Awareness is a choice

The Coach’s most valuable tool.

Most beginning coaches feel that if they don’t have all the answers, they’re missing some essential tool. Let me put your mind at ease. You cannot know all the answers. Why? Because you don’t know all the questions.

Many experienced coaches know that it is a two-way street. Both the club or the person you’re coaching and you, the coach, have to contribute to this growing process. Let’s face it. If they’re not growing, they’re dying. Each member of the club is there to add more skills and become something better, someone significant. The club needs to grow to serve the needs of its members, and I’m not talking about just growing in numbers. The club has to improve and become more sentient, more self-aware. If the coach doesn’t grow with the member and the club, it stagnates the relationship and the coach becomes less productive.

How do you bring about this growth? Have you ever sat in a lecture class where the final test is to write the lectures word for word from memory? No. That would be silly and fruitless. Have you ever had a project so big and complicated and had a parent or guardian or mentor just do the project for you? You remember your pinewood derby days where some of the kids came in with miniature Lamborghinis with professional paint jobs and you KNEW that the 10-year-old had not built it himself. What did that say to the child? “You cannot possibly meet the minimum standards of this project. The goal is to WIN, and the only thing that matters is that finish line.” Is that the message? This all applies to coaching clubs: You can’t tell them all the answers, and you can’t do all the work yourself.

How, then, do you coach a club? You ask the right questions. You have to be comfortable with uncomfortable silences. You ask a question, and they will wait for you to either answer it or give them multiple choices they can choose. You have to frame the questions and then put your head down, pencil at the ready, and wait. Very few people have been coached like this.

The 1st question you need to ask is this: Does the club want to be successful? Very often, this brings people up short. When they ask for a coach, they’re expecting a fairy godmother. You wave your wand and POOF, they’re at charter strength! And sorry to say, when the coach leaves the club, and all the paper members quit, they revert to the same situation they had before. Every question you ask after that initial one is to guide the club into awareness about how their clubs work and how they can reach their goals.

The most valuable tool you have is the set of questions you choose to ask.

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