Let’s pretend you just signed up for the gym
You are fed up of looking at yourself in the mirror and not liking what you see, so you decide to lose some weight, get physically fit and feel good with yourself. Perhaps you simply want to follow your doctor’s recommendation to improve your health by doing some exercise.
If you are like the rest of us, surely some of the skills you have learnt throughout your life such as planning, time management, diligence, and staying motivated will come handy in this endeavour. It’s likely that your first day will be full of good intentions; you will work yourself to death on the treadmill! You enjoy the feeling and you make sure the people close to you know you are attending the gym. There is no need to also mention the adjustment you have made to the family budget in order to afford a new sports outfit, diet and so on.
As the days go by there is a clear decrease in your motivation linked to the lack of visible results, and when unplanned circumstances come your way they often become the perfect excuse to redeem yourself from your fitness commitments.
The goal is sincere; nevertheless, you still fail to accomplish it.
I want to use this example to illustrate the point of 'why coaching?'.
Although individuals and organisations might be able to achieve extraordinary results on their own, these accomplishments become greatly enhanced by working side by side with a life, career or business coach. Know that the first obligation of an effective coach is to believe in your genuine potential and innate capability as a human being.
What does the coach do?
As Downey eloquently stated in his book Effective Modern Coaching (2014), "The primary function of the coach is to understand. Not to solve, fix, heal, make better, or be wise, but to understand. The magic is found in the process of helping the coachee understand for himself and become more self-aware, which places him in a position to make better decisions".
Now going back to our analogy, if you are one of the lucky ones, you might get to hire a personal trainer who will tell you what to do, when and how to do it, and so you might find a little more strength to carry on when adverse circumstances hit your way. By trading your money for someone else's expertise, eventually, you start to notice a six-pack coming on. Either way, is this what your inner voice was telling you? Was developing a six-pack the reason why you signed up to the gym in the first place, or once again are you getting caught up following a trend?
I completely endorse the T.S. Eliot quote found in his book Little Giddings: "We must not cease from exploration. And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we began and know the place for the first time".
Coaching does just that. An effective coach creates an environment in which the coachee can explore freely and securely.
And how is this done? This takes place by removing interferences such as fear and doubt which allows focussing on unchangeable principles and laws of nature; thus, the mind becomes sensitive to the still small voice within ourselves, a voice that whispers one’s real purpose and meaning. Consequently, our natural source of motivation kicks in.
After all, it is not adverse circumstances that dissuade us from our rightful endeavours but the way we respond to this stimulus. How many of us have not heard stories about people that exhibit an exemplary attitude against illness and then return to full activity after overcoming such a challenge?