When I think about becoming a life coach, I think about my high school cross country and track coach, David. At that time, I wanted to become a coach like him…although the thought of coaching the regular PE classes and teaching remedial math did not appeal to me. I could tell those aspects of his job probably made him want to pull out his hair, because it was obvious to me that his passion was coaching.
When I wrote about the subject, “What is a Life Coach?, in a previous article, I wrote about 5 different types of coaches. When I think about which category David would have best fit in…I keep coming back up to the “guru”. At least David was the guru in our world. Of course he told us how far to run, gave us track workouts, encouraged us… he taught us about visualization and the power of a positive attitude. That was cutting edge stuff in the early ‘80’s. But it’s still hard to describe what made David such a great coach. And thinking back, I don’t really think it was WHAT David DID. It was WHO David WAS. He was a man of few words. I don’t remember any motivational speeches that were more than 5 words, yet somehow he conveyed his belief in us. I don’t think our team ever won a major state meet, but he instilled in us something even more powerful about becoming a life coach that has stayed with me.
David taught me the concept of being unstoppable. Although he taught us in a very understated style. I never saw David get upset, and in fact I think some kids must have walked all over him. He was far from an accountability coaching style, but David instilled such confidence in us that we didn’t think about quitting. I remember a team training trip in the mountains of Arizona. On the last day, we made a deal with our coach. If we completed the 8 mile run under a certain time, David would buy us pizza for dinner that night. If we didn’t, we would buy him pizza.
We set out, feeling confident. The mountains of Arizona are known for afternoon thunderstorms. Usually, just enough rain to settle the dust. Not this afternoon. Not far into the run, the rain became a torrential downpour. As we ran along the dirt logging road, the water mixed with the dirt and became clay-like. Each time our foot hit the ground, it would sink into the mud. Each time we picked up our feet, we would also pick up about 2 pounds of clay that had stuck to the bottom of our shoes. Needless to say, we were off pace. Our coach drove along side us and told us to get into the truck. David was taking us out to pizza anyway for our good effort.
Several times he tried to get us to quit, several times we refused. We had made a commitment, and we were NOT going to quit…not if it rained, not if we could barely get our feet out of the mud…in that moment we were being unstoppable in our goal. Which of course, we didn’t make. But that was not the point. We happily shared our pizza with David, and then he took us out for an ice cream. In our own way, we had won.
Becoming a life coach is about winning no matter what. Your clients are usually achievers. They don’t know how special and great they are. When someone like David helps you tap into the unstoppable part of you, no matter the outcome, you experience what it is to be a winner. That’s what becoming a life coach is all about.
JTS Advisors Accountability Coach
P.S. Whether you are experienced or you are just becoming a life coach, as you finish up this year, think about the areas where, even if you didn’t produce the result you wanted, you were unstoppable, and acknowledge yourself for being a winner in that area. Do the same thing with your clients. If you can think of just one area for you OR for a client of yours, share them with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!