Rafael Nadal is the best tennis player in the world; Tiger Woods has been hailed as one of the best golfers of all time; yet, neither of these great champions would show up at a match or tournament without a coach. In fact, they would not even train without the presence of a coach. Similarly, you would never expect a soccer, cricket, hockey, or other sport team to train or to show up at a match without a team of coaches.
Yet, it is incredible how many people believe that they can get through life, achieving their goals, balancing all their different activities and reaching the levels of success that they truly deserve and are capable of, without any outside help or support.
So, what exactly does a coach do?
“You’re searching for something in the back of a crowded closet. It’s dark in there and you’re having trouble managing a flashlight, while moving the clutter out of your way.
Along comes someone who offers to hold the light for you, freeing you up to use both hands to find what has been eluding you. In this little story, the person with the flashlight is the coach. You, of course, are the person doing the searching and the finding”.
Having trained with the International Coach Academy and being incredibly satisfied and impressed with my experience, it is no surprise that I found the ICA’s description of coaching the best, one that clearly describes the full potential of the coaching process.
During the training with ICA, I received coaching from some wonderful coaches. The experience of being coached was life changing in many ways. I was mostly encouraged to step back and look at how I viewed things, and to reassess my belief patterns; my limits as I saw them, were often challenged, and I was encouraged to go beyond – which I found I easily did, as soon as I knew someone else believed I could.
This is where the coaching process makes a great difference. Coaching is done in a series of conversations, ideally once a week. During my own coaching sessions, the coaches would hold me accountable for any action plans that I had made during the previous sessions. This came with total support and no judgment whatsoever, whether or not I had completed the tasks. They helped me review my course and make adjustments in response to my experiences and my insights as we explored my values and needs.
Most importantly, they acknowledged every little effort I made towards achieving my goal, celebrated every milestone with me, and inspired me to aim for more.
A coach helps you clarify your vision and goals, keeps you focused, supports you through your fears, confronts your unconscious behaviors and old patterns, challenges you to test your limits, expects you to do your best, helps you live by your values, shows you how to earn more while working less, and keeps you focused on your inner genius. A coach can support you in achieving nearly any professional or personal goal, whether growing your business, losing weight or simply achieving balance in your life.
This is what I would offer to a person who wishes to be coached:
- a safe environment where they can explore and express their needs, thoughts and emotions at their own pace
- a guidance and powerful questions for self-reflection
- help to clarify their values
- a sounding board for all their ideas and to brainstorm
- a supporter who believes in them and their ability to achieve their goals
- help to plan and execute their course
- acknowledgement of their strengths and positive actions
- challenge to push their limits
- celebration of their successes
and, most importantly, the tools to motivate themselves.