Coach, instruct and perform

I enjoyed the boxing courses a lot. Since I am a self-motivated person, I only need to get some hints and I’d just beat the sandbag so hard like Captain America.

This short article (I suppose it’s short) was inspired by Seth Godin’s “A coaching paradox” but I think they are otherwise unrelated.

I am a coach myself, I coach people on things like copywriting, management and other things in life (and I was a part-time fitness instructor when young). Coaches don’t do everything technical or physical themselves, but rather provide directions and attitude to achieve the goals.

I wouldn’t call it “right directions” and so on because sometimes there’s no absolutely “right” thing at the moment, just the checkpoints to pass by, and a coach’s job is to make sure the points are reached in time.

For instance, I coached my clients to hold meetings with efficiency but did not push conclusions (I wrote about this here in Chinese).

That’s what most business coaches do when they perform observation, diagnosis, suggestion and assessment. They don’t give specific instructions and they are (mostly) not responsible for the conclusions, but they let you know the goal and facilitate (again, not push) for the resolution.

Instructors give instructions. Step by step.

You see your fitness instructor every week or so without a definite objective like an Olympic gold medal. You just do it for fun, for health or for peace of mind. That’s actually quite nice that you can do good things without a foreseeable finish line.

Last year I was in a boxing aerobics course. Interestingly they call their instructors “performers” and I was amazed (or say amused).

There were about 20 people in the dark, discotheque-style classroom and the “performer” didn’t actually teach anything. He or she just “demonstrated” how to exercise and punch the sandbag in front of you while giving intermittent oral cues.

My guess is that as long as s/he gives only “performance” rather than “instruction”, neither does s/he have to pay attention on how you’d catch up nor how you end up with. Smart.

To be fair, I enjoyed the boxing course a lot; since I am a self-motivated person, I only need to get some hints and I’d just beat the sandbag so hard like Captain America.

Get coached for career, get instructed for life and be a full-swing performer all by yourself.

Originally posted on my English newsletter “Fire in the Foxhole”. You’re invited to subscribe!

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