10 Reasons You Need a Coach
I cannot tell you how many times I have been told , “You will achieve more with a team than if you go it alone.” I really didn’t understand that until August 10, 2016 when my son and I climbed Mt. Elbert in Colorado. My belief has always been, I can achieve great things when people get out of my way. That day was different. it's true, you will achieve more with a team than if you go it alone.
Just as so many of my beliefs, this belief was also changed by the end of the climb that day. Most of my adult life, I have coached young aspiring athletes, my children and people who wanted to achieve more. I never even considered that at some point I would need a coach to help me get to where I want to be. I think Albert Einstein put it best when he said that it takes a different type of thinking to solve a problem than the thinking that created the problem. Simply put, I had to think differently about being coached if I wanted to make it to the top of Mt. Elbert and safely back down to the parking lot.
People who achieve great things, often get stuck along the way. Coaching plays the important role of helping people get unstuck. Intuitively, I knew what needed to be done to reach the summit, but as we made our way up the mountain it became harder and harder to follow through with what I knew I had to do. A good coach will help you focus on the things that are keeping you stuck and will help you move beyond those things. You will achieve more with a good coach than if you go it alone.
That day on the mountain I was not the coach, my son had assumed that role. It’s important to understand that he had become the coach months earlier when I said I wanted to climb a mountain to commemorate my 60th birthday. I didn’t realize the role shift until the going got tough during the climb. My son understood the vision, he understood what was at stake, and he understood what making it to the summit meant to me. When you think about it, it’s just like the player on the field, he cannot see himself in action but his coach on the sideline can. It was the same that day climbing Mt. Elbert, I could not see myself in action, but my son could.
To achieve big successes in your life you need to be able to see beyond the tunnel vision we all experience around the things we are doing. What my son did that day on the mountain was to allow me to remain tunnel-vision-focused on completing the climb. He also gave me the opportunity to keep that focus while ensuring I had a front row view of what was going on with the climb.
The following are ten things I learned about coaching from climbing a mountain:
- We were not meant to go it alone. When we go without a team or a coach we go with little direction or guidance.
- I no longer believe in the phrase self-made man or woman. For us to become our best self, we need support that will challenge us, affirm us and empower us.
- A coach can help you gain a unique view of your true self void of the values, thoughts and views of other people.
- An affective coach will never act from a position of authority. Rather, they will empower you to develop your own answers, dreams and plans.
- As a coach, my son helped me take a step back to look at my entire self not just the areas I thought needed attention.
- Throughout the climb, my son continually encouraged me to stretch the boundaries of my beliefs. I have always believed that anything is possible and that I can achieve anything I set my mind to but, it would have been easy that day to blame the weather as the reason I did not reach the summit. Being encouraged to stretch my boundaries and limits, the harsh weather never became a factor.
- Good coaching challenges you. My son called me out when I was wrong and asked more of me when he knew I was holding back. From this, I learned that while I know a thing or two, I don’t know everything.
- Good coaching affirms you. Not once did my son say, “I don’t think you will make this pops.” Rather, what I heard throughout the hike was “you have this pops.” “You’ve got it. Nothing wrong with slow and steady.” “You still have what it takes old man, so let’s see it.” His words confirmed beliefs I already knew to be true. Sometimes you just need to hear it.
- Good coaching empowers you. During our climb we gave each other advice, we shared periods of silence together and we faced our challenges together. As a result, we accomplished something that was life changing together.
- Most importantly, my son taught me that a coach needs to be compassionate, understanding and patient. He could have easily made it to the summit and back down to the parking lot in a few hours, but he never left me even when I told him to go ahead without me. It would have been easy for him to say you have had enough, reaching your goal is just not worth this much time and effort. Understanding my desire, having compassion regarding my hurt knee and having the patience to see it through to the top was the difference in us making it to the top.
The experience that day reminded me that it’s not about climbing mountains or reaching the top rather, “The quality of your life is a function of the quality of questions you ask yourself.” Can I climb a 14.440 foot mountain at the age of 60? That day reaffirmed my belief that life is good and even better when you can share special achievements in your life with others. You will achieve more with a team than if you go it alone!
To learn more about how you will achieve more with a team than if you go it alone and related topics, check out my book, Driven to Change.