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Coaching In The Philippines

The hyphenate Claude GM Sta. Clara studied metallurgical engineering and environmental engineering, has worked on semiconductors to leadership training, handled waste water management to executive coaching, been certified as a trainer in Neuro-Semantics & NLP and practitioner of hypnotherapy. This list goes on. It is easy to be out of breath reading his prolific resume. The man has achieved so much but during his interview with GHC, he specifically mentioned that he is a shy person. Obviously he is a man of science but he is also deeply a people person. The engineer got hooked into conducting seminar workshops! In the early 1990’s, he felt inspired by PSI leadership seminars which stands for People Synergistically Involved. Today, it is currently known as Philippine Seminars, Inc. After doing leadership training with PSI for several weekends, he realized that working with people is as fascinating as working with numbers. 


As trainers in the 1990s showcase their skills and talent in delivering results in seminar-workshops, little is known about the technicalities and methodologies behind soft skills, personality development, and motivation. The title “coach” was open to interpretation. But for Engr. Claude, he wanted a more methodical approach that guarantees results. For him, coaching has to be grounded on evidence that can be used to achieve positive results. It is not rock-paper-scissors, one-size-fits-all kind of game. To genuinely care for the client, a person aspiring to become a coach should invest in proper training and certifications. Engr. Claude’s passion proved that he really loves being a coach. He studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, Neuro-Semantics, Meta-Coaching, Hypnotherapy, Timeline Therapy, and Self-Actualization Psychology. He is one of the pioneer trainers in the country that certified other trainers in the Philippines. Together with the International Positive Education Network, Engr. Claude was also part of the group that brought Positive Education training to thousands of teachers in the Philippines. At this point, it is easy to be curious if there are changes in coaching in the new normal.




Engr. Claude, aka, Coach Claude, explained that as far as coaching method is concerned, there are no changes in technique in the new normal. Coaching is basically emphatic listening but Coach Claude noted that there are changes in the issues he’s dealing with. The new normal is not normal! Naturally, one can expect changes in the most common problems people had before the lock down. Normally, people would talk a lot about their relationship problems, but now, their issues are about their well-being while being alone. According to Coach Claude, there are people who are not used to being alone and there are those who are not used to relying heavily on technology for performing almost all human tasks. If you are the type who enjoys real human interaction and exploring places, you will be part of the statistics of depressed people. On the other hand, those people who fancy face-to-screen interaction more even before COVID-19, they are likely to adapt faster. 


There is no such thing as a hard case for Coach Claude. If properly done, coaching requires pre-screening of clients. This is the stage wherein the coach assesses if the client is “coach-able”. This should erase the common misconceptions about coaching. Coaching should not be used to treat mental health disorders. A coach-able person has to be mentally and emotionally well basically. In other words, the client is not taking any medication for mood disorders. Coaching is for people who need help to sort out their goals so that they can realize on their own, with the help of the coach’s questions, what actions to take. This is not prescriptive therapy. The coach does not tell the client what to do; the client should realize that on his or her own. It is clear that Coach Claude is differentiating counseling from coaching. A good coach does not create dependency; a good coach should be able to make the client realize he or she does not need a coach anymore.


A coach may feel challenged if he clings to his favorite technique when working on a client. This can be dangerous because helping the client may require a different technique which a coach has not mastered yet. A technique refers to the method of analyzing and dealing with an issue. Imagine yourself when you listen to your friends’ problems. You employ different ways of listening and responding to friends’ in need. It is not one-size-fits-all approach. The same applies with coaching. The only difference is that the techniques you study in coaching are based on human behavior research. Perhaps this is one of the most complicated problems of being a coach. If a coach does not continue to upgrade his skills set and techniques, he will be stuck with his favorite techniques and think they are applicable to everyone. To deal with this, Coach Claude made sure he knows more than one psychological approach to coaching. 

Coach Claude clarified that a coach does not go out to look for clients; it is the client who looks for the coach. This sounds like the philosophy of Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid but he makes a good point. A client should want to change first and he has to express how eager he is to change. A coach cannot bring this up with the client. If a client is not ready to change or does not recognize the need to change, no therapy or coaching will ever be effective. 


Coach Claude intimated that Filipino clients do not instantly open up to a coach. Most of the time, a Filipino client is aware he has a problem but is unable to identify specifically what that problem is. Moreover, most of them are unsure which goals need prioritizing; if not that, the Filipino client will not say at first what he really wants. In other words, a coach has to establish that he is a friend to the client which could mean that the coach should be present in the client’s social activities. This is not a surprise actually. If one is to review research methods in Filipino Psychology: pakikipagkwentuhan or sharing stories, pagdadalaw-dalaw or occasional house visits, and pakikiramdam or relying on one’s inner perception of emotions when making assessments, are some methods that show how Filipinos value familiarity. 

In contrast, Coach Claude said that a Westerner client already knows what he wants which makes it easier for the coach. The Westerner does not need to be familiar with the coach for him to open up. 




COVID-19 came in without giving us enough time to properly set-up the structures to support a fully online mode of human communication. Since the show must go on, for those who are struggling to survive, everyone is forced to meet, communicate, transact, and study online. No one can really claim to have mastered living in the new normal. Curious about the nature of problems of people today, Coach Claude researched on coaching techniques that can be delivered online which properly address the concerns of people in the new normal. He tried these techniques on himself and perfected these into easy to understand modules. The insights offered by his modules address the uncertainties that one is experiencing in the society now. This is relevant because the hardest pill to swallow is to accept that this situation is not going to end sometime soon.


Coaching has been packaged in many different ways, usually based on which client to cater to. Albeit, the principles remain the same. As human beings, we have a primal need to be heard. This simple gesture of establishing real connection by expressing thoughts and sentiments with another person make people feel their existence matters. As an executive coach, Claude Sta. Clara’s main goal is to genuinely listen to the client with unconditional positive regard while keenly observing subtle movements and gestures. Coach Claude looks out for indicators that reveal hidden messages. Sometimes these can be found in the client’s behavior and interactions. He will decipher the client’s internal programming - a term that pertains to mindsets, predispositions, and beliefs. He will therefore base his line of questioning on this in order to ask the right questions at the right place and time with the right intensity and timing. It’s a subtle process but when that happens the client begins to realize what they are looking for - the Aha! moment. The client discovers he possesses the skills to find the solutions to his problems all along. Coach Claude will use that opportunity to empower his clients by helping them perceive and understand their “programming” and thus be able to decide to become the programmer of their lives. This door opens a new chapter for the client as the truly empowered individual.


“Treat people kindly with full curiosity on what they really want.” - Coach Claude Sta. Clara


For Human Centered Online Programs and Executive Coaching, contact us to book a session with Coach Claude Sta. Clara. Our numbers are: (landline) +632.5310.1493; (mobile) +63.908 812 9104; or email us at You can also visit us at G/F Silver City1, Frontera Drive, Ortigas East Pasig.