‘Coaching’ gets a bad press. Most people don’t really know what it IS, what it means to ‘have a coach’ or to ‘be coached’, but the fact is the vast majority of successful people – really successful people in business, sport and entertainment to name a few have people who ‘coach’ them. Unsuccessful people on the other hand, people who ‘get by’ or never quite achieve what they want, don’t believe they need someone to help and guide them. What they believe is they can do it by themselves and having someone ‘alongside’ is some measure of ‘failure’.
There are three different types of coach, and they help with three of the key domains of life: what you do, who you are and how you ‘live’. Sometimes we call them business coaches, fitness coaches (or personal trainers), life coaches and relationship coaches (or counsellors) but the name, the label, doesn’t really matter. Without a ‘coach’ or multiple coaches, you’re on your own, really on your own. It’s all down to you. In your youth you had coaches – your parents, your teachers and perhaps your peers but at some point, most people ‘fire’ them all. ‘I don’t need you anymore, I can do it on my own’.
Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify what I mean by ‘coach’. For the purposes of this discussion, I include mentors or guides, teachers or trainers, counsellors and therapists, indeed anyone in what Peter Thomson calls ‘the helping industry’ where we provide assistance on an individual or group level. From my experience I’ve found people want guidance and ideas, the what and the how they need to help them achieve rather than the ‘purist’ coaching which merely asks them a series of questions such as ‘what do you think you should do?’. I feel this makes clients feel inadequate rather than offering useful help.
How and where do you find your coaches? It depends on the role you want them to play. A business, sports or other vocational coach will need some knowledge and experience of what you do. A ‘life’, personal or relationship coach will need significant experience of ‘life’ and relationships, and so on. There are too many people who purport to be coaches who just don’t have these experiences, too many people less than 10 years out of school who just don’t have the crucial experience bank needed.
My personal opinion is, with some exceptions in sports, only people with at least 25 years post educational experience should be considered which makes them at least 45. What they should not be is someone who has bought a panacea ‘coaching system’ as the ultimate an only answer to everyone’s ‘coaching issues’. Anyone can be taught to ask questions, and a 25 year old professing to be a ‘life coach’ just doesn’t make sense. What comes out feels like some sort of interrogation to a predesigned script.
The key to successful coaching isn’t a ‘system’ but flexibility based on long term knowledge and experience. It’s, and always has been, the ‘elders’ who make the best coaches, guides, teachers and mentors because they’ve ‘been through it’, they ‘know’.
We all need coaches. I have two who I pay and a few others where it’s a mutual arrangement, but what’s the value of having a coach? What’s in it for you, what’s it ‘worth’?
Coaching will save you time. Coaching will save you from ‘mistakes’ – usually because the coach has made the mistakes and can help you avoid them. Coaching will save you from stress and anxiety – they’ve experienced it so you don’t have to. Coaches will empower you to make more money – much more than you invest in them. Coaches will guide you to freedom in whatever context it may be for you. Coaches will do all they can to facilitate your living the life you would love to live – or something better.
If this has intrigued you and you want to know more have a chat with me. You know where to reach me.