You don’t know what you don’t know.

Coaching in the athletic arena was first documented in the mid-1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that coaching as a profession, outside of sports, emerged. 

For many, the notion of engaging with a coach is still a foreign concept. Why on earth would you pay a stranger to tell you what to do?

Which brings us back to: you don’t know what you don’t know. Once you’ve experienced quality coaching in an area of your life that is truly meaningful for example, work, relationships or academia, your life, and I do not say this lightly,  will never be the same again – for the better.

If you are feeling stuck, anxious, fearful, not sure what to do next you would benefit from quality coaching. Having someone think through the options with you to illuminate thinking, resources, and actions that were hidden before the coaching conversation makes all the difference. Coaches listen between the frequencies and help you generate new and clear thinking, dispelling the fog in your head. 

As an academic performance coach, I’m repeatedly asked how I mentor my clients to graduation. As part of that answer, I share my experience with a student in the form of a case study.

Case Study

Jared* was desperate to complete his thesis which had been lagging on for two years giving him and his family untold stress and anxiety.  He called for my help.

His plate was overflowing:

  • Full-time employment as a senior manager – corporate.
  • A family with two teenagers: a daughter aged 12 and a son aged 15.
  • A half-completed thesis: literature review, methodology and data collection were complete; analysis, writing up findings, and formulating his conclusion were incomplete. 
  • A knee replacement planned for the following month.
  • Three months to submit his thesis.

 

The writing was clearly on the wall because if he simply kept on doing what he was doing, there was no way he would meet this final deadline for submission. Our very first coaching session impressed on him the urgency to sacrifice something in order to achieve his goal of completing his thesis. Read more about making sacrifices here.

After our session, it was abundantly clear that, above all else, Jared needed constructive time. He actioned these changes and strategies in order to create time and space to complete the necessary work. 

  • With his doctor’s approval and a well-considered pain management strategy, he postponed his knee replacement till after submission date.
  • He agreed 3 weeks overdue leave with his employer.
  • Contracted with his wife to take over teenager duties, in full, till after submission date.
  • Re-organized his home office into a purposeful working space.
  • Booked another three sessions with me as his accountability partner and to implement some effective planning.

In my coaching, I call this a PACT: Personal, Action, Commitment, Timetable.

Jared submitted his thesis on time and has since graduated. 

The coaching relationship

The successful relationship between coach and client relies heavily on meeting expectations on both sides. The core facets of the relationship are trust, self-esteem, respect and time.

Trust. While trust in contexts outside of professional relationships is built over time, in the workplace and coaching sphere, trust can be comprised of the following: 

COMMUNICATION + AVAILABILITY + EXPEPECTATIONS = TRUST

Clear, unambiguous communication, mutual availability, as well as setting and meeting expectations over the duration of the coaching engagement, will result in establishing trust on a professional level.

Self-esteem. One of the biggest challenges for many people is learning to love and respect themselves. Focus on your strengths, keep a record of achievements, and celebrate the small victories along the way. It is important to recognise what you have to offer, your good points, what makes you, you. Coaches use every opportunity to reinforce the positive qualities and skills of the coachee through feedback and interactions. 

Respect. If trust is in place, then respect follows naturally. There will be mutual confidence in each other to pitch up and deliver what was agreed upon. 

Time. Recognise that time is a non-renewal resource. It is thus, valuable. Committing time to your work and coaching sessions mirrors the ethos of the above: you confidence in your own ability (self-esteem), trusting your coach to make effective use of your scheduled time and respecting each other’s time. 

 

Do you need a coach?

I have no hesitation to share my opinion that Everyone needs a coach in some area of their life. I continue to experience the benefits of having a coach myself and can’t imagine navigating life and making tough decisions and staying committed to my aspirations without one.

Coaching

  • helps you find direction,
  • helps you reach your potential,
  • keeps you focused and accountable,
  • increases confidence and keeps you motivated; and
  • boosts your overall well-being.

 

However, you don’t know what you don’t know.

 

*not his real name.

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