“Now, Dad had tried to teach my brothers, never try to be better than somebody else, just try to be the best you can be, never cease trying to be the best you can be.”
— Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden
Like teachers, coaches are known through the achievements of the people they work with rather than what they produce on their own. A good coach shows insight, patience, persistence and faith in the abilities of others. For years, the great golfer Tiger Woods worked closely with his coach. The famous acting coach Jeff Corey was known for helping greats like Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, Rob Reiner and Leonard Nimoy perform at the very top of their game.
These days you can engage the services of a diet coach, a career coach or a life coach. According to an article in the January 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review, executive coaches – those who advise business leaders – can earn up to $3,500 per hour.
But you don’t have to be a noted athlete or actor to warrant the services of a great coach. Many people starting a business or looking simply to organize their lives more effectively are engaging the services of a coach. Here’s how a good coach can help you attain your goals in 2014:
- He (or she) can help you set priorities: If the road ahead in your life or business career can seem daunting, or if you don’t know what to do first, a coach can help you think through what’s important. The great basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabar once said that UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, taught his players to crawl before they learned to walk.
- He can hold you accountable for your goals: What can be more sobering than a comment like: “Two months ago, you said you’d have your ecommerce website up and running by now. Let’s look at where you are with this important activity.” There’s a magic associated with writing your goals down. An even greater magic occurs when someone you trust and respect recites your goals back to you. A good coach won’t let you off the hook. What he’s doing really is prodding you to honor your own commitment to yourself.
- He can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses: If you’re starting a business, you might fall back on your IT ability or your ability to organize. But a business isn’t a business until it acquires its first customer. If you hide out because you’re afraid to get involved with, say, selling and marketing, you could be finished before you start. A good coach won’t let that happen to you. He’ll remind you where your strengths lie, and show you a how to improve areas in which you’re weak or outsource them.
- A good coach will help you push beyond your comfort zone: Most of us get to a point of some success and then shrink beyond taking it up a notch. The oxygen gets too rarefied up there. A good coach will not let you get complacent. The mantra that drives him to drive you is always: “Good for you! Now where do we go from here?”
So if you want to accomplish ambitious goals in 2014, maybe it’s time to look for outside help. What’s worked for Jack Nicholson and Tiger Woods can work for you too.