Renowned surgeon Atul Gawande in 2017 at one of his great TED-Talk messages narrowed down on coaching and made a profound statement that “if you want to get great at something, get a coach” He alluded to the fact that there are basically two ways of getting good at something, which is by the usual pedagogical way—being the means of striving through with one’s skill and mastering a career. And the other means is by deploying the sporting coaching approach.
But it is fascinating how people who go via the route of using the services of a coach or coaches, which can be likened to sports, turn to become great with their skills and discipline of trade or career. He mentioned how few coaches deployed in a maternal project involving about 400 nurses and 100 physicians could transform an ailing and challenging situation in India’s biggest town.
He compared his career using the pedagogical way and the coaching route, and the performance and mastery with a coach in the loop were terrific. Because at a time when he was building the career by himself, he later became rusty and saturated in his comfort zone, but when he hired a coach, his mastery as a surgeon became phenomenal
It is also worthy of mentioning for the lovers of basketball how the hall of Famer coach Phil Jackson could step into his substantive coach’s shoes and foster a relationship with the players, especially Michael Jordan. And this led to Chicago Bulls’ six straight NBA laurels. This reinforces the vital role coaches play in the lives of people who aim to be great at doing something.
From business moguls, technologists, world leaders to sportspeople who have done great things, they have all had coaches in their private dealings. John Mattone was the personal executive coach of late Steve Jobs and Pepsico legendary CEO Roger Enrico. Tonny Robbins was also an executive and personal coach to President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey Princess Diana, President Nelson Mandela, Leonardo DiCaprio, Serena Williams, Hugh Jackman, etc.
This sets them up for awareness of their potentials, possibilities of what is readily not considered, and opportunities to explore their abilities and environment.
One of the most significant innovative interventions a coach brings to a client’s life is how they support their clients to set goals. In most of his sessions and training sessions where goals are set, I break down GOALS into mnemonics, Giving Ordinary Ambitions Life and Shape. A coach supports a client to set their goals with such a definition so that awareness, possibilities, and opportunities untapped will be explored. This is seriously explored during building a coaching plan for a client, where purpose evolves with assigned outcomes and committed actions to be taken.
This makes coaching a vital area of one’s life to invest in to adduce its benefits to clients who want to do great at something. To give a client’s ordinary ambitions life and shape in a setting that challenges them to go the extra mile births excellent results. Some benefits that setting goals with a coach brings are;
- Defined intention: “To give” will mean to come from a depth of nothingness into creating what comes to mind and heart. This disrupts mental constructs that retards and impede innovation and creativity to allow imagination and ideation possible.
- Provides inspiration: “To give something life” means coordination and direction of purpose to sail through towards the desired outcomes barren all the challenges that may show up in achieving the set goals. The set goals become a living cause that stimulates your intrinsic reward to see the dream come to fruition.
- Time management: Shaping any idea or plans comes within a specific target time frame. It allows you to generate indices and metrics that work within the context in which the goal is set to measure input and output such that procrastination is pinned to the wall. A coach in the goal-setting loop supports you to identify and call it by name activities and attitudes waste your time.
- Structured accountability: To have an extraordinary ambition bear fruits means you must be accountable for the actions, inactions, conscious and unconscious inputs, and outputs. A coach holds the space for the client to come to the awareness of what is showing up, what world view is playing out, for the result or outcome.
- Setting Priorities: A client is supported to build a sequence of priorities so that there is order, flow, fluidity, balance harmony in other important spheres of the client’s life, e.g., career, relationship, business, education, etc. This is how some aspects of the clients’ life are used as motivation to drive a 360 life transformation. A prioritized life produces a disciplined and coordinated success and achievement.
- Tracking and troubleshooting: When breakdowns show up in the scheme of things goals set by a client, there is a trace to track and troubleshoot. The coach thoughtfully provokes what is showing up such that the client gets aware of results other than the outcomes expected from the set goals. Breakdowns are part of the journey of achieving success in every endeavor. In silicon valley, they say, “fail fast, fail forward,” what makes the difference is the awareness, clarity, and shift that occurs so that the client can recommit and get back to the tracks of goals set.
- Rethink, unlearn and learn: To achieve one’s goals set comes with the ambidexterity to rethink what is not working and come through with what is possible. Similarly, the client can unlearn aspects of their mental construct or worldview to achieve the goals set and its needed outcomes. By rethink and unlearn old ways of doing things, new knowledge and insight show up, creating or replaces certain portions of the mental construct.
8. Celebration and upscaling: One of the most potent motivation tools for reaching one’s goals is the ability to appreciate and celebrate the gains, no matter how small they are. With a coach in setting up goals, you must be aware of your incursions and growth towards the desired outcomes. The gains become a ladder or stepping stone to upscale to do more.
9. Meaningful purpose in life and fulfillment: A coach supports a client to set-goals that encapsulate the clients’ purpose. Like Rick Warren will put it, “a purpose-driven life.” This brings the fulfillment a client desire intrinsically and grants him or her meaning to life.
Life is more than just new year resolutions, wishful thinking, uncoordinated thought-pattens, and uncommitted words that entrench comfort zones. A coach supports a client to develop a structured life with a sense of fluidity, ways of being that brings love, authenticity, and success within the individuals’ metrics of measurement.
Goal-setting is a serious business and investment that can not be done anyhow, and a touch of coach worth his salt comes in handy as an essential partner to support you in achieving your goals.
It is never too late to set goals for the rest of the year, for a project, idea, business, career, etc. However you go about it, it shows up in the output. Think about all the great people you know and ask, how do they do it? Who is their corner?
The writer is a Transformational Coach| Certified Professional Training| Consultant| author