Rookies Go It Alone… Pros Have Coaches
This morning Seth Godin wrote, “At the top tier of just about any sort of endeavor, you’ll find that the performers have coaches.”
He goes on to consider why with top-tier professionals this almost universal truth is untrue. Over the years I often have wondered the same. Why do so many purported professionals act like amateur hacks when it comes to their livelihood? How can people with so much riding on them (big salaries, dependent employees, institutional legacies) really believe they are going to kick butt on gut instinct alone? Shouldn’t we know that raw talent and smarts only get us so far?
My 11-year-old daughter is a competitive swimmer, and she has at least three different coaches in two different states. “Why?” you may be asking. Well, she wants to kill it – rip out its bleeding heart and eat it. So, you know… you need help with stuff like that. If you asked her how smart it is to swim the 200 Free without any guidance, without a trained professional on the side of the pool showing her the way, you’d likely get a 2021 version of “bah humbug!”
The kid is 11 and she knows there is nothing honorable, nothing brave, about trying to win her heat without a coach and that it is next to impossible to shave a single second off her time without someone else’s guidance. But grown-ups – heaven help us! We put our blinders on and keep grinding it out for excellence – all of our weaknesses in tow, stubbornness intact, wishful thinking in place, above-average results right around the corner, entire careers spent this way.
Something else Godin said that should be considered deeply, “It turns out that the people with the potential to benefit the most from a coach are often the most hesitant.” Hmm… Funny how this resistance to coaching is actually a clearly marked trailhead – a message from the universe, that we fail to understand. We think, “don’t want coaching, don’t need coaching, don’t have time for coaching, the organization is doing just fine without coaching,” but we are all wrong. This desire to shy away from coaching is really a broadcast to lean in. All of those “I’ve got it under control, I don’t need this, it isn’t for me” are just signaling that coaching is in order – now.