*SPOILER ALERT* You know the answer.
Teachers, managers, parents, personal trainers, sports personnel and physical, psychological or sports massage therapists, along with many other leadership roles and/or professional practices, all have one thing in common: they all possess the potential to be coaches.
But what even is coaching? Coaching is about providing people with the tools, education and encouragement to maximise their potential. This is achieved by guiding individuals to understand how and why to overcome challenges through action-led goal-setting exercises. Coaching is not necessarily just advising others what to do and when to do it, which aligns more to mentorship and instructor-led environments.
In other words, a coach won’t just tell you how to fix your problems, they’ll help you find ways you can fix them for yourself. With that, coaching doesn’t necessarily always need to come from a professional service like an employer or registered physical therapist. Coaching can be seen in mutual social interactions with friends, family and even strangers too. But here we’ll focus more on those professional services, whether we need them or not, and managing our expectations when we invest in coaching.
Finding a good coach can be a tough task. Let’s take sports massage therapists as an appropriate example here to guide us through our discussion. A therapist could just do the physical labour, take your money and book you in for the next session. No harm done. But a coach would guide you through what’s happening during the labour and why, and provide education and accountability for how to manage and understand your body outside of the sessions – this could be through structured exercise programming and self-management techniques.
As a coach, finding a good coachee/client can be an equally tough task. To be coached, it’s important not to just take, take, take from your coach, but also give something back (besides money). As much as a coachee should learn from their coach, a coach should learn from their coachee. The coach-client relationship is mutual and not one-way. No one is uncoachable. But before asking, “do I need coaching?”, first ask, “do I deserve coaching?”, if you’re not willing to put in effort from your end as the coachee. In practice, that effort might manifest as asking inquisitive questions to your coach to enhance your understanding of the service you’re receiving, being honest with your coach, committing to sessions, and being accountable for your physical and mental wellbeing outside of sessions too.
Are you expecting your coach to instantly solve your problems? Going into your first sports massage assuming your injury will be instantly cured probably isn’t the most realistic approach. Managing expectations going into any coaching environment is essential to getting the most out of the experience. Reaching your goal/s can be a long journey, one in which a coach can accompany you to support and enhance your progress, but it’ll always be you in the driving seat.
Do you think any of Cristiano Ronaldo’s coaches have been better at football or in greater physical condition than him? A coach needn’t always be more able or knowledgeable than the person being coached. No matter your skill or education, you don’t know everything. Coaching can provide unique perspectives and support frameworks we may otherwise not consider. Coaches themselves can benefit from coaching.
I could carry on for pages talking about the qualities and value of coaching, but all you probably care about is an answer to the question, “do I need coaching?” Only you can really answer that. I’ve just been your guide from the beginning to the end of this journey of words. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do with them.
MSE Sports & Remedial Massage Content Creator