The Coach’s Coach
December 20, 2021
It’s been more than eight years since, with the help of my coach at the time, I made the decision that I too wanted to pursue executive career and life coaching. It is a choice for which I remain without regret.
After pursuing requisite schooling and accreditation, affiliating with the professional coaching federation, doing what was required to set up a business, hanging up the shingle, and networking, the dividends of that investment have paid off in exponential satisfaction and engagement. It is all “pretty good.”
Pretty good. How do I go about at least sustaining that, or even taking it to a new level of pretty good, perhaps to “better,” “excellent,” or even “best?” Who is there to objectively help me to identify areas of opportunity, point out flaws in technique and form, and push me to greater or more?
The world’s most outstanding performers, be it in music, acting, or dance just about all have coaches to work with them on for sure new ideas, but just as much the fundamentals of their trades. Professional athletes have their coaches but beyond that have specialists to work with them on many other aspects of work and life: nutrition, finances, dealing with the media.
In any profession it is all too easy to fall into bad habits where we get distracted and take our eye off the ball, so to speak. Aware of these considerations it was critical for me to align with a group of other coaching professionals for not only continuing education, but for peer association. Thankfully there is a local chapter of the International Coaching Federation with whom I was able to align.
Beyond that, however, I discovered it necessary to identify a person who I could not only bounce ideas off of, but who would possess the objectivity to evaluate my approaches, techniques and processes and provide constructive feedback. As I sought out such a soul there were criteria: one whose coaching business was further developed than was mine and had a higher level of accreditation was at the top of the list. I also wanted a coach who, like me, had established their own business and understood the mechanics of the management and marketing of a solo shop. Beyond that, chief among these benchmarks was the desire for someone wiser and preferably older than me. The wisdom part would not be hard to find. Given that only 16% of the US population has been around longer than me, the age part would be more challenging.
Fortunately I aligned with such an individual. Among the markers that I have used to characterize him as an effective coach:
1. Launching a business is difficult. There is much to learn and with learning comes mistakes. Mistakes lead to disappointments and disappointments self-doubt. During those difficult periods my coach has buoyed my spirits, yet at the same time challenged me to stretch for a potential that I believed was beyond my grasp.
2. His coaching technique applies parallels and metaphors that specifically speak to me. As a fan of sports and music he uses phraseology such as “keep your eye on the ball,” “anticipate the pass,” “find your cadence,” or “strive for harmony,” that resonate.
3. He challenges me to seek continual improvement and advancement. For me, and I suppose the case is for many of us, contentment can come easily. Small businesses get to where they want to be and may coast. An executive advances to her dream job at the age of 45 and by the time they’re 50 drift towards “auto pilot.” A football team takes a four touchdown lead into the fourth quarter and moves away from their game plan. We’ve all too often seen the results. The small business stagnates. The executive finds the dream job boring and checks out. With three minutes to go in the game the once substantial lead has melted to a single touchdown.
4. Like a grip on a golf club or tennis racket or a power point presentation to a group of sales executives, our form and techniques can become sloppy unless we are grounded in fundamentals, examine our approach, and make course correction. My coach has been an accountability partner who provides an objectively encouraging voice and view.
Regardless of where you are in your business or personal life, how do you know if you’re living it abundantly? Who can you learn from? Who is the objective voice that keeps you focused and on target? Who keeps you accountable to keep the fire burning as you face the obstacles that try to prohibit you from achieving your hopes and dreams?
As we get ready to turn the calendar to a new year in a few days, how do you become your best self? Maybe this year will be the one where you do it a little bit differently and solicit a business advisor, mentor, or coach to take your “game” to the next level.
The Seed Sower