Coaching can be a challenging thing to describe to someone who has never experienced it. But if you are new to coaching, you really want to know and that is totally understandable. Coaching is a highly customized engagement-each session is like a snowflake - each person has different needs on different days. Recently, it dawned on me that a story from my own experience makes a great comparison to coaching.
I knew I needed to make some changes when I almost fell into the Mississippi River. I was walking along headwaters on some rocks that were obviously meant for people to walk on as whole families with young children were walking ahead of me. But I slipped and lost my balance I didn't want to fall in so I wobbled and struggled and flayed around like a fallen bird trying to take flight- hoping against hope that some muscles would kick in and save me. I was making such a scene that my husband actually backed away and starred at me along with several other people who were probably wondering how many beers were at play here. I didn't fall in but I recognized handwriting on the wall like anyone else. I had to make a change. I had gotten too out of shape. And, if I was really serious about it, I was going to need help.
The right kind of help. I've joined gyms in the past and quit them all. So, this time, I searched for the best possible match for me and my situation and I found it in a small club aptly known as The Transformation Club.
Comparison to Coaching: We all need support during our lives to make changes-especially behavioral changes. Working with the right coach will get you there in the way you need to get there. Take the time to find the right coach.
The Transformation Club required me to make a COMMITMENT right off the bat via an up-front payment. I needed this. Month to month gives me too many chances to bail. I knew it was going to be hard and based on my past experiences, I'd be tempted to quit.
Comparison to Coaching: Coaching is a commitment to invest in yourself. Working on ourselves can get hard. Hearing feedback is hard. It is tempting to quit and lock all the feelings away and stay in a place that is comfortable. But what metaphorical Mississippi River are you about to fall into?
The Transformation Club also is about INDIVIDUAL NEEDS. I have tried showing up to an exercise class at other clubs and left frustrated that I couldn't keep up with everyone else, or I noticed that I was doing it differently than everyone else because I have bad knees (and no muscle or endurance). Sometimes I would show up ready to work out and sometimes I didn’t due to a variety of physical and mental factors.
Comparison to Coaching: Coaching all about customization to you and your needs. Your coach will guide you and support you and question you no matter what the topic of the day it. A coach is there with you, beside you as a partner, an investigator, a mirror, a listener, and sometimes a teacher, holding you accountable to take new actions. The key is to be brave and show up.
When I started at my gym, they had me do some fitness assessments to so that I would have a baseline. The results were scary and I felt very vulnerable. I knew that I had very little muscle but seeing it in black and white was something else. At least I knew the direction that I needed to go.
Comparison to Coaching: Sometimes assessments are useful in coaching because they point out the areas you need to work on clearly. 360 feedback for example- can be hard and leave you feeling vulnerable. But your coach will partner with you to reflect and pause and swim around in the feedback before finding the best actions to take.
After six months at my gym, I am so much stronger. There have been tough sessions - I left more than one workout in tears in the beginning and sometimes still feel like it. But thanks to the safety and support of my trainer and coach, I felt safe to embrace my vulnerability enough to keep going back day after day and I am getting closer to the me I want to be.
And that is what your coach will do with you!
If you think that coaching might be a great way for you to get some help on your personal development, drop me a note on my profile here on Soar!