Yesterday I stated that we all need a coach at different times in our lives because coaches help us improve more quickly than we would if left to our own devices.
I then divide up the IN-NEED-OF-COACHING population into two categories:
- Those who know they need a coach AND are ready to work with a coach, and…
- Everyone else.
Yesterday I opined that the “everyone else” category may first need to sort through other issues before they can take full advantage of a coaching relationship.
But those who know they need a coach AND are ready to work with a coach are my favorite clients, because they are ready now.
Shift your thinking about what it means to be a coach. Don’t think of a coach as a stuffed shirt with a wall of degrees from Ivy League schools in psychology and counseling. Certainly, listening skills and strong background in human behavior and emotions can be helpful. But think of a coach as an experienced mentor who can shortcut your learning process and help you maximize the pace in which you perform your best.
Who can most benefit from a coach? Those who acknowledge that they possess–
- Insufficient experiences or understanding of a challenge, like the kind of situations one might encounter during times of change; or
- Insufficient results even when they’re trying their hardest and doing their best.
Acknowledgement is the beginning of improvement because it demonstrates self-awareness. Self-awareness is hard to teach. Think of a person who talks nonstop. Imagine saying to that person, “Do you realize that your mouth never stops?” Perhaps your words would be met with silence and confusion. Or maybe a comeback like, “Well, that’s not true. One time I went to the dentist, and he put this thing in my mouth so I couldn’t even move my…”
In addition to knowing that you need help, be self-aware about one more thing: your ignorance. I said that self-awareness is hard to teach, but be okay with being ignorant, because ignorance is easily rectified. Ignorant isn’t synonymous with stupid. Ignorance is simply the lack of experience, whereas stupidity applies to someone who is unable or unwilling to learn from past experiences.
Why is the self-awareness about your ignorance helpful in the coaching processes? It’s about fighting the ego. A couple of years ago, I went to the doctor with a list of things to talk over with him. Later, I told a friend some of what I shared with my doctor.
“Wow! Good for you. You’re very brave for being honest,” she said seriously. “I usually lie to my doctor because I’m too embarrassed to tell her what’s really going on.”
Why bother going to the doctor if you’re going to lie? That makes no sense at all. But it dawned on me that by acknowledging and exposing myself to my doctor about my “condition” and where I wanted to be in regards to my health and wellness, I made myself vulnerable. I lowered my guard. I put my ego on the table next to my body.
When you find you lack certain life experience in any area of your life, a coach can accelerate your learning, experience and success. New job, new team, new boss? Find someone who can show you the ropes. Just move to a new town? Find a local to show you around. Planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip overseas? Make the most of it by talking to someone who has been where you’re going. Deciding to run a marathon when you’ve never even run a 5 K? Talk to someone who’s run the race before you and is willing to share insights with you.
Next up: Finding the Right Coach for You.