Coaching has been present to us since antiquity in various forms
Mentors and teachers have appeared in the pages of history since Ancient Greece to Renosaince all the way to the modern days. I love reading historical texts about Plato and his mentor Socrates. Or Alexander the Great and his mentor Aristoteles. Or Odysseus having the Goddess of Wisdom Athena as his mentor. In one form or another, coaching has been present throughout the routes of mankind and we know about this because the people that had coaches or mentors were usually (if not always) very successful in what they did.
What does prove us?
It proves that no matter how successful, smart and wise we are, we must be humble and acknowledge that there is always something to learn. There is always someone that has thought of something that we haven’t. Plato’s “Republic” is an attribute to his mentor Socrates and survives until today.
Was Plato a full for having Socrates as a mentor? Or was Alexander the Great a full for having Aristotle as a mentor? Definitely not! They were very smart and wise, but they understood that no matter how succsessful we can be, we can only benefit from a mentor.
In modern days, the role of the mentor or teacher or coach has taken many forms
Especially in the digital world, the role of a coach becomes even more vague because we have to put our trust in a foreigner in order to teach us what we want to do. We chose a coach based on many factors, credentials, testimonials (but mostly social proof and references). Then we pay a ton of money and expect *magically* to know what the coach knows and have the same results as the coach. But as the saying goes:
The master has failed more times that the student has ever tried
When it doesn’t work as we expect, we get disappointed and we blame the coach for not having the same success as them. This is a trap many smart entrepreneurs are falling daily and unfortunately, this is giving a shady tone to the essence of coaching. Fake coaches that promise the world are confirming this further and we find ourselves trapped in an ocean of information not knowing where to start or what to do next.
This is a big problem because we’re wasting our time and money without accomplishing anything but I have the solution
Before I share it though, I’ll share a personal story with you as I like to connect the events that drove me to the realization and the decision to write about it.
I recently hired a coach to help me out with my posture. Working on a desk for years has left its scars on my back and my posture isn’t exactly optimum. Even if I’ve been working out here and there, my situation seemed only worse. So I decided to seek professional help. I did me research, found one of the best coaches in the field (at least according to his credentials and references) and I booked an appointment and visited him the same day.
We started talking and he was asking spot-on questions to me. I like direct people without too much fluff. I didn’t ask for the price of his service because, to be honest, I don’t care. Keep that in mind. When you are offering services that people want, they don’t mind paying as much as needed (in reasonable frames always) for services they need. I was about to find out by myself if his service would be worthed or not. I always give people a chance to prove what they’re worthed.
As one of my first mentors used to say “Let me see you how many fish you can grab”
Among the questions I was asked about the situation of my back, the coach asked me that I have to see him 3-4 times per week wich is crazy on my schedule. But when I decide to do something I have found that either I do it the best I can or I don’t do it at all. This was a lesson I got by reading the book “The four Agreements”
I said yes and two days later we started working. When we stared I realized immediatelly that he was standing up to my expectations. He was not allowing me to bounce from difficult exercises and was encouraging me to go forward. Great job in any direction.
Being happy with the work that was being done, I continued to go there for 2 and a half weeks before the aha moment came to life. To be honest, I was doing all the exercises but the result was not yet obvious. I still had pains in my back. So I was starting to have doubts, maybe I was wasting my time and money without really making a difference.
At some point, while we were working out, my coach had to pick up a phone call and he told me to continue with my exercise. So he left me alone. What did I immediately do? I stopped! If***ing stopped.
Do you remeber the days we were kids in school and the teacher would leave the class resulting in total chaos from the students? And this was the moment I realize that the reason I was not having results, was not because my coach was not doing a good job. He was doing an excellent effort but I wasn’t!
I had somehow given the responsibility to “fix” my back to him. So, (obviously subconsciously) I was stepping out of responsibility and expecting results on my back from the work done by another person (my coach). As ridiculous as it sounds this is the same thing we do with coaches we hire for our development, personal or business. We hire them because they have the knowledge to help us and they have walked the path we want to follow but as soon as we decide to hire them, we think that because we pay them, they should provide the results that we need.
It doesn’t work that way!
We must take responsibility and do what our coach teaches us and even more. In fact, the work we should do must be the 80% of the work needed and the coach must only provide advice on the mistakes that we do and enlightened our path to the next level.
When my coach came back from his phone call, I told him my thoughts. I told him that the realization I had (which of course seemed obvious to him) was that I wasn’t doing a good job because I had given him full responsibility for the results I was expecting.
Joking, I told him “In my mind, it’s like I’ve lended you my spine and expect you to fix it and give it back to me as good as new“. We were laughing and he said that unfortunately he sees this all the time and he tries to explain his clients that they’re not cars that you lesve st the shop for fixing, and that they have to do a lot of work on their bodies, but very few do the required work with very few people having the results they were expecting.
You don’t need a better coach, you don’t need a better mentor
What you need to do is to take responsibility and do the work that the coach you’re working with tells you to do. You already know in you what you must do! Do even more, and usually, the coach will try to help you even more.
I have worked with several clients myself and I can tell you from experience that when I see a client that thinks I’ll do the work they need to do only because they paid me, I don’t care how much money they are willing to give me, I usually introduce them to another coach or direct them to some direction that doesn’ involve me working with them or simply deny working with them. Even if I’m leaving money on the table, I don’t care!
But when I see a client trying more and more and pushing his/her limits, it fires me up and I don’t care how long we’re on the phone or how many hours we’ve been working or how much money I’m making. I don’t. Because I know that I’m helping someone who is worthed my time and usually this peolpe are the successful people that never disappoint me.
Which side are you on? Are you willing to do the work and grow your success? I warn you, it’s not easy. It’s simple, but not easy and work has to be done. I’ll be there watching your back. I cannot walk your path, I can only show you the path and if you think you’re ready, shot me a message here and we can start working.
Let’s write our own history!