Who Needs a Coach?

I recently watched Win Win, a movie which IMDb summarizes by saying:

Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty, who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family.

I call it a wrestling movie because, well, the star athlete mentioned above? He’s a wrestler.

There’s a great scene where the head coach and his two assistant coaches see the boy named Kyle wrestle for the first time. Kyle pins his opponent in record time using lightning fast moves and something one of the assistant coaches calls “man strength.” After the pin, the other assistant coach says,

I don’t think we can teach him anything.

And THAT is the subject of today’s blog.

As an executive coach, I’ve heard this a few times from leaders, only with a different twist–in that they often think they don’t need coaching. They may state: “I’m pretty focused and disciplined. And I know what I’m trying to do here. Isn’t coaching for people who are new or struggling?”

I think we all need a coach at different times in our lives. Why? Because I make a lot of money coaching? NO! I believe we all need a coach because coaches help us improve more quickly than we would if left to our own devices.

I divide up the IN-NEED-OF-COACHING population into two categories:

  1. Those who know they need a coach AND are ready to work with a coach, and…
  2. Everyone else.

I’m only half-joking. Actually, maybe less than half.

I’m going to say a word about “everyone else” just to get it out of the way in today’s blog post. Here’s my two cents: I don’t work with people in the second category. I mean, not for long. I’ve started a coaching relationship before with some people who told me that they needed my help, and they assured me that they were ready to work with me. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that they weren’t in that category. See if you recognize any of these people:

  • “My life is so bad right now, and once I tell you about it, you will agree that things need to change.” These people aren’t yet ready to CHANGE THINGS; rather, they want things to somehow magically “be different.” They may want a sounding board, a sympathetic ear, or maybe a friend. But they aren’t good candidates for coaching. But once they step outside of the victim mode and invest in the effort it takes to climb out, they will be ready.
  • “And then when I was two, a dog chased me down the street, and I was scared…” These people have a reason why they are where they are (or conversely, why they aren’t where they should be) . And they must tell you all of it before they can move forward. These people are stuck. They might be ready for a coach soon, but they may need to spend some time in a counseling or other therapeutic relationship first to get the validation they need to invest effort in moving forward instead of spinning wheels into the ground.
  • “Something is missing in my life. But I don’t know what.” These folks are getting warmer. Sometimes discomfort with the status quo is the catalyst for us to explore beyond What’s missing? to discover Here’s where I’m heading. Help me get there. These people might benefit from spiritual guidance to help them in their pursuit of purpose.

Do any of those people sound familiar? Hopefully, they don’t sound like you!

Tomorrow, I want to focus on the first group: Those who know they need a coach AND are ready to work with a coach.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *