The Value of a Coach

Coach hug

Last week I discussed “4 Reasons It’s All About You”.  And, it still is.  Nothing has changed.  However, understandably not everyone can determine the right path to their goals on their own.  Enter the coach.

Recently I read the book “Aspire” and it is a chapter dedicated to the word coach. According to the book, and I agree, coaches are meant to carry someone from where they are to where they want to be, much the same way a sensei, guru or tutor would.  The very best coaches are at the top of the learning curve and are teachers.  They are leaders now but once, and hopefully still, learned to follow.  It doesn’t matter if it’s football, math or improving your body in some fashion.  A quality coach will help you.

For the average person there are a few reasons people hire a coach.  First, because you don’t know what to do.  The gym can be intimidating.  There can sometimes be so much equipment, how could you possibly even know where to start?  Second, you have some experience training, a solid idea of what proper technique looks like but are looking for someone to perhaps take a different look at what you have been doing and guide you in a similar or perhaps even different direction.  Another is that some people want to take the thought process completely out of the situation.  Kind of like, “just tell me what to do.”  And finally, coaches see potential.  Not necessarily in who is going to be great or not great, but more in the sense, “If you don’t believe in yourself, that’s ok, because I do.”

All of these scenarios are acceptable.  After all, it’s still about you.  I think the important thing to consider is, in any of the above scenarios, are you learning and are you getting better?  And by that I mean, adding weight to the bar, completing more reps and getting closer to your goals?  I believe there is a big difference between, in the words of legendary coach Vern Gambetta, getting tired and getting better.  A coach should be offering you a learning and teaching experience often, versus an ass kicking.  An ass kicking might feel like you accomplished something but the real success lies in the long term process and consistency.

Of course there’s always exceptions.  There’s no question that some people are less in need of a coach.  They can read a book, listen to audio or simply watch some videos and dramatically improve their skills in anything.  My experience is that most people don’t excel by learning that way and/or lack the discipline to do so.  If you are one of those people then congratulations.  If not, consider the value of a coach.

Finally, if you are a coach, ask yourself, what value do you bring?  Are you changing lives?  Are you making yourself better regularly?  Have you changed anything in the last 5 years or are you stuck in the old mindset of, that’s the way we’ve always done it?  You should not be expected to know everything, and trust me you don’t.  However, it is helpful to have a team or network in place so that you can offer more value to those that look to you as a someone who can take them where they want to go.

– Mike Baltren