I was thinking about how to simply describe what I do professionally recently. In the simplest form, I would tell you that I am a “People Farmer”. Yes, this may sound odd, but since I love analogies, this one really resonated with me. Why? Because like people, farming is complex and multi-dimensional.
Although I have not spoken directly to any farmers recently, I would imagine they take great pride in seeing their work come to life. I’m thinking mainly of farmers who plant and grow things. If you have ever planted something, you would likely agree with me that there is immense satisfaction in seeing something you grew from a seed, and then turn into something that takes on a completely different appearance.
When I think about the work I do with people, I have often considered taking a photo of them when I first start working with them, and then one after I have been coaching them for a while. Do you think they would see a difference in how they look? Actually, I do. As a matter of fact, I have a number of people and teams I have worked with that look far differently after I have been working with them. Although I am not a personal trainer who would have the benefit of seeing their client literally reshape their body, there are aspects of how people who are developed via coaching look differently. Hold onto this thought.
Consider someone you know who has lots of confidence. Do they project confidence in their photos? Most of the time I’m sure they do. How about people who are generally known to be happy? Can you tell from their photos whether they are having a really great day and are happy? Yes, most of the time, even if they have a more serious expression on their face.
My point is that with coaching, and like farming, there is equally great care and focus applied to the development of both. Like farming, the intention of coaching is to help develop what is being focused on to go beyond and become stronger and more capable than they are when coaching was initiated. Developing people takes time. As a coach, you need to be able to focus on finding multiple ways to draw and bring forth the talents of who you are coaching. It’s not easy, but in my humble opinion, it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can humanly have.
As a parent, I look at my role as both a care taker, as well as a coach. They are different roles, and both are critically important. For some, both roles come naturally, and I believe they both come naturally to me. It doesn’t mean I am the best parent in the world, it just means I thoroughly enjoy both roles immensely. In full disclosure, I rely solely upon my instincts to guide me in my roles versus having read countless books on each topic. I’m not saying I would not have benefitted from having read books on these topics, I’m simply acknowledging I did not feel the need to rely upon them.
We are now living in a time when more people are classifying themselves as Coaches. I think this is wonderful! As I have written about before, I strongly support the philosophy that we all need coaches and people to mentor us . Yes, these can in fact be quite different types of people, and they might also use different methods to work with us, but the end result is that we will benefit from working with each of them.
Do I have a Coach? I sure do. As a matter of fact, I have a handful of them at any point in time. Some of them are formal Coaches, but most are informal ones that I consult with periodically. All of my Coaches are different types, and I am constantly learning new ways from them to apply and enhance my development expertise to be applied to the people and teams (e.g., Sports and Work) I engage with.
If you or your team think having one Coach is enough, have you considered what it would be like to have a Coach who focuses solely on developing you and your talents differently? Perhaps in a way your current coach hasn’t been trained on how to do so? Please give this some thought. Also consider whether engaging with a Coach who focuses on developing you or your teams’ innate talents, with the goal of taking them from great to superior, would be of value to you or your team.