We’re living in crazy, uncertain times at the moment and many of us will be feeling anxious and disconnected from our normal realities. So what can we do to motivate and ground ourselves? I would like to continue to post my usual blogs and podcasts as I think many of the themes could be helpful in challenging times, and I hope that reading/listening to them might provide you with a bit of normality in between the rolling news. So this week I’m talking about coaching.
When you think about the concept of “coaching” – what comes to mind? Does it conjure up an image of a type of teacher/student relationship? Do you imagine someone who needs help being instructed how to improve by a person with more knowledge and experience? Do you feel there is an element of “fixing” of faults and failings going on?
It’s a common myth about coaching and one that I’m keen to dispel in this blog.
Although teaching, instruction and coaching share some characteristics – there’s one major difference. In teaching, you, the “student”, are the object of the process – receiving the wisdom of the subject – the expert who is imparting their knowledge. In coaching however – finally, it really is all about you!! You are the one who has ownership, the potential, the skills. The coaching process is designed to help you unlock all this from within you. Your coach is very much a facilitator – not a teacher.
And this is why I believe coaching is so important. Having a coach is not a sign of weakness. It doesn’t mean you are failing or struggling, lacking in skills or somehow not good enough. It actually means the opposite! Coaching is about recognising your potential – and unleashing it.
The best way of illustrating this is to think about elite athletes. Why does someone as skilled and as naturally talented as Serena Williams need a coach? And what about the fastest man in world, (still!) Usain Bolt? Surely his sprinting speed was an innate physical ability? How could his older and less athletically-gifted coach really help him achieve?
The answer of course is that we’re all human. Elite athletes may seem to have superpowers, but they’re people like the rest of us with a certain (albeit amazing!) set of abilities. It doesn’t just take innate sprinting speed to produce a multiple Olympic champion – there are a whole host of other factors involved. To achieve the pinnacles of excellence, an athlete needs vision, determination, motivation, positivity, focus, resilience, perspective.. the list is seemingly endless. And yes, you’ve guessed it. This is where coaching comes into its own. The coach is there to stretch the performance of the high-achiever – not to ‘fix’ the underperformer. The coach is there to help the athlete access all these other essential attributes. The coach provides a framework of support and encouragement, helps the athlete forge a strategic path ahead, and assists them in unlocking the potential of what is possible.
THIS is the power of coaching.
So as you start to think about your goals for the future after this crisis is over, consider your own perceptions of coaching. Perhaps you are already a high achiever, but hoping to step up a gear in your law career, go for a promotion, raise your professional profile, or find a better work/life balance? Coaching could be the process that could help you stretch your innate abilities and maximise what you could achieve.
Remember – coaching is about expanding possibilities, not fixing things. A coach will help you help yourself. They will help you take responsibility for assessing your strengths, clarifying your vision, identifying your goals, taking appropriate steps, and finding your own solutions. In fact – having a coach is the ultimate in self-empowerment. It’s you who is in charge – you who has control – you who owns the ability to effect change. A coach will help you recognise and use that amazing personal power. And we’re all feeling the need for that at the moment!