When was the last time you had a coach? In high school or college sports? When you were beginning your career? Maybe never?
I've recently worked with several coaches. At first I found the relationship difficult. They would tell me to do something that I didn't want to do, or was difficult. I argued that their ideas wouldn't work. I wouldn't be able to do it. I'd fail. Then I'd beat myself up.
Finally, with my health and fitness coach, June Anderson, owner of Fitness For Success, I realized that my way hadn't worked, so why was I arguing with her? After all, I'd hired her to help me accomplish what I hadn't been able to achieve on my own. Although I knew what to do, I wasn't doing what I knew consistently enough to produce the results I wanted.
As adults we have mastered certain skills in our work and life, but there are still areas in which we know we're not competent. It was difficult, yet helpful, to think of myself as a beginner in areas in which I didn't yet have mastery. For example, June told me to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. I had been drinking zero glasses a day. When I drank four glasses I felt bloated and water logged. I tried to convince her that six to eight were too many. She didn't listen. We started with two as my goal, then when I was drinking two, we moved to three, then four. I still don't drink eight glasses every day, but I'm a lot closer than I was.
June knew when to ignore my protests. Gently yet firmly she urged me along with what seemed like simple-to-apply suggestions, yet they were hard for me to actually do. She saw my capabilities beyond what I saw.
I was rarely exercising more than once a week. My goal in the beginning was to exercise three times a week. I didn't see how I could do it. I hated exercise. I was busy traveling. I was busy fulfilling projects for clients. Now I exercise much more than before. She coached me to go beyond what I thought was possible.
I felt embarrassed that I needed a coach to help me do things I already knew I should be doing. "After all," my ego reasoned, "I'm a professional who runs a successful company, has written several books, and is in demand around the country. Why should I need a coach to get me to drink eight glasses of water? How ridiculous. I should be able to do this on my own."
The parallel to my own work struck me. In my presentations I remind people to do what they already know to do, but they aren't doing it. My audience members are intelligent, accomplished individuals who aren't doing what they know to do. I realized that I help them make commitments to follow through, to act upon the ideas we discuss.
Now I embrace the chance to be coached. I know that even Joe Montana and Steve Young have had throwing coaches, and Jerry Rice, a catching coach. They didn't say, "Hey, I'm at the top of my game. I don't need anyone to tell me how to do what I do best." Their attitude is "Help me get just a few more yards out of a throw," or "Help me leap higher to catch this one."
It's not easy, but I think coaching is essential to being your best. Be willing to be a beginner toward mastery.
© 1996 Morgan Seminar Group
Rebecca L. Morgan, CSP, is a dynamic speaker and seminarist. She is the author of four books, TurboTime: Maximizing Your Results Through Technology, Calming Upset Customers, Life's Lessons: Insights and Information for a Richer Life, and Professional Selling. For information on her speaking services, books, and tapes contact her at 1440 Newport Ave., San Jose, CA 95125, 408/998-7977, 800/247-9662, fax: 408/998-1742, rebecca@RebeccaMorgan.com, www.RebeccaMorgan.com. Please contact Rebecca for permission to reprint or repost this item.
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