Guest post by David Dellanave
For some reason a topic that seems to be making the rounds on social media is coaches themselves hiring coaches to coach them on things they could ostensibly coach themselves on.
This has been met with derision in the comments. The idea being that if they're such a great coach why can't they coach themselves? I saw one person who literally said "I wouldn't hire you as a coach now that I know you can't help yourself."
And it perfectly illustrates the disconnect most people have with regards to coaching, and frankly why so many people will wallow in mediocrity for the rest of their lives.
There are dozens of reasons why it's great that coaches hire coaches, but I want to focus on the absolute most fundamental first.
If coaching and being coached were simply about the transfer of information from one who knows things to someone who doesn't know things then indeed coaches would never need coaches. In fact we wouldn't need coaches at all, an article would suffice.
But it's not.
Information is maybe 0.01% of the equation.
The rest of it is the blend of art and science between external feedback, judgement, and guidance.
By definition you can't give yourself external feedback. Even in something as strictly simple and narrow in scope as movement coaching, watching videos of yourself is useful but limited because of your own unconscious bias to only be able to see what you expect to see.
Taking in that external feedback the judgement and guidance provided by an outside coach isn't necessarily or inherently going to be correct - they could very well be wrong in how they call it - but the important thing is that it's consistent. We're all guilty of second guessing and falling prey to our own whims and follies. But when you hand over some of that responsibility to someone outside of yourself you have accountability to see it through - wrong or right - to the end.
In case that weren’t reason enough, there’s another reason why being coached enhances a coach’s ability, and doesn’t detract from it.
Coaching like any other professional endeavour is the application of systems and processes to achieve an outcome. Over time every coach develops their own methods by taking things they’ve learned that they’ve found useful and discarding the rest. The downside to this is that a coach can become entrenched in their methods, even though they work very well and not be expanding their potential. Hiring a coach themselves brings in an outside perspective and new methods that they’re forced to acknowledge and actually test drive. This is turn expands their own practice and knowledge.
Related to expanding one’s knowledge base, an expert understands the specificity and limitations of their expertise. You may be a great fat loss coach, but that doesn’t mean you’re a great muscle building coach. Instead of pushing forward with your limited knowledge bringing on an expert at muscle building allows you to get the best possible coaching as well as expanding your base of knowledge and expertise. Regardless of whether or not you’re ever going to coach on muscle building, expanding your knowledge of that domain makes you a better coach overall.
In short, if you can't see why a good coach would hire someone outside of themselves the failing is not on the coach: it's you. What you do with that is up to you, maybe question your assumptions and re-examine your approach and you'll be able to reap the benefits that literally countless successful athletes, business people, actors, speakers, writers, and people in every other profession you can imagine have realized by getting coaching whether or not they could also act as a coach. Or don't.