Time to get a coach


As noted in my amplify and reduce goals for the month, one of my habits that I want to amplify is getting feedback, and to do that this month I’m working on getting a coach.

To those that think the whole notion of coaching is maybe not necessary, or simply think that it is nice to have, I have some thoughts for you. Well, more specifically, Atul Gawande has some thoughts for you in this TED talk.

How do you get better at your craft?

Taking classes, seeking new and challenging projects, adopting new training techniques, reading books and journals, certainly all these things are necessary and part of being good, but what about being really good?

How do professionals get better at what they do? How do they get great? And there are two views about this. One is the traditional pedagogical view. That is that you go to school, you study, you practice, you learn, you graduate, and then you go out into the world and you make your way on your own. A professional is someone who is capable of managing their own improvement. That is the approach that virtually all professionals have learned by.

Now, the contrasting view comes out of sports. And they say “You are never done, everybody needs a coach.” Everyone. The greatest in the world needs a coach.

This makes so much sense I’m almost embarrassed to have let myself go without any coaching for so long. In sports, having a coach is baked into the way everything is done. Coaches should be a part of every company, every discipline, and every profession.

We all will reach a plateau at some point and it’s super hard/impossible to make it past all by ourselves.

Turns out there are numerous problems in making it on your own. You don’t recognize the issues that are standing in your way or if you do, you don’t necessarily know how to fix them. And the result is that somewhere along the way, you stop improving.

Atul Gawande got a coach and was profoundly impacted by it.

He was describing what great coaches do, and what they do is they are your external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of your reality. They’re recognizing the fundamentals. They’re breaking your actions down and then helping you build them back up again.

I’ve not yet committed to a coach but have had two “getting to know you” sessions now and can already sense how valuable this is going to be. I’ll write more about the process of selection and experience with these initial coaching sessions as the month progresses.

Sure, the coaching process isn’t going to be all fun and it often won’t be comfortable or easy, and that’s ok. I know I can’t do this all on my own and, with a coach, I don’t have to.

2 responses

  1. What is your potential coach going to coach you? Is it a fitness coach? A life coach? I have heard of these life coach people but don’t really know what they do. I think I could be an ace minimal possession coach (so long as you do as I say and not as I do!)

    1. This is “professional coaching” but it all is interrelated isn’t it? So my coach will focus on career-y stuff but also the links with life in general. I think. I’ll post about it more. 😉

Comments welcome!