Setting the Benchmark: May 2023

Special Insert: International Coaching Week May 8 to 14 “Explore Your Potential”

Pay It Forward


by Lynne Reyes, ACC

Benchmark ACTP and Advanced Coaching Alumna

Lynne Reyes

Trapped in the deepest chambers of Tham Luang Cave, 12 Thai youth soccer players and their coach found themselves helpless. The long and deep routes leading to the exit of the cave were inaccessible owing to deep flood waters. It was dark, cold and the prospect of getting out or being rescued alive was dim and uncertain.

If you have watched “Trapped”, a Netflix documentary, you’d feel chills down your spine seeing the true-to-life drama unfold. It was a high-risk rescue mission that was a race against time and nature taking place in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand in 2018.

17 days trapped without food, without the slightest hue of light to cut through the pitch-black darkness of the cold night, all the 13 boys had was each other and the hope that help was coming. They clung tightly to hope, hope that eroded with each passing day.

The Thai SEALS were there. There was no way they could get in due to the high floods. A group of British and Australian expert divers came to help and together they collaborated, put their heads and their strengths together to look for a solution. At some point they faced a blank wall that wrote of uncertainty whether they could get the boys out alive, if at all.

The divers’ initial search led them to the spot where the boys were trapped. All 17 were alive but the rescuers couldn’t extract them from the cave, and time was running out. The trail was too long with deep, murky waters, and the rain kept pouring in, causing the water level in the cave to keep rising. Chances are, they still wouldn’t make it alive at the end of the trail. At any point in time, the boys that were being rescued could become too anxious as to panic under water and that could mean the end of their lives.

It was a crisis, but a glimmer of hope came with an idea. Left with no other foreseen solution, the divers were forced to think outside the box. They called another expert diver who was an anesthesiologist. What if they sedated the boys? Breathing through their oxygen masks with their hands restrained while unconscious would prevent them from panicking while making that 3-hour underwater journey to their safety. Is it guaranteed to work? Will the boys make it? What about hypothermia? What if water seeps through their masks en route? Is this crazy idea worth a try? One by one, they took the boys out. The ones who were left behind waited anxiously for their turn.


All 13 boys were brought out alive! It was a successful mission that took a lot of selflessness and sacrifices from many and was welcomed with much rejoicing not just from the families but from a world that witnessed a dramatic and awe-inspiring story of rescue and survival.

If you thought for a moment that I was doing a film review, think again! I’m talking about the strength of a team.

  • A crisis: bringing a group of people together with a shared goal and rising above a very difficult challenge.
  • A compelling and common goal: Save the lives of the trapped boys against all odds.
  • A pool of talents: Thai SEALs, Expert divers from Britain and Australia, political heads, doctors and medical staff – exhausted but selflessly and tirelessly acting together.
  • The locals: Resources were coming, and prayer warriors begged unceasingly for a successful mission.
  • Humility — the Thai leaders showed humility and recognized they couldn’t pull off this mission alone and knew they needed others. They opened barriers and gave the support needed by the expert divers. Through their individual skills and combined efforts, they did it.
  • Faith and Trust in each other — that no one was letting up in finding a solution.
  • Selflessness — one who is truly part of a strong and great team knows that it is not just about him but of the whole group. They took calculated risks together. There is no one hero or superstar who was hogging the limelight. Instead, there are team members, each valued for his contribution in the team.

I thought this story captures what a strong and great team looks like. Everyone had a role to play towards a common goal. It was no longer about oneself but each one risking his own wellbeing and “taking one for the team”.

Group of hands

We see teams everywhere — at home, in school, in communities, in church, in the sports arena, in various organizations and the workplace.

  • A husband-and-wife team: with a vision for the bright future of their children, together helping each other raise fine young adults in a harmonious home environment.
  • A basketball team: consisting of talented players, each with a specific role to play, supporting each other in the court, motivated and energized by a charismatic coach that sets high standards for his players. They are out there not just to win games but to bag championships.
  • A medical team in the operating room: a highly skilled and specialized surgeon who cannot do it alone without the anesthesiologist, the doctor residents, the nurses and aides. Together, they perform each procedure with skills, clear roles, trust for each other with only one compelling purpose – to save patients and improve their quality of life.

What about teams in the workplace?

  • An authentic leader who inspires, motivates and energizes the team towards a SHARED GOAL and who leads from the human level, recognizing that he cannot do things alone. He has a vision for the team and gets each member to buy into this vision, empowering each one towards success.
  • Team members, carefully chosen for their individual unique skills, talent and the experience they bring.
  • An atmosphere of camaraderie where everyone is encouraged to be supportive of each other, harnessing the power of diversity, and collaborating towards results and innovative solutions.
  • Tested through good times and bad. Companies go through crisis. Crisis brings out the best or worst in teams. A great and strong team rises above the crisis to bring innovative solutions and transformational changes.

It’s true what one said, “Work alone and you may make things happen. Work together and miracles can happen.”

When was the last time you took one for your team?



  1. Know Your Team. Understand their personal values, motivators, work style and unique talents and abilities.
  2. Create More Opportunities for Collaboration. Give them more tasks to work on together so they can learn and appreciate each other’s talents.
  3. Build an honest, open and trusting culture. Communicate well and foster the feeling of everyone having each other’s backs.
  4. Formulate clear objectives and goals where everyone is involved. Ensure that each of their individual goals are aligned towards the company’s vision, mission and values.
  5. Celebrate small wins. Keep the team positive, motivated and happy by giving recognition where recognition is due.
  6. Share and give feedback often. Don’t reserve feedback for the performance review. Encourage feedback across all levels and the growth mindset to use feedback to improve.

To practice all of these, Team Coaching is key. Join our upcoming workshops on Team Coaching Skills for Leaders, or if you are a coach, be one of the first to get certified as a Team Coach by the ICF! Read on for more details.

Strategies to make your team more successful
Coming Soon


Registration is still open for the following programs!

Sign up for any of these programs by writing to us at

Team Coaching Skills for Leaders
Team Coaching Skills for Leaders

May 23, 26, and 30, 2023
Learn the skills and mindsets required of a leader to perform team coaching.

Learn more about the program >>

Team Coaching Certification Program
Team Coaching Certification Program (for professional coaches only)

June to September 2023
Our content design and methodology is a product of our 20+ years of working and partnering with various culturally diverse teams from around the world. This 3-month certification program will equip you with the right mindset, knowledge, skillset and proven methods that will prepare you for this complex discipline. It also meets the education and supervision requirements of the ICF Advanced Certification in Team Coaching credential.

Learn more about the program >>

Accelerated Coach Training Program
Accelerated Coach Training Program (Foundational Course)

July to October 2023
The need for more professionally trained coaches in the post-pandemic era is growing fast. Be a professional coach under this ICF accredited training course.

Learn more about the program >>

International Coaching Week


The International Coaching Federation spearheads the global celebration of International Coaching week every year. This year, it carries the theme “Explore Your Potential” and will be held from May 8 to 14.

In solidarity with the objectives of the ICW, Benchmark Consulting aims to bring awareness of and participation to professional coaching to more people through our series of events.

We hope to see you in our upcoming activities! May the power and impact of professional coaching touch more and more lives.

How to Become A Professional Coach
How to Become a Professional Coach

Monday, May 8, 2023 at 9:00AM-10:30AM PH Time
A public forum featuring 3 of our Benchmark Coaching alumni and top ICF credentialed coaches Lynne Reyes, ACC, Mariel Tablan, PCC, Zach Prosser, MCC joining Benchmark Consulting founder and President Julius Ordoñez, MCC, ACTC to talk about their journey to becoming professional coaches and everything you need to know about the process!

This forum is open and free to anyone who wants to explore the field of professional coaching.


Coaching Hub for Students
Coaching Hub for the University of the Philippines

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 5:00PM-6:15PM PH Time
50 of our Benchmark Coaching Alumni have volunteered to coach undergraduate students of the University of the Philippines, representing the future of our country. They will each receive 3 free sessions of professional coaching to help them with their personal and professional goals.

This initiative is exclusive for Benchmark Coaching Alumni and undergraduate students registered under the Office of Student Activities and Programs of UP Diliman.

Health and Wellness for Coaches
Health and Wellness for Coaches

Friday, May 12, 2023 at 5:00PM-6:00PM PH Time
In a profession such as coaching, when so much of your focus is on the wellbeing of others, it is sometimes difficult to find a balance and care for yourself too. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, so to be an effective coach, you also need to ensure you have proper nutrition and physical and mental well-being. And who better to talk to us about Health and Wellness than our very own Benchmark Coaching Alumni, Dr. James Sison, an occupational health physician and professional coach?

This webinar is open to all Benchmark Coaching alumni and their coach friends (even those who have not graduated nor taken any coach training with Benchmark Consulting) as part of our Always Learning series.

Featured Coach of the Month

Dr. James Sison

Dr. James Sison’s venture into coaching was borne out of a sincere desire to better help his patients.

As a practitioner of Occupational Medicine, his focus is on work-related illnesses and diseases. He is a Diplomate of the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine, the sole Medical Specialty Society accredited by the DOLE to accredit company physicians. He worked at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City for over 4 years, managing huge corporate clients like Globe Telecom and Okada Hotel, before moving on to directly managing his own set of companies like Nissan Philippines, The Net Group, Welders testing lab, Jimm’s coffee and Delfi Foods.

“When you are a doctor, you tend to rely on prescriptions to fix your patients’ problems quickly. But I realized so many of them do not really need a quick fix, but have deeper needs and issues. I wanted to help them and give them longer lasting, or even lifelong support.”

This is where coaching came in. James has a Physician family friend based in Singapore, whose main practice was coaching. He became curious and probed more about it, and the more he learned about coaching, the more he admired it, especially since he was also dealing with his own personal struggles. So he made the decision to take the ACTP under Benchmark Consulting. “I find coaching to be a very valuable way to help others alongside my medical practice. I help patients reframe the situation, I ask them questions that help them realize other possibilities for them, I actively listen to them, and by doing so, I am able to help them better.” Of course, the process wasn’t easy. He had to unlearn so much, especially the tendency to tell other people how exactly to solve their problems, and with all those years of study in medical school and being an expert in the field, the temptation was even greater. “Sometimes I had to ask myself: Am I a doctor or am I a coach? Well, now I am both. So I find a way to harmonize both professions in what I do.”

Coaching has also helped James practice empathy. “When you actively listen to people, you understand their struggles better. Like patients who have comorbidities like hypertension or diabetes and need to accept that they will now have to take maintenance medicines for life. Or those that need to avoid the food that makes them happy, and feel that these restrictions inhibit them from doing what they want. It is not easy for them.” The ability to coach even helps him diagnose psychological issues better and be more sensitive and perceptive with psychological symptoms, instead of directly sending people to see a psychiatrist right away.

Coaching has added significant value to his skillset, and it has made him more sought after by companies because he has an edge over other physicians by being able to coach.

“Many companies are very much invested in mental health programs for their teams, or even have this as one of their KPIs. So by getting a company physician who can also coach their team members, it is a great premium for them.”

Today, aside from being the company doctor of 5 companies, Dr. James Sison is also a consultant for a mental health service provider, and regularly gives lectures for various HMO companies as well as corporate clients on Nutrition, Diet, Mental Health, Stress Management, Hypertension, Cardio diseases, even Heatstroke, among other health and wellness topics. As a special Always Learning session for our Benchmark Coaching Alumni on International Coaching Week, he will be speaking on “Health and Wellness for Coaches: Taking Care of You To Better Care for Others”. The session will be on Friday, May 12, from 5:00PM to 6:00PM PH Time via Zoom.