Who Needs a Coach?

Several times in these musings, I’ve mentioned the intense program I’m doing with AWAI to become a better writer and to market my writing services more effectively.
Some people, on hearing about this, have said things like, “Why don’t you just go on line and find people who are looking for writers?” That’s one way, and it might result in a little income – it’s not likely to lead to much more than pocket change. One of the few things that’s gotten into my thick skull over my many years of experience is: If you want to learn to do something well, watch and imitate the people who are successful at it. Successful copywriters are great examples for me. AND they all grew to become successful working with coaches!
Some people pride themselves on “going it alone”, and that’s fine if you enjoy beating your head against a wall. The point is that, for any important endeavor, learning from the people who’ve found the recipe for success can take you to a higher performance level faster than any other known method.
Of course we all undertake some things without the assistance of a coach. For example I play golf in a very mediocre fashion. I’ve taken only a few lessons in my life. In golf, I don’t want to work hard. It’s a social pastime, and I want to enjoy it as such. Of course I strive to play better. But I have no desire to spend a lot of time in classes and then hours more on the driving range perfecting my technique. And I understand, and accept, that this is not the path to playing “scratch” golf.
In the important matters in life – relationships (which are the most important components of a balanced life) and professional excellence, a good coach can make all the difference in helping you see where you can improve. The coach can shorten the learning curve, not to mention revealing things to you that you’d have completely missed.
Everyone Needs a Coach!
Have you noticed that  every top athlete – in golf, swimming, team sports – every one of them – has a coach, often more than one? And, in fact, so do top-performing business people, even if the coaches are less visible in business.
Why do high performers use coaches? Because it works! Dave Verbeten, a business coach in the Chicago area, posted this article on LinkedIn, which helps drive the point home further.
Also notice that the coach is rarely, if ever, better at the sport than the athlete who hired the coach. What the coach is better at is seeing the little deviations from ideal performance the athlete makes. He or she then helps the athlete correct those little mistakes before they significantly affect performance. And a good coach helps the athlete maintain and improve his or her mental attitude as well as physical performance. The mental attitude is far more important to the athlete’s (or anyone else’s) performance than are the specific skills one possesses.
Of course, the skills are important – you can’t expect to be good without them. However, if you have all the skills honed to a fine edge, and a negative attitude, you’ll be beaten before you start – every time!
As a little aside, that’s why steel magnate Andrew Carnegie said something to the effect of: I’ll hire a person with a good attitude, whether or not they have the skills we need, over one who has the skills and a poor attitude. We can teach the skills much more quickly than we can change one’s attitude, if we ever can!
Another thing to notice is that these athletes are at the very top of their professions, often among the best one or two or three, or at least 10, in the world. Wouldn’t one think that such an expert wouldn’t need someone else, who is much less expert in the sport, to help them keep performing well? Not so…the athlete is often totally blind to the mistakes he or she is developing and to opportunities to improve his or her skills and attitude. And, if they have good sense, they recognize this blindness.
Give it some thought! Consider hiring a life coach to help you live a better life, i.e. have better relationships in life…or a business coach to help you do better business, i.e. have better business relationships. It might be just what you need to take you where you want to go!

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