by Howard Goldman
We usually seek coaching usually occurs in when
we have a crisis or when we are thwarted in attaining something
we want. In those situations, we are desperate for advice and strain
to listen for the "answer" as a balm to our current dilemma.
"You cant coach someone who doesnt have a problem"
is an old saw in consulting circles. Seeking immediate answers is
certainly our quest for coaching when we are lost in the caverns
of our "default" behavior. I call this demand need-based
coaching, and it has only incremental utility usefulness, in that
it satisfies our seeking escape from a current dilemma, yet insignificant
enduring skills are gained.
However, another prototype of coaching is a great
deal more effective. In this case, the coaching is based on a strong
relationship, one that is dedicated to improving and sustaining
performance. All world-class performers----athletes, opera singers,
and politicians---enjoy coaching relationships. These relationships
are not basically designed to fix something thats broken,
but to help you excel beyond your level of success.
A coach communicates in a way that produces opportunities
for the performer to see new possibilities. A coachs actions
are based on the commitments of the player rather than what the
coach wants for the player. The coach sees the game differently
than the critics and the casual observers on the sidelines. An expert
coach crafts their communication to expand the ability of the player
to take new and distinct actions. In selecting a prospective coach,
meet with them and review these points:
- State what you would most value from the relationship.
- Outline your intentions for reaching an important
goal and then ask what experience the prospective coach has that
they consider to be most relevant.
- Discuss how much coaching time will be appropriate
to support your efforts.
- Determine how both of you will assess the effectiveness
of the relationship. How will you know whether the coaching is
having the desired impact?
- Find out what the prospective coach thinks
are the most significant barriers you have identified to achieving
- Do you feel comfortable with this person? Are
you inspired by the prospect of working with them? Identify any
areas of sensitivity that may be relevant.
One tool that will underwrite the success of your
relationship with your coach is maintaining a coaching journal.
The primary value is to maintain a brief yet complete record or
"database" of commitments you have generated and achieved
in your work with the coach. Make it a habit to review the status
of these commitments on a regular basis.
Finally, be a student open to the world around
you is a path toward greater success and accelerated learning. Your
affirmative attitude, your enthusiasm, and your openness to receive
contributions from your environment are priceless assets. The pursuit
of your most important objective is an occasion to meet new challenges
and feel the excitement of a "beginner." Your willingness
to learn anew is an invitation to experience the curiosity and wonder
of how you create in your life. When you are fully engaged in the
daily process of designing and moving toward achievement, work and
play merge. The passion of being fully alive on a field of play
of your choosing offers its own reward.