Have you ever played a sport? Did you like your coach?
Since most of us (as adults) no longer play organized sports, the word “coach” takes on a different meaning. Do you have a goal you want to reach? Do you have someone who is helping you figure out how to get there?
I’m not currently playing on any sports teams, but I am writing a book and last night I met with my “writing coach” - Maegan Stout.
I like Maegan, and I hope we become friends. But a coach is different than a friend or a mentor or a counselor. A coach is best utilized when you have a specific goal you want to attain such as starting a new career, running a marathon, or starting a non-profit (or writing a book!). It helps if your coach knows something about the subject area (which Maegan does, in this example), but they don’t have to be an expert in the subject you are tackling, they just have to be good at getting you to identify the steps you need to take, and helping you figure out what motivation you need to take those steps.
A coach serves as a sounding board, and facilitates a “discovery experience.” Maegan doesn’t give me all the answers (in fact, she rarely gives me any answers!). But she asks me really thought-provoking questions. She has a way of making me find the answers to my own questions. It’s actually way-better than her giving me the answers, she makes me feel smart and capable!
Another important point about coaching is that the coachee sets the agenda. I don’t get together with Maegan to just chat about life, and I don’t expect her to come prepared to impart wisdom into my life. She’s not my “accountability partner,” and she’s not my “project manager” (I have friends in each of those roles, who I am incredibly grateful to!). But she’s there to help me navigate the more strategic issues I’m trying to figure out about writing. It’s a quick hour, but we usually get right to the point, and I always walk away with new goals and specific steps to take before our next meeting.
Do you need someone like this in your life? Do you need someone to help you reach a new goal or figure out a new skill?
Thank you Maegan!