I live in Northern California which means I live in the shadow of the corporation called Apple. Apple leads all public companies with a $2.08 trillion market cap. In 2018 it was valued at $1 trillion. That’s some amazing growth. It is easy to think they can never be stopped and they have always been this way.
But not so.
On August 6th, 1997 Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy and it was a $150 million investment by their nemesis Microsoft Corporation that kept them afloat. I have a friend who is an engineer for Apple. He is very tight-lipped about what he does. Because what he is doing now, I’m not going to even know it existed until 12-18 months from now.
Nothing lasts and nothing gets better without a whole lot of intentionality and work. We all are braking, coasting or accelerating.
You’re reading this because you’re a coach. You’ve been equipped to be a coach by learning, doing, observing and experiencing coaching. Every one of those things was critical to get you where you are right now as a coach. But at this moment something is true: you’re either moving forward or you’re falling backward in your coaching skillset, mindset and impact. Although braking and coasting are distinctly different, they end up with the same result – slowing down. And if you keep slowing down, eventually you stop.
Let’s look at these three things a little more closely.
Braking happens both internally and externally. Internal braking is when you stop engaging with coaching in your life. You don’t utilize the skills and shifts in thinking you learned in your coach training. You are questioning whether coaching is really for you or perhaps have decided to go a different route. You’ve put on the brakes and you’re not going to be a coach. The best indication your internal brakes are on is you aren’t coaching others.
There is also external braking. This is where you are experiencing the resistance to your hopes and dreams as a coach. You’re not getting clients. You can’t find people to pay you for your coaching. You’re struggling to find your niche. You are not special or unique when you are experiencing this kind of external brake. You are experiencing the thing called resistance.
If you find yourself in this place, here are two suggestions: First – struggle together. Find a couple of other people who are struggling to bring their dreams alive too and support each other. Second – read or listen to Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art where he addresses resistance head-on. You will find valuable insight on how to handle and overcome resistance.
Coasting is the easiest place to convince ourselves where we are. And before I talk about the danger of coasting, let me affirm the value of coasting. Unfettered exponential growth is a fallacy. Nobody and nothing grow this way. Growth happens in spurts with plateaus (aka “coasting”) where the new is processed, integrated, assimilated and takes over the old. It is necessary and important to coast. The most common time of coasting is after you have done intensive learning. That is called coasting downhill.
Coasting is only valuable if there is intentionality in it. Any learning you engage in you should have a dedicated notes page called “Key Concepts”. It will be filled with those “Aha” moments when you were engaged in your learning exercise. Intentional coasting is when you take ten minutes to review your Key Concepts at least weekly for the two months following the intensive learning. This is how your brain assimilates the new learning.
The danger of coasting is it only helps us grow for a short amount of time. If you don’t do something new, you eventually start braking. We live in a world of gravity and friction. It is a law of the physical world but also is true spiritually and intellectually. Gravity and friction are forces that pull us down and slow us down. The only counter to them is acceleration. If they aren’t countered, you’re going to end up laying down and stopping.
I drive a black Ford F150 pickup. I really like it. It has a 26-gallon gas tank. It has a computer that tells me what my gas mileage is. I turn off that screen. Every time I go to the gas station, I am reminded that it costs me to accelerate. But that is why my pickup exists! To not accelerate is to come to a standstill. To stop. But I have places to go and things to do! So, I accelerate. And I pay the price.
If you want to grow in your effectiveness and impact as a coach, you’re going to have to invest in accelerating. If you want to use coaching to be part of what God is doing in the world, it is going to cost you. It is not a cost without benefit, for sure. But it is a cost. And you won’t get the benefit without first paying the cost. A lot of people want benefits without costs. It doesn’t work that way.
Accelerating is all about intentionally engaging in learning, doing, observing and experiencing coaching. And this is why CAM exists – to help you continue accelerating forward so you are consistently coaching at a professional level. When you choose to invest in yourself by being equipped by CAM you are choosing to not brake or coast but to accelerate forward.
If you aren’t moving forward, you’re slowing down and in danger of stopping. What are you doing – braking, coasting, or accelerating?