With thousands of coaches circling the globe and the ease of accessibility in locating a coach, how do you know if the one you have is mediocre (the industry standard), good, or even great (ahead of their era)? After all, you work hard for your money and you want the coach to work hard for your goals. You don’t want someone who will necessarily be your friend; you need tough, yet encouraging communication. You need a person brave enough to guide you past yourself.
Here are five criteria for selecting an A+ coach:
1. Unique and Daring:
Challenges your thinking and has an unconventional approach.
Why settle for status quo? You have goals and ideas of who you want to be and, quite frankly, if what you were already doing helped you achieve these outcomes you would not need a coach. You need someone who can be enough of an innovator to pull you past your comfort. You need someone creative enough to challenge what you think you know. Someone that transcends ordinary thinking and that can see the larger picture. You will know this quality when you say to yourself, “Wow, this is interesting. I haven’t seen this before.” The coach’s approach may even make you feel uncomfortable or squirrely because it challenges your belief systems.
Asks you to ask questions of yourself, instead of telling you what you need.
Let us face it: no one likes to be told what to do. No one I know likes to be told what he or she should or should not be doing. Only you truly know what is best for you. A great coach will listen to what is or is not working well for you. They will also be skilled enough in communication to direct your goals and actions by asking you to think critically for yourself. The “know thyself” model should be one the coach encourages.
3. Coyote Medicine:
Pulls from your strengths to grow areas of weakness.
Potential is nothing with out performance. A person can have all the potential in the world, but what makes a good person great is their ability to be actionable in goal achievement. A great coach will see your areas of weakness, even if you do not, and help you work through or around these weaknesses. Coaches must sometimes be sneaky in their approach to get you to unknowingly surpass your weak thoughts. Trickery and magic help. The element of surprise will bring you a surge of, “Holy shit, I did not know that was possible,” and will destroy beliefs of limits.
4. No Is Not the Answer:
Doesn’t want to hear what you cannot do. Is only interested in seeing what you WILL do.
This is a common saying around my arena. I approach students and clients straight forward, wanting to see what they are capable of doing. Often, an injured or limited person will focus on the one activity they cannot do and throw out all possibilities of doing the a modified version of the same activity. This is a farce. Just because you heard one crappy song on a station, doesn’t mean you turn off the radio. It means you tune the stations until you find a song you can appreciate. Same with yoga. For instance, a student with a wrist, back, or neck injury may think they cannot do handstand and so will not come to do any yoga until they are one hundred percent healed. But there are thousands of poses, dozens of variations of the pose, and infinite possibilities of sequencing a plan that accommodate both the limitation and growth. You will see this quality shine through you’re A+ coach when he or she steers you around an injury by trying different combinations or alternative poses until finding one that works.
Won’t let you off the hook without a fight. Fights your spirit for it to do what is right.
Great coaches won’t let you stray too far off course and will get tough with you when needed. You may be at the helm, but a great coach will push you to dig deep into your well of fortitude. They will shower you with enthusiastic praise when your action warrants kudos. When you have a breakthrough or achieve a goal, your coaches should give you accolades. Not because you are doing actions for them, but because they are verbalizing a waypoint and indicating you are on course to bettering yourself – for yourself.
Ultimately, a coach is not your friend. A coach can be warm and kind, but they can also kick your ass into gear by being more of a warrior spirit to prompt you to develop yours. That is what a coach does – out of the pits of molten metal they will forge your blade of steel from theirs. But first, you must make a choice that you want to grow up into a stronger man or woman. That you want to be a warrior, too. A warrior over your attitudes and beliefs that have kept you at your current level.
I am a warrior. I have a warrior guide and I am a warrior guide. We all need to find our inner braveness, our courage to stay above the clouds and out of the squalls that plummet our quests for greatness. Go get your warrior. Be your own.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.