I am a coach. What does that really mean?

I get asked a lot about what coaching is, if someone can learn to be their own coach and how.

Here is my short (sort of) answer to that.

A lot of clients come to coaching sessions expecting me to give them all the answers. They’re coming wanting someone to make decisions for them or give them advice. Then they get frustrated when they realize that as a coach, that is not my job. I may give them new tools to use and suggest new ideas to apply but I am not the decision maker.

As a coach, I believe coachees have all the answers they need and my job is to help them uncover them and challenge them to do more.

My favorite analogy as a dancer is, as a coach you have to be the follower in the dance and not the leader or teacher. It is not a strategic analytical role or an instructional one, it is an empathetic challenging role.

It’s not what we are used to or what we expect from ourselves or coaches but If you want to be good at it and become more self aware you have to learn the ability to let go of control.

You have to give space for your emotions, thoughts and body sensations to speak up and you have to believe you have the ability to accept them and transform them.

You need to develop the trust in your abilities to sit with what you feel, and know when to stop and take breaks and then you need to let them lead you to the answers.

You also need to cultivate the courage to challenge yourself and others to start making the right decisions.

So my best advice for people looking to be coaches or looking to build better relationships with themselves and others is to start an activity that requires them to be in the passenger seat rather than the driver’s seat; an activity that requires them to listen and take in cues rather than be the one sending them.

Mine is dancing what is yours?

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