I just got back from a free coach training seminar, although it was really billed as a ski trip with my daughter. She just turned 7, and although we went on a few trips when she was 4 and again 5…she is now she is a head taller. She has longer arms and legs, and a 20% increase in height and weight. Technically speaking, she is working with a new set of tools.
So how is skiing like a free coach training? Because it reminds me that we are coaches 24/7. And going on this ski trip paralleled what often happens with a new client. There is the initial prep before the first session. Bags to be packed, equipment to be rented, with forms and waivers. Next you get to the first session, where goals are discussed. “Mommy, why is Anita going to ski in a different place?” Turns into a discussion of the over-crowded bunny slopes and long lift lines…resulting in the goal. “I want to ski at the top of the mountain, too.” If you want to go somewhere you’ve never been, you have to be someone you’ve never been.
We work on some strategies for getting up after falling, slowing down when you’re going too fast, and turning. At last we agree she’s ready to try to the beginner slopes at the top of the mountain. To get to the lift, we must traverse the mountain. More strategy, a lot of frustration and some fear of failing, not to be taken personally…this is about her and her goals. I remind myself it’s not about me when she’s yelling at me in frustration because she is down on the ground again. I get into her world, and I pull her with my pole (she doesn’t ski with them yet) where the ground is level. Then I lead her into the snack shack for a cup of hot cocoa and a little rest. She’s feeling refreshed and ready to take the next step.
Sometimes on the way to a goal, it seems like there is little progress. Like waiting in a lift line. Other times, we are on the way…but the process is so slow that we start thinking and getting nervous about what’s coming next. We’ll refer to that as the chair lift portion. I try to get my daughter into a state where she feels confident, and point out the beauty of mountains, remind her of why her goals are important to her. She is really into it. We get off the lift and start heading down.
The initial descent is a little steep. I lead the way. There is a lot of falling, and trying to get up. I am there for support and strategy, but she is the one who has to do it. She yells at me to get out of the way…feedback that she’s ready to do it on her own. She wipes out, feet up the hill. I trudge sideways up the hill to offer support, and a little nudge up. We make it down the initial descent and the slope levels just a bit. Enough though. She picks up speed, and starts flying down the mountain. The shift has occurred. Her voice confirms her feeling of empowerment. Weeee! Nice session. And so for the cost of some lift tickets and gear rental, I got some free coach training.
Accountability Coach, JTS Advisors
David E. S. Stein says
You wrote: “If you want to go somewhere you’ve never been, you have to be someone you’ve never been.” Well said! Now, so that I can quote this with proper attribution, let me inquire: Is that your own formulation? Or is it perhaps a standard expression in the coaching world? I ask out of ignorance.
Jeffrey T. Sooey says
I’ve heard this from several sources before… so I think you could safely say that it’s a common theme in personal development circles.