John La Valle gives advice to those wanting to be coaches, about how to be better at whatever you do - by helping your client get better at whatever it is that they do.
John La Valle, President of the Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
John La Valle,
President of the Society of NLP

Have you noticed how many people these days are wanting to be coaches? We will soon have more coaches than players and the field will still be cluttered with inept players. Why? It's simple: because most people wanting to be coaches (another term for - I think I can help you even though I can't help myself) are doing it because they think it's the next get rich way to do things, the next magic pill for their lackluster career. And then some are really quite talented at what they can do, but aren't doing it for different reasons.

Now I'm not against coaches, of course. I want to see more of them succeed at whatever they are doing. So I've titled this article: What Would YOU Do if ONLY YOU Could? because if there's something that you can do, and you believe that only you can do it the way you do it, which is most obvious to me, anyway, then how can you do that and make money at it?

Doesn't it make sense that someone who is coaching someone else at something ought to have done that "something" themselves? NO!! That's the part that most people are missing! Now in some cases, it's extremely helpful to have knowledge of the activity, but not necessary that the coach can do it or even has done it. Hey, I can't hit a baseball out of the park and never could, but I can watch someone else at the bat and know what to tell them to do so they could do it.

I've enjoyed language and the use of language and how it connects to behavior since I was very young. So, when a company calls and wants a training program based on persuasion and influence, whether it's for their salespeople or their customer service people, I get to do what I do and enjoy it. Now, sometimes, they want me to put together in a program without me finding out what they're already doing. That's what some people would do: put together a training program based on what some generic application of language without first finding out what is there and then what's missing. Seems odd to me, but that's where the difference is for the most successful people I know.

Now let's say that you're a consultant, or coach. What are you the best at? What is it that I want from you as my coach? Most "coaches" I know cannot answer that question. Well, if they don't know what they're good at, then how can they help?

Let's say that you have your own salesforce and are even coaching them for more successful selling. What are they already doing that is working? And then, is there anything they're doing that is not working, or working against them and what's missing? Is it something in their use of modal operators, or misuse of them? Is it the sequencing of their information and the way they connect information to what's relevant to or for the customer, or are they being irrelevant to or for the customer? Do you know? If you don't know, then you don't know.

Now here's the interesting piece of this: If you ask them what they are or are not doing, they'll probably tell you, but you're not there when they're doing it so you'll never know more than they're representation of what they think they are doing or not doing and that's not relevant. Put yourself somehow in the position of being with them when they are interacting with whomever they interact with so that you will know. Anything short of that is shortchanging yourself and them. Period.

Now that's a tough spot to be in, especially as the person being observed: a real test of your professional relationship with them. But even the baseball coach is there during the game, as well as at practice.

So, what is it that a coach is supposed to do and do they have what it takes to do it and are they willing to do what it takes to do it? Interesting questions that can only be answered individually, but there's more. Once the answer to these questions are formed positively, how well can the coach find where or by whom their expertise can be used and when?

So what's with all this coaching? There are opportunities abound and I have always believed that opportunity is knocking each and every moment of each and every day. All you have to do is be present with your eyes and ears and all your senses open so that you'll recognize it when it is there.

So for yourself, what's there, what's missing and What Would YOU Do if ONLY YOU Could?

©2010 John La Valle

Learn more about language patterns and how to use them at our NLP courses, with John La Valle and Dr Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP.


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