What separates chumps from champs?
Let us consider two speakers getting ready for a competition.
The two speakers practice their speeches the same amount of time, spend the same amount of time revising their speeches, and both deliver their speeches with the same enthusiasm. With all those things equal, there is one thing that separates the great speaker from good. That one thing is a coach.
Coaching is not just in the realm of sports. Coaches exist for life, business, organization, and yes, speaking. In having a coach or group of coaches in many cases, you give yourself an advantage with all other things being equal.
Because having a professional coach gives you an experienced opinion on your performance. The coach provides feedback that others might not give because of politeness or they just don’t know what to look for. A good coach gives you unabashed feedback on your performance without excess commentary or pushing you to buy another useless product.
Let’s go back to those two speakers we mentioned at the beginning of this post. Let’s now give them both coaches of equal coaching ability. What still separates the performance of the two speakers? Coachability.
You can have all the coaches in the world, but if you are not open to being coached then you will stay a chump. I have seen a lot of speakers practice, revise, get feedback, and practice more but are still unable to improve. The problem is that they get coaching, but don’t apply it to their situation.
What does it take to be coachable?
Someone who is coachable is open to feedback, listens twice as much than they talk, and puts direction into action first before saying it doesn’t work. It is not easy to be open to coaching. It takes a lot of self confidence to put your ego aside and listen to the honest feedback of another person. I know, because I have been there listening to a coach and thought, “They have no clue what they are talking about!”
But then, I changed my perception of the situation. I still struggle everyday to keep my mouth shut, listen effectively, and allow myself to be coached in all areas of my life. Is it easy No, but I know that I will be a better person if I get better at being coached.
Finding a Coach
“When the student is ready, the master appears.” ~Buddhist Proverb
Coaching is in. When looking for a coach, you can find life coaches, organizational coaches, relationship coaches, and even pick up coaches. The trend in the coaching market seems to indicate that if there is something in your life you think you need to fix, then there will be someone else willing to take on the title of “your problem” coach.
Because of the current interest in coaching, there are a lot of people willing to offer themselves up as coaches. Because there are so many people out there willing to be coaches, I would like you to consider the following when looking for a coach:
1. What have you tried already?
Many people are already doing what they need to do to be successful without having to hire a coach. I have found that most people that look for coaching have already learned most of the material they need to be successful. They don’t realize that they have all the tools they need to get done what they want to do and a coach would be nothing more than an expensive cheerleader. In that case I would recommend just doing what you want to do. Stop reading about organization, starting a business, or balancing you finances and just do it! If you realize that as you are doing it you need some help, then get a coach to help you fill in the gaps in your execution.
2. Do you really need a coach?
Are you willing to change what needs to be changed in your life to be successful? Most people are not willing to change what needs to be changed in order for them to succeed. It is the dark secret of self improvement; most people really don’t want to change. If you have not proven to yourself that you are able to change, then hiring a coach is going to be a waste of time.
3. How much are you willing to spend?
Coaching can be expensive. If you are looking to hire a coach that can help teach you do make the changes you want in your life, then you might have to spend $100 or more an hour. Because the experience that a coach has did not come easily and the coaching training they have was also expensive, so a coach has to charge a steep rate to make a return on their investment. Once you find a good coach, you will realize that the information they have, if you are willing to change, is worth the investment. Remember point two, you have to be willing to change. I don’t want people reading this to be throwing their money away when they are not going to change.
4. What do you expect to get from coaching?
A coach will not do your work for you. When you hire an organizational coach, expect them to set up a system and teach you how to use it. It will then be up to you to do the work of getting yourself organized. Being coached is a lot of work and you need to expect to put in one to three hours a day completing the tasks that your coach assigns. When you hire a life coach, expect to be doing a lot of writing, a lot of reading, and some deep hard thinking about what you really want to do with your life. A good coach is not going to tell you what to do with your life, but they will help you put the pieces of your puzzle on the floor and help you see what fits best together.
When you are able to really say, “Yes I am ready to change”, you can then expect to do well with coaching. When you really know that, and then ask yourself if you have already tried the things a coach might suggest, do you know what a coach does, and are you willing to spend the money on a coach?
If you are really still ready to be coached, then hang on, because in the next part of this series we will talk about how you can go about looking for a coach, what to avoid, and what questions to ask the coaches you will be interviewing.