Are You a Coach?

I think at one time everyone has to be a coach. At work. At play. On the sidelines cheering on your friends or loved ones. We need coaches. Let me rephrase that, we need better coaches. Coaching is not something you can just pick up and be for someone or see in someone if you don’t know what to look for.

I love coaches and I love coaching. I want to connect a little with that in this post. It relates in two ways to your resolutions and goals. If you are the person going for the goal of your life you need a great coach. This post may help you find the right one to have in your life. If your the coach helping that person, this post can help sharpen your effectiveness in coaching.

Most of us when asked what a coach is would probably say it’s the person that gives us advice along the way and tells us what to do. We couldn’t be more wrong. The best coaches in the world are ones that spend more time guiding then telling. They prioritize empowering more than advice giving.

The best coaches know it is not about them, but the person with their posturing. You need to listen well and guide more. My worst experiences with coaches where the ones where they had to put themselves on the platform as the subject expert and had to let you know they were. The best coaches I’ve had in my life met me where I was and helped me dig.

When I think about what some of the best I’ve studied and experienced had, empowering coaches are my favorite. Most of the most empowering moments I’ve had with them where informal in setting, not some rigid formal meeting with an agenda. They worked side by side with me, met me where I was in the mud and grit doing almost the same things I was. The focus for a coach that empowers is developmental in posturing their skills, not performance. Performance is not where we begin, its still important.

“Coaching for development is about the turning of the focus from the issue to the person dealing with the issue, the person who’s managing the fire.”

To get the opportunity to coach or for you to decide your talking to a good coach they often ask specific questions:

What’s on your mind? And, what else? Where are you stuck? What are you doing about it or what are you doing differently? How can I help?

The coach really doesn’t talk about themselves at all. They focus completely on the person and try to pull as much of the opportunity as possible out of the person. Again, great coaches listen more than they talk. The goal is always to empower the person, not show them what you can do or have learned in your own experience. To empower them to deal with theirs.

Sometimes you can get stuck into a venting session. It’s important to bring it back to the focus. Simply asking again what the real problem or challenge for them is will bring it back. A good coach will control the fire and bring the discussion back to the main challenge or goal.

Good coaches will work towards your wants and needs. People are always driven by wants and needs. The ones that usually surface the most for wants and needs are:

  • Affection
  • Creation
  • Recreation
  • Freedom
  • Identity
  • Understanding
  • Participation
  • Protection
  • Subsistence

Putting the person’s wants and needs front and center with some focus questions really helps you manage the fire better. The coach loves to check in with the person often. It keeps the issue clear and helps earn trust as you navigate their emotions along the way.

“You want your people to feel that working with you is a place of reward, not risk.”

A great coach makes room for the person to learn. This isn’t always easy to accomplish and most of the time the person feels there isn’t a space to do that. People learn more when they can be helped to recognize spaces for reflection. It’s what makes the coaching stick and the coach will often ask what stuck from the learning or moment.

Coaching as I said above isn’t about preaching or parenting the person. There are times where I’ve been the coach and I wanted to blurt out the answer or slipped doing just that. It’s not coaching. A good coach holds their tongue.

Keeping your focus as a coach on just asking questions is a skill. They’ll ask the right kinds of questions because they’ll have been listening. Simply asking more “what” kind of questions versus “why” questions is an easy way to accomplish this. A good coach will also avoid asking rhetorical questions.

One of the best elements in you accomplishing the behavior modification you desire this year with your resolution, is a solid coach. Knowing what one is for someone else and what one might be like for yourself is a great addition to your game plan to be your best self this year. Trying to accomplish it all by yourself will take much longer and put you at risk of quitting prematurely.

Thanks for reading! Hope you had a great week. Time to reflect and think about what you want to be different and what you can do about it next week.

✌🏻 Shawn

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