"Coaching - Why?

We tend to think of coaching in terms of sport. From a young age we are exposed to sports coaches whatever discipline we are participating in. As life happens we develop our own ways of doing things – sometimes effective and sometimes downright ineffective. Often, we can be our own worst enemies. Forget the competition, the difficult market conditions etc we are often the problem!

An old business friend, after spending a couple of months assessing my farming business, told me that the biggest problem in my business was ME! At first I was offended – I was doing everything from production, marketing, budgeting, HR , strategic planning etc etc. Therein was the problem – everything had to go through me so I became the bottleneck. It took a while for me to understand what he meant about being the problem and even longer to do something about it. Why?

Well this is probably one of the key questions that needs answering. A good business or life coach will not be afraid to ask why? We have many reasons and justifications for the actions we take or position we find ourselves in, but we don’t like to elaborate on why. This is usually because it means being introspective and looking for reasons within rather than blaming external factors.

My coach threw the sucker punch and asked me why? Then he followed through with a combination punch! What are you going to do about it and when? My coaching journey has lasted a year and during this process Coach and I have been able to develop some systems to tame the beast that is me.

Once you have the honest answer to why, the moving forward can start. It means learning to take accountability for a situation or position you find yourself in and start to implement systems to move you forward. For example, a problem I have is avoidance – Why is the business mediocre or struggling? Well, I do all the nice things of farming but avoid the less pleasant or boring tasks until I absolutely have to do them. By then it is probably too late. Through coaching I have learnt to recognise this self-defeating behaviour and implement process to stop it. I learnt to become intentional about what I need to do.

My system is simple – I take a few minutes every morning to plan and list what needs to be and must be done today. A short prayer time committing the day to God and asking for his guidance sets me up. It is with focussed intention that I proceed to complete the items on the list and what a great feeling it is to tick them off. Coaching is not rocket science or smoke and mirrors or a magic wand. Instead the coach will coax out of you what you probably already know you need to change. He then helps you implement appropriate systems to address whatever needs you have.

My favourite takeaway for the year has been to ‘’sharpen your axe’’. Take time to prepare and you will get the job done so much better. The coaching process is not always easy and it requires of you to commit to making the adjustments and practicing those adjustments day in and day out.

For example, the cricket coach can’t go out and bat for you – he can only help you see what mistakes you are making and help you correct them. Ultimately you have to do the work to correct your technique and then apply yourself out in the middle under pressure. I love cricket especially batting but man, you only get one chance! Once you’re out you’re out! Life is much easier – you can be practicing and implementing simultaneously day in and day out.

Ask yourself, Why?
Answer yourself honestly.
Be intentional about what you want to change and hold yourself accountable.

WHY don’t you have a coach?"
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East London
in the Eastern Cape
of South Africa.

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