By Michelle Martin
As the Coaching Coordinator for HopeNet in Wichita, Kansas, I am often asked to give examples of reasons someone would benefit from working with a coach. In my experience, there is a common experience to most people in one season or another throughout their lives. One word that seems to be repeatedly incorporated in each person’s reason for seeking the coaching process is…. stuck. Being stuck can sometimes be brief and moving on can be the result of just a small bit of effort. Other times, being stuck may seem almost paralyzing, insurmountable and nothing seems to help.
During winters in Kansan, most of us have the common experience of snow….and getting stuck in it. Road experts tell us there are some basic rules of how to avoid or overcome this unpleasant and frustrating circumstance. I was reading an article by Jefferson Bryant about what to do to keep your car from getting stuck in the snow and I saw a lot of parallels to the coaching process. These are the parallels I drew from Bryant’s article:
1. “Don’t stop!
When sliding on ice toward a slush pile or snow drift, don’t stop!” Your momentum may carry you through it and on to an area where you regain your traction and avoid a complete standstill. A coach will also encourage you to keep moving. Even small progress is movement and carries you closer to regaining your traction.
2. “Don’t spin the wheels.”
When you find yourself in the definite stuck mode, working with a coach can keep you from just spinning the wheels, getting nowhere fast and even being counterproductive. In other words, coaching can assist you in applying the power properly. Sometimes, small efforts applied in a well-planned, strategic manner can be most effective in getting back on the road toward progress.
3. “Shift to low.”
Coaching clients may find a deliberate shifting to low helps. Slow power brings greater control of your direction and places you on a faster route to reach the intended destination.
4. “Turn off the traction control.”
That does not seem to make sense. Sometimes, through an awareness revealed in coaching, you gain insight and what seems counter-intuitive is exactly what is needed to move forward.
5. Repeated Action of Rocking.
Perseverance can be the difference between failure and success. Sometimes it can be just keeping on keeping on. A coach will work with you to stay energized, see value in your efforts and maintain focus on your goals.
6. “Use traction devices.”
Sometimes, to get unstuck and moving toward our destination, we need to gather tools, supplies or even skills. Conversations and evaluations with a coach can bring those to light and a plan can be created.
7. “Let some air out.”
Letting some air out of your tires widens them and increases their traction area. Sometimes through coaching, you realize internal pressure is working against you and a little relaxation is in order. Balance can sometimes get lost under pressure. Reflection with a coach can produce valuable insight. Stress and tension are energy drainers; peace and relaxation can actually add to your energy and effectiveness.
8. Dig your way out.
Through skilled conversations with a coach, you may realize you have made incredible progress but there’s still hard work ahead. The encouragement a coach can bring to the table may be the extra “umph” you need to complete your herculean goal! “Digging in with intentional intensity,” “targeted digging deep” may be the necessary strategy to reignite your determination.
9. If all else fails….
What it takes for you to get unstuck may be calling in assistance. Processing with a coach may help you determine who to call, what to delegate, how to ask and perhaps even what it is going to cost you.
When/why would someone work with a coach?
Since I prefer to keep my answers small on the surface yet vast in depth, simple with multiple applications, I will give this answer: One should work with a coach…. when you are stuck. That is a simple answer with a broad application. Consider working with a coach…. whenever, however you find yourself not moving forward or wondering if stuck is where you are headed and want to collaborate with a coach to avoid your goals being delayed or going off your intended course.