Put Me In, Coach!

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I was an avid fan of the television show Friday Night Lights a few years back. I loved the affectionate yet realistic portrayal of Texas, my home state, and its near-pathological love of high school football. The characters are all well-drawn and authentic, but the nerve center of the show is Coach Tim Taylor, who led two different football teams to be the very best they could be. Fans of the show know his signature mantra, which offers wisdom for on the field and off:

Coach Taylor has been on my mind recently, as I work on my certification as a personal and professional coach through the International Coach Federation. I’ve attended sixty hours of training, will soon start a stint with a mentor coach, and am accumulating hours coaching clients. When the process is completed, I will be an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

The kind of coaching I do is different from Coach Taylor in some important ways. An athletic coach is directive, calling the plays and demanding results. A personal or professional coach’s job is to help a client identify goals and develop a strategy for meeting those goals. Coaches draw out the wisdom, creativity, and resourcefulness of their clients, helping them break through resistance and map a way forward.

As a pastor in a new church several years ago, I worked with a ministry coach for several months. This person helped me figure out a plan for managing my new role, and kept me accountable to the hard work that we often find every excuse not to do. I was much more likely to do a tough task because I knew “Coach B” would ask about it when we met!

My job as a coach is to listen deeply, ask good questions, and help clients learn to manage the stuff that’s getting in the way of meeting a goal, whether that goal is to become more effective on the job, find better work-life balance, parent with greater intention, etc. Here’s an article about what coaching does.

In today’s newsletter, I am practicing what Amanda Palmer calls “the art of asking.” Most of us love to help others, and find it much harder to ask for help ourselves. And yet doesn’t it feel good to help someone? Why would we deprive others of that satisfaction?

In that humble spirit, here are my modest “asks”: 1. I invite you to like my Facebook page, ZOOM! Coaching, where you will receive periodic links, wisdom, announcements and challenges. 2. If you’re interested in receiving coaching—or you want to learn more about it—I invite you to schedule a trial appointment. Coaching appointments take place by phone or video conference and are usually 45-50 minutes. I offer the first one for free--this way, we get to know one another, try out the coaching relationship, and see if it's a good fit. No obligation. If the client wishes to continue, we then talk about number of sessions, fees, etc. You can access my calendar at https://zoomcoaching.setmore.com or email me at mamd@yall.org. 3. If you know someone who might be interested in or benefit from coaching, I invite you to forward this message to them and have them get in touch me.

I am excited to add “coach” to my roles as writer, author, and speaker. And as always, I thank you for being on the path with me.

Peace, joy and Yes, MaryAnn

P.S. Bonus links!

  1. I'm on the aijcast podcast this week, talking art, inspiration and justice with Marthame Sanders. Was an honor to be on his show!
  2. This blog post about body image and my own athletic journey got a big response.
  3. My latest Ten for Tuesday: an assortment of links, videos and other goodies.