Coaching and running are inborn
As we are born to run, so we are born to coach and be coached. Just look at small children. They run all over the place all the time and they are immensely curious. They continually ask all kinds of questions and enjoy new things, exploring their possibilities. However, somewhere in the process of growing up, we lose this natural inborn talent and start doing the opposite. We sit a lot, not moving our body or using our brain. Instead of questioning, we are either giving or receiving orders. Then we wonder why our health, relationships and work productivity are suffering.
I was not a runner when I was younger - the total opposite, in fact. I didn’t like physical education when I was at school. It was the one subject I despised the most. Running came into my life much later, about 10 years ago, when I was in my late thirties. The initial spark was my poor physical condition. I began slowly and now I run almost daily. Then, last Fall, I completed a full marathon!
At the same time, I learned about coaching and found I was immersing myself in two important areas of my life. It was at this point that the process of my transformation and growth started. Then one day it suddenly struck me – they are so similar! I could see the connection between them. Coaching and running have a lot in common, much more than you would think at first glance. In my case, they reinforce each other:
- As I mentioned above, we are born to do both of them, they are our inborn qualities.
- If you want to succeed in life, you need both: the physical condition you get from running and the emotional, mental and spiritual guidance you get from coaching.
- After a running or coaching session, you are able to see things much more clearly, reaching your own conclusions quicker. The pathway is clearly different (physical vs. mental and emotional), but the result is the same.
- Both give you the energy and motivation you seek.
- They are both processes. They both have a clear beginning and ending. There are hills and slopes, ups and downs, obstacles in both processes. You have to overcome them and in doing so, you feel great, allowing another boost of energy and motivation to kick in.
- They are both processes where you have to use certain principles or you get hurt.
- The more you run or coach, the better you become and want to do even more of it. And if you run with somebody else, you run faster!
- With the help of a coach, you reach your goals faster, solving problems more speedily than you would by yourself.
- I practice both of them almost every day. I am a passionate runner and I try to live by the principles of coaching in both my business and private life.
Running and coaching have enabled me to reconnect with myself and my life. As a result, I feel great and am grateful for this.
Frustration is the mother of invention
My business is in training and consulting. Working with people, helping them to improve and achieve better results faster, is my passion. However, when I was doing around 100 days of training per year, I couldn’t see the level of improvement I expected. It was frustrating to put all my energy, skills and knowledge into the work I loved, but see only mediocre or, at best, average results. For me, that was somewhat disappointing. I have great stories of personal improvement, transformation and success in my career, but I was still not satisfied. Consequently, I was searching for a better, more effective approach.
My coaching journey begins in London
My first important turning point was reading the book “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore in 2007. At that time, in my country Slovenia, the term ‘coaching’ started to become a buzz word. Lots of people proclaimed themselves as coaches, but nobody knew exactly what that entailed. I was intrigued and after reading his inspirational book, I joined John Whitmore's training sessions at Performance Consultants International (PCI) in London.
This process put me on a journey of discovery and personal transformation, for which I will always be grateful to PCI, all their fellow coaches and authors whose books I have read. These include ‘Stakeholders Centered Coaching’ by Marshal Goldsmith and International Coach Federation (ICF), where I was awarded my coaching certificate. All coaches should spread the word and I have done this with the help of the ICF Legacy video series.
Never walk alone
I now know that if you want to make a change in behavior, you have to coach people in this process. Marshall Goldsmith, a prominent leadership and coaching expert, outlined that clearly in his article Leadership is a contact sport and in his prominent book What Got You Here, Won’t Got You There. This is a must-read for any corporate coach.
Today, I not only coach people, but use coaching principles in all aspects of both my professional and personal life. I have incorporated them in all facets of my life, especially business. I have used them in selling, training and counseling. Not only when I do »real coaching«, but I have also used coaching skills in parenting, to become a better parent. I cannot imagine developing the good relationships I have with my teenagers without using the coaching skills I now possess.
Coaching for parenting and partnering
There has also been an impact on my personal life as well, since I started using these skills both professionally and personally. As a father of 6 children, utilizing the coaching principles has been very useful, especially when dealing with teenagers. I have three teenagers at present, with another three not far off. I can tell you that coaching principles have enabled me to be a better parent and helped me through some difficult moments with my teenagers. Coaching for me has been truly life changing and transforming. Coaching really works!
I believe that I have also become a better husband in the process. In the past, I was the one giving my wife advice about what to do - sometimes even before she had finished her explanation. I was very much into giving advice, but not to listening. I can honestly say that I am a much better listener now, which has immensely improved our relationship.
Professionally I have made a transformation as well. I used to be a demanding trainer – you do it this way (my way – giving instructions, stating how to make plans, etc.) or you go highway. Now I am in transition to trainer-coach, even when I do training sessions. This has had an impact on my training as well. Participants like it much better and they are achieving better results. In doing training sessions with individuals at executive level, you can almost immediately see the impact on a person being coached. Their feedback, together with the knowledge that you have helped another person, is very rewarding. My transition, however, is not yet finished, but I’m making some progress every day and what I see is encouraging.
The network is spreading
Alongside this, I have developed a network of friends, coaches and partners from all over the world, most of which are from Europe. We use Skype or conference coaching on a regular basis. The benefits you get from being regularly coached by another certified coach are amazing. I am always surprised what comes out of a coaching session on a topic I thought I had already figured out. After such a coaching session, it is always easier to see a better view, idea or way to do something.
This has led me to my current project – a Coaching movie. Through my contacts, I have come to know Patryk Wezowski and his inspiring idea to transform 1,000,000 lives through the use of the movie. You all know what a great effect the media and movies have in shaping our ideas and concepts. This gives us an opportunity to make our world a better place. You can join this movement as well by clicking on Coaching movie. I know that coaching is the leadership and, as far as I am concerned, parenting style of the future. If you want to get the best from your colleagues or teenagers, you should start coaching them. So let's spread the word!
I am looking forward to continuing my coaching journey. I am sure there will be many other projects along my path and a lot of stories of success. But, please, don’t forget: find your analogy. I have found mine. Coaching and running are necessary for development.