Coaching has been defined as a profession for only about fifteen years–but everyone knows that coaches have always been a part of the human experience.
Coaches today reflect the spectrum of what they have always been: Sages, story-tellers, ministers, teachers, counselors, philosophers, mystics, gurus, managers, advisors, shepherds, spiritual directors, consultants, confidantes, leaders and nags. And since way before a pharaoh hired a young shepherd forty centuries ago, I think it’s always been in our DNA to pay attention to, and even seek out, the good ones.
So, I’ve wondered, what is it about our times that has increased the demand for professional coaches–and for leaders who can coach?
Here’s my hunch this month: When I sit down with an individual, a team or a group, I almost always invite them to take a moment to slow-down and breathe. I tell my high-tech Seattle clients that this will make them smarter, so they do it.
The built-in delays of human life have pretty much gone away, and we’re not adjusting to that very well either neurologically or socially. How’s this for a metaphor: One of the coaches I’ve trained is working with the US Military to address PTSD in returning soldiers. She notes that in the past, soldiers who fought together came home together—even the injured ones—on troop ships. Those built-in weeks to rest and decompress and heal in the unhurried company of comrades is emblematic of what we don’t have as much of anymore.
And our lives and relationships pay a price until we examine what the heck is going on. That’s, I think, where the leadership of a good coach begins. I help people to change their rhythm and to pay attention to their craft, to their friends, family, sleep and restlessness so that they can be deliberate with their next steps.
I’ll write more next month. If this strikes a chord with you—either because you are being called on to coach, or because it’s time to find one for yourself, give me a call.
Here are this month’s “best-of” ideas: Things that got me to slow down, listen, learn and/or laugh.
Speaking of how our use of time is changing, this RSA Animation will challenge you (especially if you have young children in your life).
And, speaking of time, Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy is just plain funny.
Best dog name (of a giant shaggy black poodle): Hagrid