written by Erica Quam
I’ve been checking in and talking with coaches who are in the middle of their seasons. One asked me a great question – somewhat rhetorically…, “If coaching is what I’m really supposed to be doing, why is it so dang hard?”
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day – in anything we do in life. No matter what job we have or what profession we’re in, it’s typical to get to a place where things are just…hard!
Here are three ways to re-connect with your purpose as a coach.
1. Reflect on your STORY
What’s your coaching story? What was the initial spark that led you to become a coach? Every coach I know has their own personal story about how they got into coaching. They often share similar threads:
- To make a difference in the lives of others…
- To give back to a sport…
- To use athletics to teach bigger lessons…
For me, that spark was being a team captain on my collegiate swim team. I had never thought of myself as a leader – I’m more introverted – and yet I liked being in that role. It wasn’t until one of my coaches asked, “have you ever thought about coaching?” that I really considered it as a career.
Staying connected to your story can move you from your head (and all the problems you are currently dealing with) to your heart (and the real reason you do what you do.)
- Take five minutes to reconnect with your original why
- Write about it in a journal = 1 bonus point
- Take a colleague out for coffee and talk about it = 5 bonus points
2. Think about who INFLUENCED you
Who has made the biggest impact on the way that you coach? What’s one thing about each person that stands out?
I am so fortunate to have had such great mentors and role models as a young coach. I associate a unique value or quality with each coach who influenced me: passion, grit, team, creativity, excellence, competitor, pioneer.
Remembering who influenced you will remind you of the values that are most important to you. Let go of the small stuff and focus on the overall vision of your career.
- Take 5 minutes to think about people who have influenced you. What stands out about each person?
- Write down a list of 10 people & the one thing you remember about them = 1 bonus point
- Write one of them a thank you note = 5 bonus points
If I have seen further than others it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. – Isaac Newton
3. Reframe OBSTACLES as opportunities
Coaches want to fix it, solve it, and improve it. It’s almost automatic – to focus on a challenge: the gap between where you are and where you want to go…right? As days go by, and the season plods along, it becomes more and more difficult to remember why you got into this career in the first place.
When things pile up, it’s easy to get bogged down, spin your wheels, and bring the challenges home with you each night…until you eat, sleep, and breathe coaching. Have you been there?
It’s important to have the awareness that obstacles and challenges are there for a bigger reason – they are part of the learning.
Before you leave to go home, take 5 minutes to reflect on your day. Set a timer.
- Write 3 things that went well.
- Write one obstacle you are facing.
- Now, write the ideal outcome.
- Finally write 1 to 2 possible steps to move forward.
We often get hooked into the drama of the challenges that we face. We get consumed by them. Our brain is a solutions device. When we take a step away from the emotion – to make sense of things – we begin to see solutions more clearly.
This will be a totally different energy for you to take home with you and bring you to a completely different place to start the next day.
In the comments, share which of these three you will try first.