I just finished watching an episode of “The Biggest Loser”. It was the first show of the season, and we were introduced to 16 overweight people. They all knew they were overweight, that’s why they were there. Further, many of them had been trying to loose weight for a long time. They just hadn’t been successful.
Why not? All of them seemed to know the dangers–many of them were experiencing health issues. So, why haven’t they been successful? They must not be motivated. They must be lazy. They must not really want to be healthy.
The same thing is true with many people struggling to move forward in their careers or with change in general. They know what steps they need to take (its all right here in my head–wink). Still, they don’t make any progress. Why not? They must not be motivated. They must be lazy. They must not really want to reach their goals.
Rarely are any of these things the reason. The problem is that the deck is stacked against us. Humans are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break. Habits are efficient. They take very little energy to keep doing, and a lot of energy to change. Further, we humans are notorious for overestimating our strengths and underestimating our weaknesses. Without some sort of outside help, most of us will believe our skewed view of reality and struggle to make progress. After struggling and seeing little if any success, many will give up thinking we just don’t have what it takes.
Just like the staff on the Biggest Looser, a good coach will hold you accountable to your plans, provide support, offer suggestions, give critical feedback, and provide an outside view of your situation. They will cheer for you, challenge you, and stretch you. They will help you accomplish much more than you would by yourself. When you do succeed, they will also help you celebrate your success.
Huddle up. Here are a few thoughts about how to find a coach.
I would encourage everyone who can, to seek out a certified, professional coach. Having worked with several over the course of the past couple of years, I can say their tools, process, and experience can help move you forward very quickly. It is worth it. One of the quickest ways to find a professional coach is to use the International Coach Federation’s Coach Referral Service. It is free and easy to use.
However, not everyone will have the resources to work with a professional coach. I didn’t at first. In that case, if you know someone who is willing to work with you on your agenda, hold you accountable for your goals, and give you honest feedback (rather than what they think you will want to hear), ask them. If your friend is unsure of how to be a coach, you can offer them the following three resources. All of these are from the authors of Change Anything and Crucial Conversations.
Finally, whether you are preparing to work with a professional coach or a trusted friend, you need to remember three things. First, when looking for a coach, shop around, interview, and check references (okay maybe you won’t need to check your friend’s references). This will be an important relationship and you will want to make sure you find a coach that is right for you. Second, you are responsible for the agenda and the results. The coach or mentor is a sounding board, a resource, and a second pair of eyes and ears. They can help but any work that needs to be done belongs to you. Third, working with a coach is an investment. Whether you are paying your coach or not, you will need to spend significant time and energy to accomplish your goals. You will only get out of it what you put into it, and if you don’t give your best effort you are wasting your time and your coach’s.
So, do you need a coach?…
I can’t hear you!!…
You can do better than that!!…
Now get out there, find a coach, and get started!!Image Credit: http://www.personalizationmall.com/Personalized-Stainless-Steel-Coach-Whistle-p7134.prod