It’s a common question. At it’s core, coaching is:
“A relationship that uses questions to accelerate insights, growth, action and change.”
— R. Sok
Coaching Empowers You To…
Coaching empowers us toward action, growth, and change. Coaching gives us the insight and tools to punch today in the face.
— Ok, but can you say more?
Coaching. The term can mean a lot of things – from someone jumping up and down screaming on the sideline of tiny tot flag football to a buttoned-up professional in a fancy office. So what are we talking about here? Great question. Let’s start with a definition and an example.
All coaching relationships have a clear and defined purpose.
In many cases the overarching purpose is framed in a way that you can always work toward it, and never completely finish it. Without sounding like a pitch for a never-ending dependence on a coach let me explain.
My purpose is to become a better runner. I’m seeking a coach to help me.
This is the exact framing my former team and training company uses, and since I just so happen to be a runner it worked for me. (credit to CoachNet Global). The irony is that so far this example could either be that screaming person with a whistle, OR a professional coach…hmmm…let’s keep going.
Next, all coaching relationships have measurable goals.
Goals with clear desired outcomes, a timeline, and measures of success. How will we know when we have reached the goal?
My goal is to run a ½ marathon in ten weeks.
(That was my actual goal in 2013, and it was more than slightly insane.)
With a clear goal in mind we have something concrete to work toward. Notice the goal fits into the larger purpose — to become a better runner. With this particular goal I chose to define “better” to mean increasing my distance to something I’d never done before.
As an aside, each week I’d say “I’ve never run this far, I’m not gonna be able to do it!.” And yet, with my running group at my side, my fears melted away with each step, mile after mile, until 3 miles became 4, and 4 became 6, and so on. This goal was not something I could have accomplished alone, at least not at the level of excellence I hit with a team beside me.
With a clear purpose and a measurable goal in mind all coaching relationships develop plans & actions.
I need a training plan. I need a nutrition plan. I need a race-day plan.
Each specific plan has actions to fulfill the plan. It gets increasingly more specific and focused as you go down the list from purpose to goal to plans to actions.
For my training plan, I need to find a running buddy, I need to pick my workouts, I need to determine when I will run, and what I need to prep the night before.
You get the idea… each plan has multiple actions that follow. In coaching, all of this comes from you – the client. The purpose is yours, and in your words. The goal is yours, and only you can change it. The plans and actions – you choose.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. A “whistle-coach” could have helped me through this particular adventure so far. But a professional coach is going to go beneath this actionable adventure and start digging into the core.
A professional coach will say,
What is important or meaningful about running? What is happening in your life that is motivating you to take this on now?
Now we’re talking far beyond the shoes I need to buy, the number of rest days vs running days, and we are talking about what is driving me to get out of bed at 5:00am and put in 5 miles before work when my normal is to hit snooze so many times I’m late for work.
My answer is simple, but personal. I had just been diagnosed with an incurable disease and was experiencing the most intense physical and emotional pain of my life. I needed something to focus every ounce of what I was made of toward. I needed a challenge I could take on and conquer. I needed something I could beat, because I couldn’t beat my disease.
Without knowing this motivation a coach could have got me to the finish line. But with this deeper connection of what was causing me to run I not only achieved my goals I grew as a person in both measurable and immeasurable ways. This experience actually did change my life. Had it been ten years earlier when it was just a cool goal, not life-changing. Because it wouldn’t have been about anything more than miles marked.
Coaching can help you accomplish goals, which sometimes is all you need. Coaching also can change your life, if you’re willing to let someone in to walk (or run) with you.
The coach draws out of you what is important, meaningful and motivating about your goals, increasing your awareness and insight. That’s the secret to accomplishing far more than you ever imagined, and unlocking your potential. “
The coach draws out, so that you can pour into your own life the awesomeness you’ve been wanting to achieve.