People become coaches for many different reasons but there is only one good reason and it is the reason that separates good coaches from the rest. Maybe you become a coach because it looks fun (it certainly can be) or because it looks like an easy way to make a living (it most certainly is not). For some it’s an escape, for others an ego trip. None of these are good reasons to start coaching, you won’t last very long or be very effective if that’s your motivation.
Clients hire you for one reason only: they want a change in their lives. They come to you expressing interest in improving their fitness but deep down they are hoping that reaching their fitness goals will transform their life in a more meaningful way. And it can! As a coach you have the opportunity to change a person’s life. And that’s what we’re about at Empower, we will settle for no less.
When your client comes to you they are feeling stuck, walled in by limitations they hope that you will help them break through. They have sold themselves stories about what they are or are not capable of. You, the coach, cannot buy the stories they are selling. You must look beyond to the potential locked deep inside that they don’t even suspect they possess.
Your client came to you seeking change but the road to change runs through discomfort. They’re entrusting you to guide them safely through that discomfort to the other side where the person they’ve dreamed of becoming awaits. They will, of course, resist you because we all flinch in the face of discomfort. They will question you because deep down they have doubts that they can ever really achieve the ideal they have set for themselves. They will complain, argue, reason, rationalize, anything to avoid the discomfort of transformation. The limiting beliefs they’ve cowered behind for so long must die in order for them to become who they really want to be and the ego will fight to resist death.
They may at times fear you or hate you for pushing them beyond where they believed they could go, that is until they love you for the transformation once they break through to the other side and discard the self-defeating stories that have held them back for so long. It won’t be easy, it won’t be comfortable. You will empathize with their struggle, you’ll grit your teeth at every hard-fought effort, you’ll be tempted to relent. But you must stand firm. For their sake, you must be relentless.
Because coaching isn’t about being comfortable or making friends, it is about making a difference. It is about making change possible. And not just superficial, aesthetic changes but deep and lasting changes. You must learn to endure the moments when they hate you and look past the struggle of the moment to the transformation that awaits. The pain is the flame that burns away the make believe limitations clearing a path to new possibilities.
Coaching should never be easy, it should never be comfortable. If it is, you are not coaching, you are cheer leading. Never seek agreement. If you are coaching well, you will meet resistance as you separate your client from their excuses and push them to a higher level of excellence. They may curse you for it in the moment but if stand firmly to your purpose, they will love you for it in the end.
You do not need to be a bully or be cruel about it. You can coach with love and compassion. But even in gentleness be firm and unyielding.
In time your clients will look to you with awe wondering how you alone recognized the potential that even they did not know they possessed. They’ll remember that you believed in them when no one else, least of all they themselves, did. They’ll remember in their moment of victory that you stood witness utterly unsurprised by the heights they reached as if you knew all along that they would. Because you did. You knew that greatness lay within just waiting to be revealed.
The pursuit of excellence is never easy. Change is never comfortable. Effective coaching requires real, sincere commitment to your client. It requires a clear, unwavering vision of unseen, unexpected possibilities. That’s why effective coaches are revered by their clients. It’s because they coach for the right reason. And there is only one right reason.