Becoming a Coach in Everyday Life – Some Suggestions
I shared this piece in a newsletter in February. I got good feedback on it so I thought I would share here as well.
One way to develop a winning team is to surround yourself with extraordinary people. Another is to surround yourself with ordinary people who through your leadership and coaching achieve extraordinary results. As Sam Walton once said, “… there’s absolutely no limit to what plain, ordinary working people can do if they’re given the opportunity and the encouragement and the incentive to be their best.”
If you are to create a winning team, you must be good at coaching. You must be able to inspire extraordinary performance from ordinary people. Coaching is helping people see new possibilities and providing the support and guidance to help people and organizations achieve new heights.
Be the change you want to see occur in the world around you. We can’t make other people be more considerate, helpful, honest, etc., but if everyone were to work on him or herself and develop these attributes our world would be a better place. In this article we will examine ten attributes to becoming a coach in everyday life.
Don’t be judgmental. Look for and recognize the good in yourself and in others. We are all capable of so-called good and bad behaviors and we all have our good and off days. We are all unique and it is wonderful that we are different and not all the same – in our appearance, our thoughts, our opinions, our likes and dislikes. Being different is not threatening; it is not bad, it is just different. Embrace the differences and be happy for the variety. Likewise, forget the concepts of right and wrong. People are not good or bad or right or wrong; they just are. If you were in their shoes maybe you would act differently – or maybe not. Being judgmental wastes time and cuts you off from opportunities and meaningful relationships – because you are not perfect either, and your judgment might be worse than the person’s you are judging!
Respect. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your rights are the only ones that count. Don’t ignore the other person’s rights. Our fundamental right is to be respected. Being wealthy does not make a person more deserving of respect and neither does a high-flying career with a fancy title. Respect is not about material issues or where one sits on the social ladder. Respect is acknowledging another human being’s dignity and treating them how you wish to be treated yourself. We all came on to this earth equal and we’re all checking out as equals. What happens in between is just a series of different life experiences. The poor man who lives in a slum, who cares for strangers, volunteers assistance without expecting anything in return and lives a clean, honest life is more deserving of respect than a wealthy businessman who dresses in fine clothes, lives in a huge mansion, and treats everyone like pond amoeba, cheats on his wife, swindles his shareholders and has forgotten how to tell the truth.
Be a Good Listener. How often do you really listen to other people? How often do you plan what you are going to say next while they are talking, or allow your mind to drift off onto something else instead of concentrating on their every word? It takes practice to be a good listener, but in being one, you are showing respect and are in a position to better comprehend the real message being given to you. You can avoid misunderstandings and missed instructions. Furthermore, the other person will appreciate your attention and return the courtesy.
Be interested – not interesting. This goes hand in hand with being a good listener. People love to talk about themselves and will delight in the opportunity to do so, so ensure you ask questions and take an interest in what they are telling you. Don’t worry about them hogging the limelight – you can have your turn during the conversation. Have you ever met someone who only talks about him or herself? Count the number of times you use “I” in your conversations. Judging, arguing points, interrupting the conversation, and using “I” a lot are sure signs you need to review your communication skills.
Respond from Your Heart. We tend to respond to others using our head, not our heart. We formulate stories about us, we defend our ego, or we judge other people or what they have said. If we respond from our heart, we can respond with understanding and a sense of connection. Find something good to say about people and to people. Build people “up” – don’t knock them down. Go with your gut instincts.