Soccer coach or Life Coach?

I grew up playing soccer and softball, so from age 5 to age 22, I have pretty consistently been coached in that context.  I have had some good coaches, who built me up and helped me to feel confident;  and some not so good ones, where I felt I was fighting with them every step of the way.  At least two of my coaches were blood relatives, but I won’t tell you which category they fell into.

So what does it mean to be a soccer coach?  And how does it feel to be coached by a soccer coach?  And does this have anything to do with Life Coaching?  Below I’m going to share the qualities that, in my experience, make a good soccer coach.  For each one, I’ll talk about how this applies or does not apply to Life Coaching. 

Knows a broad set of drills that help players develop specific skills

As a Life Coach, I also have a set of tools, which I’ve learned and practiced in my coaching program.  I work with my clients to determine where they are, and find the tool or tools that will help facilitate growth and insight.  Some of these may be more comfortable for some clients than others, and that’s ok.  When using a new tool, I always want my clients to know that its ok to be a messy learner;  nothing you share is wrong.

Meets the players where they are, without judgment

I meet my clients where they are, and ask that they take a leap of faith when using some of the tools.  Nothing they say to a life coach is good or bad, it is just more information.  There are times when we might work using more abstract tool, where I ask them to describe the first thing that comes to mind – without judgment, without taking the time to think of something “good.”  Whatever comes up is just fine.

At practices, notices areas of struggle, and shares their observations and gives direction

As a coach, my goal is to be present, curious, and observant.  I listen deeply to my clients, point out things they say that pique my interest, and ask them to say more.  I know from my experience being coached that it can be so valuable to have another person, someone who is outside of the situation and is not attached to any outcome, to reflect what they hear and see.  That being said, I will not be not nearly as directive as a soccer coach;  I do not tell anyone what to do.  Instead, I ask deeper questions and teach tools my clients need to find their own direction.

Notices patterns that emerge over time, and shares their observations

I like to meet my clients once a week, but at the very least once every two weeks.  Once we establish a regular cadence, I will begin to pick up on any repeating patterns in their thoughts that I might not pick up on in an individual session.  There can be some interesting insights in uncovering any chronic painful thoughts, and there are also tools for dissolving these thought patterns and intentionally replacing them with something that is more true.

Cheers the players on, celebrating victories and improvements

I am 100% on my client’s side.  That being said, I’m not attached to a particular outcome.  I might coach women in technology, but I’m not hell bent on making sure they don’t leave the field.  I might coach a single parent with young children, but I’m not invested in them adopting a parenting style that I personally endorse.  I am a guide, not an enforcer.

Identifies players that are a good match for their team, usually through a tryout

The best way to see if we are a match is to start with a free 30-minute consultation.  I’ll not do any coaching in this session, but I will try to get a sense of what your goals are, what areas of your life you’re looking to improve, and answer any more questions you have about what is involved in working with a coach.  After this consultation, we can decide together if we want to move forward.  Since my goal is to be of service, I am looking for mutually beneficial relationships;  if I sense that another coach or program could be of greater service to your needs, I will certainly share that with you.

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