Jedi Mind Games We Play
It’s funny that when we think about great performers, we are not surprised to learn they almost universally employ great coaches. Even so, those great performers aren’t Yoda and their coaches aren’t Obi-Wan. Great performers…and their coaches…are just as human as you. Which means you might be a great performer yourself, with the help of a coach. Why not?
We see it all the time in the world of sports. Pick your favorite game and player, and chances are they’re using a coach. We’ve seen it–and see it–in boxing (Mohammed Ali), golf (Tiger Woods), the NFL (gobs of coaches on all teams), NBA, soccer, archery, bicycling, power lifting, American Ninja, etc. The very best competitors use a coach so that they become the very best competitors. It’s so expected now, it’s a shocker when an athlete doesn’t use a coach. Soon after dropping their coach, the decision becomes painfully clear when they’re no longer as competitive. Even switching coaches carry a significant risk for the athlete.
Less obvious is the number of high performing business and academic leaders who use a coach. But they’re out there.
Simply put, the reason high-performers use a coach is to help them perform even higher.
And Then There’s Everyone Else
What’s not so funny is that when we think about ourselves, we’re shocked at the idea of using a coach. “I’m not the coaching type. It isn’t for me,” we say, as if we’re made out of lesser quality material. The strangest thing of all is that those high-performers weren’t always high-performers. But we tend to idealize them to such a degree that we decide they’re not like us.
Of course, they’re like us. Coaching is just as relevant for you as for any high achiever. What makes them more exceptional than you currently are is that they use a coach. Sure, some of them might be naturally more gifted than you are but that doesn’t make them somehow better than you. What makes them more successful is that they’re not depending only on what they currently know and do habitually to propel them forward. What got them here won’t get them there.
High-performers use a force-multiplier to maximize their gifts, talents, and skills. Which anyone can. Coaching simply shortens the process of evolving from who we are now to who we want to be.
Still, people come up with all sorts of reasons for not using a coach…yet. Even CEOs who freely admit they want coaching! With only a few exceptions, people make decisions about coaching based on inaccurate assumptions or insufficient information. They allow their lack of knowledge to excuse themselves from using a critical force-multiplier: a business or life coach.
Let’s investigate 10 reasons why they finally do. Before we do we must clear up some stinking thinking. People who engage a coach are forward focused and committed to progress. That’s why using a coach is a sign of strength and purpose, not weakness.
10 Reasons Coaching Isn’t For Sissies
- Breakthrough: High performers are not sissies. Their passion for excellence routinely pushes them past the universal desire for comfort. In my experience as a coach, this is always a reason–if not the reason–entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and “normal” people that want more from their lives engage a coach. They have reached their natural potential. They know they can’t work harder or more hours to reach a new level. Chances are they already are working more hours than everyone else, and as hard as they know how to, but they’re still not seeing the progress they want. Or worse, they feel things sliding or have evidence of diminishing progress.
- Overcoming: Closely tied to seeking breakthrough, there is often something holding people back from their desired breakthrough. Sometimes people can identify and name the issue or habit holding them back, but not always. Each of us is an aggregate of our behaviors, beliefs, aspirations and fears. And we’re often so close to the problem we can’t see it. A good coach can.
- Motivation: Everything moves now at the speed of thought. It really drains our energy trying to keep pace with it all. When it gets in the way of our motivation, intervention is called for. Self-intervention? Um, no.
- Reducing gaps: Ever find yourself wondering how it’s possible for your goals and your reality to be so far from each other? You are not alone. So very not alone. We are wired to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results, it seems. Yeah. It’s kind of sad. Einstein said that behavior is the definition of insanity.
- Adaptation: Let’s say your professional life is going along better than you expected. Great, in fact. Your last promotion put you in charge of a team/project/district/region/big-thing-you-were-hoping-for. But you know that the chops that got you this far aren’t sufficient to propel you through this new level. Can you afford to take your time adapting your skill set to the increased responsibility?
- Communication: A moment ago we agreed that the pace of life and business feels like it’s beyond manageability. Most days it’s hard just to hold on. Except holding on isn’t enough. Managing communication flow isn’t enough. Only finding a new gear and greater horsepower will be.
- Leadership: Ultimately, achieving higher levels of success almost always means increasing our levels of leadership. But assuming that the leadership skills required to forge a highly functioning team of 6 will do the trick for a team of 60 or 600 or 60,000 will bring pain. But assuming that leading a team of 60,000 is 1,000 times harder than leading 60 is even more painful.
- Impact & influence: Similar to the need to deepen our leadership skills, people seek out a coach to expand their impact and influence. Often this involves leaning into an entirely new venture. Perhaps a successful CEO wants to finally write that business book they’ve been planning on for years. Or the young entrepreneur, running her marketing company from startup to best-in-class, wants to share her story with other women as an inspirational speaker.
- Accountability: Left to our own habits and impulses we tend to do what’s easy. Or, at least, easier than what’s really hard. Come on, be honest. Many of our coaching clients say they need “an accountability partner.” Who will challenge you to change those keystone habits necessary for sustainable growth? Accountability is essential.
- Integration: The chances are that because you are reading this you are already accomplished. In fact, you’ve reached levels of success and goals met that other people admire you for. That’s great, of course. But you know there’s more you want to do. Your bucket list isn’t all scratched off. Integrating the areas of achievement with your still-beckoning goals typically means engaging many of the preceding 9 points. This is full-bodied living, acknowledging the many resources you already have even as you strive to grow fully into your purpose. Growth occurs at the edges of your comfort zone.
It costs nothing to discover what receiving coaching can do for you. In your initial conversation, you and the coach explore together whether you have a good fit between your vision for growth and their experience. Your conversation should be fun (and free). You shouldn’t feel pressure. However, you should be inspired and be challenged to take steps. Been thinking about working with a coach? Stop thinking. Do something about it.
Been thinking about working with a coach? Stop thinking. Do something about it.
Engage here. Leave a comment below.