“It is not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up..”
This quote sums up what coaching is about and the difference a coach can make in one’s life. A coach is like a “speaking mirror” that challenges us to hear and face things we usually are reluctant to acknowledge. He is that invisible force that steers us gently yet firmly in the direction of fulfilling our destiny.
I started my career as a Corporate Professional after following a typical education path of Engineering with an MBA and gave many years of my life to this part of my life journey. Like my many other business friends and colleagues, I also faced everyday challenges in work ranging from struggling to juggle work home expectations, sales target stresses, office dynamics, etc. I was resigned to the situation and was dredging along with till one fateful day a “Transformation Coach” was invited as part of the HR initiative by my last company. This coach was supposed to address us on the concept of “Inner Transformation.” I have never been a fan of such big fancy words as they were always were a big turn off for me. Unfortunately, I had had no option but to attend the workshop as it was mandatory to do so for all the managers. I still remember vividly on the day of the session that I took a seat right in the back, intending to skip out whenever possible or at least be as inconspicuous as possible while catching up on my sleep.
However, just a few minutes into the discussion, I was jolted awake by something the gentleman mentioned on the stage. He talked about how the solutions to most of our perceived problems were already there inside us, and all it required was being mindfully aware of them and our inner potential. He shared a few examples to support his statement, which resonated entirely with my spiritual learnings. That triggered the floodgates of emotions and sentiments, making me aware of a completely new possibility. As that enlightened soul rightly observed that most of the time, the solution already existed within us. The challenge was to have someone as our sounding board who could guide and handhold us while deep dive inside our being to find the answers. He would not be afraid to challenge our beliefs and assumptions and work with us as equals without having any hidden agenda. That, in other words, is the fundamental of coaching. Since any critical behavioural gaps are self-identified, it makes the whole process exciting and acceptance to change easier with a too high level of ownership and commitment – so essential for self-improvement. The concept was so simple yet so powerful that I embraced it entirely by initially having my coach and then becoming a coach, investing my time and effort towards Springboarding the future of many deserving and discerning people.
Many times, people ask me about my role as a coach since there still exists a lot of ambiguity and confusion of who/what exactly a coach is and how he can add value to our work and life.
In simple words, a coach is a straight shooter who works with a single objective of making you discover your answers through the process of self-awareness and empowerment. However, the best definition I ever read was by Tom Landry, a legendary NFL coach who said that “Coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be”
Rhonda Byrne, the author of the inspiration book, The Secret, states that “You are the one who calls the law of attraction into action, and you do it through your thoughts.” You have the potential to make things work for you, and it is only you who can start channelizing the power of positivity to build a better life for you. A coach will try to handhold so that you can call upon the “laws of attraction” to work for you!
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as a partnership – like a handshake between the coach and the client. This relationship is more about being equals, with the coach working as a peer to facilitate the coachee to discover his potential through a thought-provoking and creative process. For coaches, it is all about helping people to improve their outlook on work and life and unlocking their potential. In a nutshell, sort the person out, and the problem will sort out itself. As Lao Tzu famously stated, “Know yourself, and you will win all battles.”
Example – Take the scenario of sports – the Indian cricket team, for example, has a head coach. It does not mean that the team players are less skilled or learned in the game than the coach. But, owing to the coach’s presence, the team works as a cohesive unit with players able to excel in their areas. Coach is that glue that can make a good team stick together and fill the gaps between people to achieve the greatness they were always capable of achieving.
I go by this quote from Tony Robbins, one of the top life coaches today and writer of the book, Awaken the Giant Within, “If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can.”
When I decided to become a coach, it was a conscious decision to contribute in my small ways to make a big difference in someone else’s life. I could have done so in various ways – by becoming a trainer, a teacher, a guide, and so on. A coach’s success lies in others’ success, and that single belief prompted me to become a coach. if we want to excel or ‘get to our best,’ we need to tap our hidden potential! Here is where a coach comes into the picture. We all are gifted but very few open the package. It is the coach who helps in unwrapping our true self thus ensuring a higher living.
One another factor I realized that no one wants to be coached except for a minuscule percentage. Realizing this is an awakening; if you can do it yourself, there is nothing like it. Most people need others to tell them this – that is why a coach first checks internally and assess how open you are to change. The coach is a facilitator who will work with you and alongside you to accelerate your performance, be it your career goals, managing your relationships, or as fundamental as helping you find the real reason for existence. It can only be possible by having full faith and confidence in your coach and being open to learning with complete honesty and humility. There needs to be a devotion towards the coach like Arjuna had for Sri Krishna, the most incredible and most inspiring coach of all time. Krishna beautifully sums up the characteristics of an ideal coachee:
“man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo ‘si me”
“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”
And time is of the most significant essence – the most scarce resources of all. Wake up on your own or let a trained coach help you do so. Follow what Bruce Lee had to say, “If you truly love life, don’t waste time because time is what life is made of.”