I recently moved to a new house in a new city in a new state and of course as a business owner I wanted to connect locally, so I went to a few networking MeetUps, and what did I find…?
Out of 20 people in a Meetup, 14 were coaches of one kind or another!
What the hell was going on here? Had I somehow unknowingly landed in the land where coaches go to die? Or was there some wealth of population so in need of help that all the coaches on the planet somehow magically were drawn to live in this city? And what kinds of coaches were these?
When I looked around further I noticed that there were life and career coaches, executive and leadership coaches. There were coaches who got you out of, or into relationships. There was a Resilience and Positive Psychology, (me) and a few Emotional Intelligence coaches. There was an intuitive coach, and a coach who used reiki and energetic healing in his work. There were coaches for life, Work, Health, Wellness, Happiness and Desire, there was a coach who worked with crystals and another who was guide by angels and even a coach for your pets. (Don’t ask)!
There were coaches who were certified with international organisations, and those of us who are registered with world-wide certification groups, and then there were coaches who were “called” and often trained to do the work, by independent coaches or by intuition and a desire to help other people live better lives.
Consider what resources the people you already know might be able to offer to you.
Afterwards, as I was walking back to my car shaking my head and thinking that coaches were now the “Starbucks” of the professional world, with “one on every corner…”, I wondered how this had come to be.
How is it that our culture, our communities, and we a ourselves feel the need for so many people to coach us in so many different areas of our lives? It wasn’t until later that day, while at the dog-park, that I stumbled upon one possible reason. Connection. Or rather the lack of connection. You know what I’m talking about, it’s the missing piece for most of us, connection to community, connection to family, connection to whatever we do to pay the bills, connection to what we do for our career, our calling and even at times to our friends.
What I saw in the dog-park was a mini-model of what has happened in the world. It seems that we are always “connected”, via cellphones and FB and tweets and all the emails and requirements of talking to people throughout the day- but what was missing that day in the park, was real, person-to-person conversation. The dialog between people that allows us to experience deep and real connections with others and with ourselves.
“CONNECTION. OR RATHER THE LACK OF CONNECTION. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, IT’S THE MISSING PIECE FOR MOST OF US, CONNECTION TO COMMUNITY, CONNECTION TO FAMILY, CONNECTION TO WHATEVER WE DO TO PAY THE BILLS, CONNECTION TO WHAT WE DO FOR OUR CAREER, OUR CALLING AND EVEN AT TIMES TO OUR FRIENDS.”
That day, I noticed that most of the dog owners stood around, alone, not speaking to anyone. Some were watching their dogs, some were talking on the phone or texting or tweeting or otherwise totally oblivious to the group of interesting people surrounding them. And they really were an interesting group! I approached as many people as I could, using my “newbie” status as my “in”, asking each person, what they did and something about themselves. There was a chef, a dog-walker, two execs taking an ad hoc “meeting” together. There was a retiree who was dating a local entrepreneur, and a graphic designer taking an inspiration break.
Surprise! Once people started talking to each other, they started smiling. They smiled while talking to me, they started smiling to each new person who showed up in the park, they started smiling and nodding to each other,
They started talking to each other. A few small groups formed and conversations started, lengthier conversations, not just about the weather.
So how does this relate to why we have so many coaches around these days? Well I thought about how back in my grandfather’s day, if he was pissed at my grandmother for something, he’d head down to his friend’s house to talk, blow off steam, and figure out what to do next. How my mom would meet up with other moms in our neighborhood to get their advice from time to time. How my aunt and I both called on my great-grandmother to answer some of life’s tougher questions, and how my brother always seemed to be surrounded by a gang of boys of varying ages who would argue any crazy idea that came along.
Connection to all these people, conversations in real-time in all these different communities and groups, meant that we “coached” each other. It was easy to find someone to talk to in the moment, to bounce ideas off of, or ask for advice, or commiserate with. In actually talking with others we all became coaches and advisors and students and listeners. We got as much as we gave and we made strong connections with groups larger than our immediate families. We got ourselves connected in ways that felt life-affirming and gave us each a sense of our own knowledge and power and ability to grow.
So though I will always be a big fan of actual, trained coaches who help with specific problems…. I think the next time you step out of your house, or walk out the door at work, maybe start to think about the “coaches” you already might know in your life and how to reconnect with them. All it takes is a smile and an introduction.
You can always start with…. “Hey that’s an awesome dog yah got there….”.
Photo by Amy Kosh