In times when we see tragedy, senseless violence, and hate towards innocent people, coaching might seem to be insignificant. How arrogant and narcissistic it might seem for coaches to think that what we do can have impact on a world with so many complex, seemingly unsolvable problems.
After all, coaching is not designed to coach those who are not coachable. A coach could not use coaching skills to convince a mass murderer or terrorist to think differently, not if the other person is already committed to harming others and is not even close to being coachable. Nor could we coach an organization whose mission it is to enslave, torture, maim, and kill.
Nevertheless, I would like to suggest three ways that coaching can help in times like these.
First, we can coach people who are confused, angry, and not sure how to react to what is going on in the world today. We don’t provide the answers, but we can ask questions and share insights to help people get grounded, discover their strengths, and have maximum impact on the world. In seemingly mad times, more people want to live to do something that matters, and we can help these people get clarity and find the strength to make a difference.
Second, we can coach leaders of organizations that are on the side of peace, love, and service. These can be businesses, non-profits, schools, and government agencies. As long as the leaders of these organizations are coachable and want to achieve their most noble aspirations, we can help them realize their missions. As coaches, we can choose our clients, and make sure that we spend at least some of our time working with leaders and organizations that are helping the world become better. If we can’t find paying clients, we can volunteer our gifts to organizations that we believe are making a difference. There are many.
Third, the best coaches understand what it means to lead. We know how to influence, how to work with others for an outcome bigger than ourselves, and how to persist despite challenges. We can use these skills to be more than the shadow leaders that we are in our profession, and to actually lead. Speak out. Write. Take voluntary leadership roles in organizations that are making a difference and help them be better. Rally the people in your network and convene people to discuss issues and solve problems. Make connections and build coalitions. Lead!
Indeed, as coaches, we can be a force to be reckoned with, one by one and together.
We are blessed and privileged to be coaches. Let’s use our profession, humbly, to make a difference in these trying times.