President Obama can debate, but he sought debate coaches to get him through the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Michael Jordan is a basketball legend, but he needed Coach Phil Jackson to win many of his NBA championships. Tony Robbins, the famous motivational speaker, looked for a coach when he reached the top of his career.
While at a local gym, I asked a lawn tennis coach why he thinks his job is essential. He gave two reasons: he is imparting knowledge to people who do not have it, and secondly, he is acting as a third eye to the people he coached.
The second reason, acting as a third eye, rendering a feedback to other people beyond what they can see on their own, sums up why coaching is fundamental and indispensable.
Humans are wired to not accurately evaluate themselves. We give biased and ineffectual judgment. There is a biological reason. A capability for a perfect self judgment will drive us insane. Imagine how we will feel if our mirror images track us every time of the day; when we wake up, when we are upset, when we are not looking our best or even when we are joyful. Not only will we become obsessive, we will feel haunted and stalemated.
If what we are is as a result of how we read the signals we collect from our environment, the question becomes, how do we read our environment. Are we reading our environment accurately?
Our senses of vision, smell, touch, hearing and taste project to the environment for surveillance. Feedback received are subjectively interpreted, mainly for self preservation and selfishness. Self preservation stunts higher accomplishment and selfishness limits engagement and performance.
What about personal responsibility? Glaring as it may seem, individuals do not excel unless challenged by their environment: others and circumstances. It is the environment that sparks the catalyst for self motivation or self defeat. And it is the environment that prods our thought, path and actions.
While working out in a basketball court, I caught a glimpse of a teenager who made the wildest shot ever; he threw a basketball backward into the net from half court. He immediately looked around for approval. I stuck my thumb up for praise, and he had a hearty smile on his face.
A good third eye breaks the enclosed microcosm and becomes the mirror that periodically evaluates performance in measured time, free from the preoccupation of self monitoring or the neglect of complacency.
A coach is neither a teacher nor a mentor. Teachers conjure up punitive image, while coaches engender a wise teammate image. Mentors pass on their talent to a protegee, whereas coaches bring out latent ability from their students.
Everybody has areas in their life that will require some coaching. Coaching to write better, coaching to jump higher, coaching to communicate better, coaching to become a better investor or as President Obama, coaching to debate better.
Below is a summary of what it means to have a coach.
C, challenge, a coach challenges us to face up our doubt
O, observe or monitor, a coach acts as a third eye
A, applaud, a coach is the first to applaud success
C, care, a coach cares enough to be bothered by a trainee performance
H, harness, a coach draws out latent talent and puts them into action
E, elevate, a coach lifts trainees up when they are done and out
S, synchronize, Coaches bring into line all inherent qualities to work for you