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Coaching with Purpose

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Thoughts from a curious mind - Taking a viewpoint to understand the purpose of your coaching as opposed to the title of the position you hold begins to paint a very different picture of what effective looks like. I wonder if this curiosity helps you to think about your own practice as a coach? What is your own purpose is? What skills do you need to develop to fulfill this?

My own coaching philosophy is people first, for me coaching is very much a service. 

I take an approach to understand the individual needs of my participants, their personalities, what motivates them and what they are aiming to achieve with my help.

 I then seek to provide the platform they require to keep them motivated and most importantly for me, active. As a coach I deliver a number of sports.

When reviewing my own practice I probably follow the same processes as most, asking for feedback, checking up on the latest practice, and speaking to other coaches to see what they do. So nothing ground breaking.

Recently, I watched a TED talk called "Let's Try Emotional Correctness" presented by Sally Kohn (see below). In it she explores the concept that it's not what you say things, more how you say it.

Sally is a talking head on Fox News in America and often finds herself debating political issues. As a gay woman in America on TV, she explains that she often receives hate mail due to either her political views expressed through her job or what people perceive as her lifestyle choices.

Interestingly though, Sally makes a point that between the hate mail and trolls, some people get in touch to let her know that although they disagree with her political viewpoint (what she is saying) they agree with how she is putting her messages across.

The fact that the intention of her words resonates with people means that despite them not agreeing with some of the statement she is making, they invest their time to listen to her point. Sally suggests that it is the intention of her words that achieves this, and calls it "Emotional Correctness."

This made me curious....

Thinking about Sally's talk, I recall a song from my childhood with the line "it aint what you do it's the way that you do it". Perhaps this is some form of subliminal forces at work as Bananarama also recently announced a comeback tour.

Now, I am not pinning my coaching philosophy on a song from my childhood, however when thinking about emotional correctness, the concept of how we do things, and engaging people in sport or activity, I must admit a lightbulb does start to flicker.

I call myself a coach. However what I am is much more. Reflecting on my own practice as a coach I appreciate that the actions responsibilities and the role I play is much broader. So merely reviewing myself against the latest coaching practice doesn’t cut it anymore as there is a lack of context.

I find myself needing to know why?!

As person with a role that helps to develop coaches I wonder, is there a better way to look at the attributes knowledge and behaviours of an individual who is effective in their role. In short I think the answer is yes.

Fundamentally, rather than looking at the requirements or pre-requisite skills level for the 'role' of a coach, we should, like Sally suggests, consider the 'intention' or the purpose of the coaching. In essence being 'emotionally correct', we should consider "how to do the how".

By appreciating our audience, our context, and our environment can all help to play a part in painting a picture for effective coaching. Whatever we call ourselves, the common thread should be the intention that they the role we are playing holds. Back to that song again, and if you know it you will recall it goes on to claim "that's what gets results".

Taking the viewpoint of understanding the intention of a coaching role as opposed to the title of the position someone might hold, begins to paint a very different picture of what effective looks like. Putting this approach into practice requires a different viewpoint, with regards to what you are reflecting on and perhaps the questions you need to ask to gain your feedback.

I wonder if this curiosity helps you to think about your own practice as a coach. Do you know what your own purpose is? What skills do you need to develop to fulfil?

“It aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it. And that’s what gets results!”

I wonder if it really does?

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your thoughts so please do add a comment below. Alternatively you can keep the conversation going on twitter; please like, share and have your say using the #ReducingInactivity #CoachingWithPurpose

If you enjoyed this you can find all my other ConnectedCoaches blogs here.

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