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Understanding Coaching

19 Oct

Understanding Coaching

Perhaps the best analogy with coaching is understanding the European Missionaries who went to the newly conquered lands from 1400 AD onwards. These were the Spanish, Portuguese, British, and Dutch, mostly white who travelled to Africa.

Despite the damage they did – bringing European diseases, reinforcing Colonialism, and taking land from the indigenous peoples, they also brought science, medicine and education armed only with a Bible, but often backed by a Colonial army.

There is a similar story with the indigenous peoples of the USA. At some stage they must have met doctors, even though they were little more than ‘butchers’ in the early years. The tribe had a ‘Medicine man’ who was responsible for curing the ill – he wouldn’t have been too impressed when he found out he had competition. Also within those tribes, only the Chief had power – a ‘squaw’ could hardly call a doctor, even if her ‘brave’ or child was dying. Money was also a problem – from my understanding indigenous ‘Indians’ bargained and swapped valuable items – a successful MD may have been offered a chief’s daughter or a pony.

Both the Missionaries and the MD’s interacting with indigenous Americans do the same as coaches – neither has a tangible product. Missionaries and Coaches sell beliefs – doctors sell relief.

So how did they do it?

  1. I presume the first thing is they came to the people, rather than expect the people to come to them.
  2. They lived among the people – their motives where on show – they showed they were there for the long term
  3. They established trust, especially with the local leaders
  4. They gave first – they helped with infant mortality – they brought medicine
  5. They shared their knowledge
  6. They assisted with the Coloniser’s language
  7. They helped with food production – they introduced new crops
  8. They learnt the local language
  9. They established schools
  10. They employed local people to build schools, churches
  11. They won the hearts and minds of the people

I am sure that not all attempts were successful, and I’m sure some of the missionaries would have been massacred, but all in all they were successful in converting the local people to Christianity.

So fast forward several centuries – how to apply what they did to the 21st Century?

  1. You have to come to the people – you have to be visible – people have to see you, even on TV, but more importantly in person – Tony Robbins holds massive gatherings, but note his fame doesn’t transfer to other coaches – people want him! In Perth an organisation called Authentic Education holds free seminars – they need 5 people to pay and they can cover costs.
  2. We can’t live among the people, but knowing where you are, your motives and whether you are there for them is important. Having Social Media accounts and a website is important.
  3. Trust is still important and if you can get a local or well known leader on board that will help enormously.
  4. You have to give first – it’s a universal human law – give information on your website, do podcasts, write blogs.
  5. Share your knowledge – offer to coach for free for a short time.
  6. Know your audience and speak their language where possible.
  7. Help the people achieve the results that they want. The more extraordinary the results the more referrals you will get.
  8. People want something – mostly money, which many think will buy happiness. Achievement, success and recognition give most people a great ‘lift’.
  9. In humans, fear is a greater motivator than pleasure – find the ‘pain points’ and stress them.
  10. Try to win the hearts and minds of your potential clients.

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Good luck on your journey