No, I’m Not A “Coach” — And You Shouldn’t Be, Either

I’ve been following the discussion on my friend Havi’s blog about her aversion to being called a “coach” with great interest — because that’s one self-applied job description that still makes my skin crawl.  (Much like “Social Media Guru”, “Animal Psychic” and “Colonic Therapist”.)  Since I’ve spent most of my adult life in what’s called the Learning and Development pond, I get the wonderful opportunity to interact with people who have decided that they are coaches way more than I would like.

(To make things interesting, they keep changing the name of their discipline.  Recent ones have included “Human Potential” and “Human Capital” — bleech!)

Overall, the idea is that these folks have the power to remove your roadblocks and maximize your potential, while they actualize your internalized developmental possibilities which baseline the best practice modalities integral to moving to the next level as you break through your self-imposed limits.

Uh huh.

Now don’t get me wrong.  There is certainly a need to assist people as they struggle to improve on many fronts.  And there are lots of skilled folks in the world (like @Havi) who I would recommend you send big sacks of money to.

But “Coach” is such an imperfect metaphor.  Most sports metaphors suck, but this particular one sucks 1000%.  It comes to play, it shows up, it really comes down to any given day.

You see, in today’s athletics, “coaching” has become pretty much a lowly-paid guy who gives advice to highly-paid superstars.  Who then pretty much ignore that advice, and go ahead and do whatever they want.  Mostly to raise their personal stats, which increases their income and cements lucrative endorsement deals.

And in the corporate arena, where I work, “coaching” pretty much has become a lowly-paid manager trying to get lowly-paid employees to do the work of several people (who were laid off) for a company that really doesn’t care about them and sees them as interchangeable parts.

Yogi Berra was a Coach.  And he said that “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

haviselma1008_whiteSo how about if you consider becoming a “Habits Educator” like Havi, or a Performance Facilitator, or a Supporter Of Those Who Wish To Be Amazing.

Just don’t coach.

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