, as we have since we started CoachVille.

I want CoachVille to stay small. 100,000 members seems like too much.
100,000 does seem like a lot.  (100,000 members has always been the membership target since Day 1 of CoachVille.)  And, for comparison, did you know there are 650,000 attorneys in the U.S. alone?  And hundreds of thousands of counselors and therapists?  The world of coaching is going to continue to grow and reach significant numbers, and that will take some getting used to.

The membership fee is already so low at $79.00 lifetime. I question anyone's commitment who isn't willing to invest at least that in their coach training. Do we really want someone who isn't at least partially committed to call themselves a CoachVille member?
An excellent point, but not one that there is any data on.  

Did you consider making different "levels" of the membership? Upgrade paths?
Yes, we've actually experimented in this area at the beginning of CoachVille.  It was not successful.  That said, there is a training path upgrade available -- from CoachVille to the School of Coaching to the Graduate School of Coaching which has been very successful.

Was there a question not asked that you would like answered? Please email and I'll answer you personally.



With your support, we'll do our part to raise the bar in coaching and help 10,000,000 individuals have a positive experience of coaching.

Welcome to the new world of CoachVille.  Please pass the word.