Last week I read Chris Cleave's novel Gold, about two rival cyclists training for the Olympics. One of the most compelling characters was their coach. During that same week, I happened to watch a few episodes of Friday Night Lights, featuring the trials and tribulations of football coach Eric Taylor. And one day at work, I had a conversation with a shop customer who makes her living as a business coach.
With all of these coaches crossing my path in the same week, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of coaching. When I hear the word coach, the first thing that comes to mind is sports, and having never played any, I've never had a coach in that sense. Or any sense, really. When I hear about life coaches and whatnot, I kind of cringe, to be honest. The phrase just sounds cheesy to me.
But then again, what does a coach do? The sports coaches in Gold and Friday Night Lights do much more for their athletes than just monitor their physical training and develop a strategy for winning trophies, and that must be true for real life sports coaches as well. The good ones, anyway, have to figure out what each individual athlete needs psychologically to achieve the best performance possible. What motivates one person toward greatness might not work for someone else. And in the case of a team, the coach has to figure out how to make all the different personalities work together. What these coaches do doesn't sounds cheesy to me at all. It sounds like a lot of hard, helpful work.
So why wouldn't the same be true for other kinds of coaches? Hearing my customer who is a business coach talk about her work, I recognized that she does the same thing--help people reach their goals. She figures out their strengths and weaknesses, and helps them get from where they are to where they want to be. She does this in the context of small businesses, but I guess a life coach just does the same thing in the context of...well, life. Who couldn't use a little guidance like that?
I could use some guidance, but I'm in no position to hire someone to coach me. But something else I also came across recently was this post from Holly over at Sweetheartville. The book she mentioned sounded like it was right up my alley. While my local library didn't have that one, Goodreads showed me one that seemed very similar, called The Renaissance Soul. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know how much I struggle with juggling so many projects and pastimes. So a book that can help me "thrive on many interests without feeling scattered" sounds like just the kind of coaching I can use. I've picked up the book from the library and plan to spend a lot of time with it this weekend. I'll let you know how it is!