Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are You Coachable?

You may have seen this movie before.

Maybe you had a front row seat.

Or maybe it was you up there on the silver screen.

Picture somebody at a career crossroads, ready to embark on a new professional adventure. The leading man or lady in this film is bubbling with enthusiasm, bursting with anticipation for what comes next. When asked by their prospective coach, "Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it?" the answer comes hurtling from their lips like a laser.


Regretfully, within a matter of weeks or months, this wide-eyed, shiny face optimism is far too often replaced by the pained expression of hopes and dreams gone sour.

"What have I gotten myself into?"

The coach and the business or endeavour once admired, respected and believed in, is now looked upon as nothing more than an additional prick in a growing number of mental, emotional and financial thorns. Blue-sky dreaming has been replaced by haunting nightmares of impending doom.

Have you ever wondered why so many business movies turn out this way?

Part of the answer lies in a clear definition of "coaching" itself.

If you were to Google the question, "What is Coaching" you will discover many and sundry answers from a wide range of professional organizations. Unfortunately, the majority of those definitions tend to be buzzword-heavy, leaving both coaches and their students to languish in theoretical la-la land.

After more than two decades of front-line, in-the-trenches coaching in both athletic and business environments, here is a definition to consider:

"Coaching is creating a safe environment for human potential to flourish, with success measured by doing your best within a process that demands complete accountability".

- Through a "safe environment", a coach ensures support is unconditional. It is the only relationship that is 100% about the player.

- "Doing your best" makes it clear the student will not be measured against the skills and talents of another.

- "Complete accountability" clarifies the role of the player in making sure tasks are taken care of.

However, you can have all the clarity you want on terms and definitions, yet one fact remains:

Certain people are simply NOT coachable.

They talk a good game, but nothing more. Nada. That's where commitment to the coaching process comes to a screeching halt.

And there is a reason for that.

Coaching is NOT therapy.

The best coaches recognized long ago, they are not there to help dig up past traumas so students and players can wallow in addictions to bad memories. The best coaches provide a road map to the future along with guidance and support, but ultimately step out of the way and let you do the work.

You could have Anthony Robbins, Scotty Bowman, Suze Orman, John Wooden, Pat Riley, Sean Payton plus the ghosts of Vince Lombardi, Herb Brooks and Knute Rockne coaching you and their efforts will prove futile unless ... you do the work.

Hollywood figured that out long ago.

Whether you are a coach or a player, do you recognize the difference between interest and commitment?

Being merely interested means doing something only when circumstances permit.

Being committed means, you accept no excuses, only results.

Will you do the work?

"It's easy to fool the eye but it's hard to fool the heart"

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