Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Great Coach is… 

Several years ago, I did a bit of coaching in a business context. This was at a time when the notion of coaches and coaching was just beginning to enter the workplace; it was still a very new idea and a long way from becoming an accepted part of business practice. At the time I had visions of making a living out of it, but I had difficulty getting the concept across to people. “What’s your product? Where’s the value added? You mean we pay you large sums of money just to have a conversation about a subject in which we’re more knowledgeable than you are? No; I think we can manage without that, thank you very much. Good day.”

In that sort of context it’s easy to get drawn into the mindset of the skeptic, so to keep me focused on what it was all about, I had a set of a dozen of so card-index cards with key reminders written out on them, that I could refer to before going into a coaching situation. I still carry those cards around with me now, over ten years later. In the workplace, unfortunately it’s still quite a novelty to make your aim the success of the other person, and have no agenda about scoring points yourself. But every so often something will occur which jogs a memory of that coaching paradigm, and I’ll dig the cards out to remind myself and try to apply coaching principles.

One such reminder occurred today – only this time it was me being coached. I instantly thought of these words, inscribed on one of those cards I carry:

A great coach is:

someone who lives your commitments,
someone who remembers when you forget;

someone who has you reaching for your sky,
someone who never lets you give up on your dream;

someone who has you think and discover and create,
a stand for the possibility that you are;

compassionate and ruthless, a lovable son of a bitch
who raises the bar just when you think you can reach it;

someone who has you see what you can't see,
someone who has you be great;

someone who loves you even when you are totally unlovable;
someone who lets you be you.

That’s a rare and powerful relationship; one to be treasured.

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