The Role Of A Coach

Some of the people I have learned the most from in my life have been coaches. Sure, I’ve had mentors along the way who have walked me through valuable life learning experiences. But when it comes to skills that I’m trying to develop, most times there’s been a coach.

When we are kids playing team sports, we have a coach. Even individualized sports like gymnastics have coaches. I had great basketball coaches growing up and when it comes to diving hard into triathlon, I had an amazing coach for my Ironman training year.

As an adult, having a coach walk me through the Ironman process was invaluable. I was able to ask questions and stay on track with the goals my coach had set for me. Yes, it cost me monthly to have a coach, but it was worth it. I didn’t want to waste my money and I also wanted to improve and ultimately cross the finish line. At the end of the day, this is what I had…

Coach = Accountability, teacher and guide to the task at hand.

Something I love about a good coach is this… They may not be the best at what they are coaching, but they are the best in coaching someone to be the best at what they are trying to do.

Meaning… Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers of all time. But his coach helped him get there. Does that make his coach the greatest golfer of all time? No but it does make him a great coach in getting his athletes to winning the game. Do you know the names coaches of the greatest athletes in the world? I know very few of them. But you know great athletes have coaches. How about some business leaders or entrepreneurs you look up to? Most times they don’t get there on their own. Someone has been coaching and advising them along the way.

Most football, baseball, basketball, running, cycling coaches where never the best athletes in their field, but they know how to coach greatness when they see it. Which in my mind is the beauty of a coach. Some one how knows what it takes to be the best and can pull it out of who they are coaching.

Make sense?

But let’s talk about you for a minute and your role as being the one who is coached. The one being coached only completes the goal by doing the work it takes to meet the end result. For some it’s finishing the race, not just winning the race. For others it’s increasing productive by 10%.

No matter what, you have to do the work, stay on task and not only see the end result, but also get there. It’s up to you in end, no one else.

That’s why the older I get, the more focused I get on where I want to be in my professional life and my personal life. I’m looking for people who will show me the way. Teach me their best practices and help me get to my goal.

I’ve found the more I try to attempt things on my own, the bigger risk I take in missing something very important that could make a huge positive difference in the results I’m wanting to see.

Think back to when you have had a coach of any kind. What moments stick with you and what abilities did you gain that you still use today?

I’ve had some huge life lessons from coaches growing up. My favorite was from my high school basketball coach. “Don’t let the play get in the way of the game.”

But even more recently, having a triathlon coach keep me accountable to preparing for some big races taught me a lot about determination and always wanting to learn more so I could be better at the sport.

I’ve also had people coach me through the way of social media, which in the most recent years have taken me further in life than I could have even imagined personally and professionally.

Learning from others is worth it. Having different coaches in my life has been invaluable.

If you had the chance to hire a coach today, what area of your life would you need coaching?


The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • Justin Lukasavige

    I love this, Spence. Ever since I hired my first coach five years ago, I’ve countless more. It’s the fastest way for me to get ahead (or stay current sometimes) and has always been worth the money. 

    • Spence Smith

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s always worth the price of getting ahead and staying current. By the way! we need to grab coffee soon!

      • Justin Lukasavige

        I’d love to. Shoot me an email.

  • Melissa O’Connor

    I really liked this post. I’ve found that the best leaders I have worked with have proven themselves to be coaches as well.

    • Spence Smith

      I have found the same thing. Thanks for the comment!

  • Justinmmanga

    The best coach of them all Jesus Christ 

  • Lynne

    Resisting a coach is my problem, as my husband (who was a national champion wrestler) once told me I was “uncoachable.”  In fifth grade softball, I ignored the coach when I was pitching and got pulled immediately.  I’ve had to work on this attitude to be open to others and the radical idea that maybe, just maybe, I DON’T know it all.

  • Dave Anderson

    The best coaches always told me what I needed to hear, not just what I wanted to hear.  Today leaders tend to error on the side of watered down advice instead of clear, straight forward coaching.

    Bring back a little more Bob Knight into the equation.  His players loved him and there was never any question where they stood with him.  As a leader, can I say the same?

    • Spence Smith

      wow… that’s a powere statement and reminder about Bob Knight. I agree.
      thanks for the comment!

  • Travis Robertson

    This is a phenomenal post, Spence! As a coach, I always love telling my clients that I have hired numerous coaches throughout my career and I STILL have a coach that I pay every single month.

    Free advice simply means I don’t have skin in the game and no real reason to follow through. By paying my coach, I force myself to commit to changing or I just wasted a LOT of money.

    I remember when I was staring out and I had to make the decision to hire a coach. I kept wanting to wait until I had revenue from my new business before I paid a coach. As I was sitting there one day, I remember thinking, “What am I waiting for? Waiting until I make money before hiring a coach is like waiting until I break 80 before hiring a golf coach. There’s only one way to break 80 and only one way to get this business up and running quickly and that’s to hire someone who can help me expedite my learning.”

    I hired a coach the next day and haven’t looked back. Great post!

    • Spence Smith

      Thanks, Travis. That really means a lot coming from you. I’ve loved the way you have done things and influenced people to not settle.
      I’m sure the people you coach get more than they ever thought from you which is the way it should be:)
      I owe so much to the coaches I’ve had in my life and you are right. Why wait!!!
      So… Here’s to the coaches in our lives that have made the difference… And here’s to paying it forward:)
      Thanks again Travis.

  • livingwithpower

    I’m just thinking and applying ALL the great tips you coached me on yesterday. I’m telling you, it’s gonna work! I’m so excited about the future on my blog. Just wanted you to know that!! Sign up with Spence if you haven’t already. He knows his stuff!

    • Spence Smith

      thanks Lina!!!! i had a blast going through all of this with you and am really excited to see where you go with everything you want to do!

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