Life doesn’t reward us for standing still, does it. Thankfully, we are not like some creatures who must learn to run shortly after birth to avoid being eaten. In fact, compared to any creature, humans get much more time being nurtured before being set lose “in the wild”. It’s hard to think of any creature who spends the first 18 to 20 years of their life developing under the care and nurture of their parents.
One dynamic of this longer development process is that it softens the impact of life’s challenges because our parents absorb much of the responsibility for the outcome of these challenges. Unless intentionally provided, we have few opportunities to learn, apply and reflect upon many of the hard skills and soft skills necessary for career and life success. We also spend much of the first two decades of our life taking little initiative for our own learning. During these formative years, we are receiving and creating conditioning and habits which we carry into the rest of our lives.
Life continually requires us to obtain more resources and we are also driven by our own desires to be, do or have more. take on new information, learn new procedures, and develop new skills. We can stay at the same level, but we will only get the same results. To go up, we must raise our lid.
As we saw yesterday, much education and training only begins the learning cycle. That doesn’t make it negligible, it simply means that we must take ownership of it to engage in it and make it profitable to us. Formal education and training have great value, but why is it that a person can become tremendously successful without it?
John Rockefeller shirked school at age sixteen and decided it was time to start his career. He became one of the richest men in history.
John Glenn dropped out of college to fight in WWII.
Rachel Ray dropped out of college after two years.
Steve Jobs attended only six months of college.
Mark Twain only had a minimal formal education.
Albert Einstein dropped out of high school and failed the university entrance exam.
Neither Oprah Winfrey or Ellen DeGeneres finished college.
All these people were able to take the content of their lives and turn it into the curriculum of their growth and success. That same opportunity is available to every person every day. Life is “on-the-job” training. Whether it is in marriage or family relationships, in friendships, in a work setting, in formal training or elsewhere, opportunities abound.
So, what does a coach have to do with all of this? Who needs a coach if they can just take ownership of their lives and figure it out all on their own?
The largest coaching accreditation organization in the world, the International Coaching Federation (ICF), describes coaching this way.
“Professional coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses, or organizations. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.”
A proper coach comes along side you in the learning that life offers. The coaching relationship is a designed alliance in which you and a coach are equal partners without the coach being attached to your outcomes. A coach brings no agenda to the relationship except to help you be successful in your goals.
In the learning cycle, the coach is a thinking partner in the reflection step and offers you healthy accountability in the application steps. The most valuable element is that it is happening in real time. It is current. You are not storing up information with a wish that it may someday be relevant. With a coach, you have another person’s energy and intuition to help you tap into the resources you already have to meet today’s challenges. A coach can also see some of the conditioning and habits that may be limiting you. Rather than giving you all the answers to your challenges, a coach helps you see things more clearly so you can discover those answers yourself.
Here are other benefits of coaching. (Source: ICF independent study)
Coaching maximizes potential and, therefore, unlocks latent sources of productivity.
Building the self-confidence of employees to face challenges is critical in meeting organizational demands.
Return on Investment
Coaching generates learning and clarity for forward action with a commitment to measurable outcomes. An independent study showed the vast majority of companies (86%) say they at least made their investment back.
This week I received the following endorsement from one of my coaching clients.
“Rick is an excellent Performance Coach who has helped me to increase my results in my professional and personal life. Rick delivers clarity and has helped me to see things that I was not seeing in certain beliefs about myself and my performance. I highly recommend that you connect with Rick if you are looking for highly skilled Coach to help you to perform at higher levels.” Michael B.
A Word of Caution: As you may have noticed, I often use the term, Life Strategist, as a title. I do this because it best describes the overall service I provide through Leaders Fuel. Coaching others through a process of life transformation is what my heart beats for. It is what the content of my life and character and my formal training have prepared me to do.
As I am sure you have seen, there are a plethora of idiots out there with the self-appointed title of “coach” but zero understanding of the coaching process. Here is the quickest way to spot them within the context of a coaching relationship. They are quick to tell you what to do. What you need from a coach is not their advice or their “expertise” in your business or life. You are the expert. A proper coach will help you understand that better.
There is more to finding a proper coach. Tomorrow, I will share key presuppositions a coach believes about you and how coaching differs from other interventions.