There is an interesting story in the Seattle Times about a trend for colleges to teach life coaching. (Should a Life Coach Have Lived Life?) The question is how can these just out of college grads teach life coaching if the subject is life?
Just a feedback mechanism?
The article goes as far as proposing that there is nothing wrong with having a young life coach; they are only charged with helping clients to hear themselves and to hold themselves accountable to articulated goals. I disagree. I believe the role of a coach is broader than only sitting on the phone and listening and keeping someone on track. There are roadblocks to avoid, pitfalls to dodge. An experienced coach will help their coaching students out of these traps.
You don’t know what you don’t know
An old saying we had in Special Operations was, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” We countered this by pairing junior people with senior people. Each specialty had a junior and senior combo; weapons, commo, medical, even the officers. We would never dream of sending out two junior, inexperienced people on a mission alone.
So as not to discriminate against the young, I would add to the statement, “Experience matters” and results matter. Results being the critical component. Look of a coach/mentor that has garnered the results you desire on a consistent basis. You wouldn’t want a lawyer who has only tried a couple cases. If you or someone dear to you need heart surgery, you would not want a surgeon just out of school, you would want one who has perform the procedure many times over.
When I first considered coaching, I made an inventory of life experiences: my military experiences, my world travel, my decades of marriage, battles with every kind of hardship imaginable, business success, my own coaching experience. This inventory convinced me of my value as a coach.
Unfortunately, this trend of thinking that experience doesn’t matter follow the cult of celebrity we have these days. There is a lack of value on substance. While there are no guarantees that years of experience, of having been able to get er done when the chips are down will result always in success, any sort of odds maker will give you much bettor odds on an experienced coach. I think it is ridiculous to claim that experience in whatever subject you are coaching in doesn’t matter.
What do you think? Leave a comment, I read them all.