The Role of the Coach
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
– Abraham Lincoln
Trust. Honesty. Commitment. Follow-through. Presence.
Note: coaching is extremely rewarding. I’ve had the pleasure of being coached by some of the best. Being witness to a stellar example makes implementing those techniques in my practice that much easier. Below are thoughts that arise when I think of coaching, as applied to fitness and lifestyle. Having guided so many through this process, I feel it can be beneficial for the client to visualize the experience before it ever occurs. Call it a preparation for success if you will.
Onward and Upward,
What makes coaching work? Simple. Accountability. More specifically an accountability to other(s). If I’m concerned about letting someone down I’ll do a little more, go a little longer, and work a little harder. I can feel their eyes on me. Their smile of approval or words of encouragement exist in spirit as much as in presence. Feeling good? Let’s go deeper… harder. Feeling tired? Let’s ease up, regroup, shorten, or decrease intensity to find momentary balance.
A good coach will build you up and problem solve with you. The human connection increases the feeling of satisfaction. Positive talk and encouragement become rarities as we age. Relying instead on self-talk to begin, persist, and complete what is required of us. Don’t get me wrong, this will always be required of you, in some way, but as your only point of reference and source of motivation, it can be exhausted quickly.
A good coach is an example of right-practice. His life aligns with his message. Not only is he a coach, but he is also a student, valuing the role of a coach in his life. The relationship (coach-client) is symbiotic. One does not exist without the other. They grow together. They learn together. To teach well, the coach must be first a good student… a voracious “learner.” Without students the teacher cannot mature his practice.
Note: professionals with heavy scientific backgrounds will function in a prescriptive manner. Progression is viewed as a step-wise process. Something linear. Predictable. The targets are quantitative. This coaching-teaching relationship is a requirement in one-to-many scenarios (group environments). The problem with this scenario is that the physical activity is harnessed as a mere “tool” to achieve an outcome. Consciousness in each movement (moment) is thus devalued in favor of completion (the whole). However, when taught the power of the physical, it’s necessity to achieve wholeness of being must be consciously understood. It is methodical. Success is not mere completion. Completion is a part of the process which appears eventually in the present.
To grow stronger and endure more requires continual utilization of the method. Keeping accountable to the movements, respecting their power to permit experience. A good coach prescribes repetition with heightened attentiveness. Engaging the mind to extend duration, thus exposing you to new levels of discomfort.
A good coach informs you when you are succeeding. He “points-out” or rewards behavior (not perfection) to increase confidence, promoting positive association with future application (via repetitions). Accountability occurs in the present. Once shown the way, you simply need to engage in the process in preparation for the future. The process answers the question. With continuation comes demonstrated improvement. Capability. Competence. When you see and feel the changes, the consequence of your persistence, the once difficult matter of choice is removed. One way is presented. Only one path is lit. Much of what happens, is earned or achieved, is a product of accountability. The coach, your true compatriot, smiles upon you, noticing what you’ve become, and pondering where it is you are yet to go. Just the thought of his investment in your well-being and success should drive you to do your best, making the right choices, bringing enthusiasm and eagerness to each opportunity to learn and grow.