Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out.
Sometimes they just need a little nudge,
a little direction, a little support, a little coaching,
and the greatest things can happen.
—Pete Carroll, American football coach
As a man, what is your opinion of peak performance coaching or, as it is commonly referred to, life coaching?
I ask this question because I recently found myself attempting to explain what I do as a coach and why I’m so passionate about it. During these conversations, I’ve sometimes been peppered by negative opinions against coaching that simply stem from myth, misunderstanding or fear. Most of these comments come from men.
The most popular objections are:
– “I don’t need help. I can do it alone.”
FACT: The reality is that to really be successful, we do need help from others. No one should or needs to do it alone.
– “I don’t like to be told what to do.”
FACT: A coach never tells you what to do but, instead, listens, asks the right questions and empowers you to be accountable.
– “I dislike being criticized or embarrassed.”
FACT: A good coach never, ever criticizes or embarrasses a client and always gives encouragement.
– “My will power is strong enough to overcome any obstacle.”
FACT: No one’s willpower is that strong. Will power is a finite resource, one that becomes drained if not properly maintained. Will power can get you going, smoothing over some rough patches and help you complete your goal.
– “Coaching sounds self-indulgent.”
FACT: Coaching is a well-established, time-tested, valid path to self-improvement and personal growth and a system that is used in thousands of training programs and universities.
My perspective is that, as men, we are often indoctrinated that we can handle most anything that is thrown our way or, having a mental babysitter is unmanly.
Men, if you feel this way, rethink your thinking.
Have you ever considered that people who are successful have the mental tools, strategy and support to achieve and maintain success? Where does that come from?
Full Disclosure: I have been a peak performance coach for more than 30 years. And I have engaged many coaches over the years—without whom I would not be where I am today.
So, what does a coach really do?
A life coach/peak performance coach is a creative partner who helps you identify and clarify an emotionally charged, vivid vision of what you want to achieve and the action steps to get there.
Coaching addresses both your inner and outer game. The outer game is what you physically do; your communication and the identification and implication of your skills are as relevant as your present goal.
Your inner game is the one you play in your mind: your attitude, beliefs, paradigms and self-talk.
A coach will:
-Facilitate self-discovery and encourage self-awareness.
-Teach specific tools to manage thinking.
-Explain how to identify and break through fear and self-sabotaging behavior.
-Help you develop a plan of action and a time frame to reach your goal.
-Nurture your accountability to increase productivity.
-Support and provide positive feedback for the process of achievement.
-Show you how to control what you can control and let go of the rest.
If you have read this far, you are obviously interested. So here are 12 self-coaching strategies to launch you on your way. I wish you the courage to explore your beliefs and the strength to change.
- First and foremost, in what area of your life do you feel stuck? Mental, physical, spiritual or social. You might be stuck in a stale relationship, getting started or completing a project, procrastinating about something, bored at your job or unmotivated. Be specific. Write it down.
- Recall and visualize a specific situation when you’ve been stuck. What emotion do you feel? (Take your time with this. Look deeper than just being frustrated or frozen.) You may well discover some form of fear. If so, write it down.
- How do you act in this “stuck” area of your life? When you identify your actions, you build the awareness necessary to change for the better.
- Visualization is a powerful tool and can be used for achieving all your goals. Imagination works as your friend when you take the time to visualize yourself “as if” a positive change was made and you are “living” your goal. Close your eyes and imagine being unstuck. What does that look and feel like?
- Ask yourself: “What, specifically, would have to change in my life to get unstuck?” Write it down.
- Ask yourself: “What would I have to change about my thinking in order to get unstuck?” Write it down.
- Ask yourself, “What would I have to change about my attitude in order to get unstuck?” Write it down.
- List 5-8 things that you feel are causing you to be stuck. Perhaps it’s another person, lack of self-confidence, your skill set, your ability to communicate effectively, boredom, poor motivation, self-sabotage, fear, and anxiety. Feel free to add to the list.
- Go through your list and cross out everything over which you have absolutely no control. Circle the items over which you do have some control. Then write one, small action step you can take to gain more control in those areas.
- List 3-5 things you really enjoy or think you would enjoy doing. Forget practical or reasonable. Think “enjoyment.”
- You always want to play to your strengths. What are your strengths? Write them down.
- Seek out someone who has been stuck in the same area. Ask questions. This will trigger your own creative problem-solving process, and you will be sparked with new ideas.
I ask that all men who have reservations about partnering with a performance coach, use these 12 steps as a starting point for your coaching. You will be amazed how you can help yourself and might even reconsider the value of partnering with your own coach.
James Mapes is a best-selling author, speaker, coach and hypnotist. His most recent book IMAGINE THAT! Igniting your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance is the first web-supported book with access to 21 video-coaching clips. www.jamesmapes.com