Center for Executive Coaching

Why coaches have the best job in the world

The movie Touch the Wall follows the rise of Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin along with the struggles faced by two-time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce to make her third Olympics and keep her USA Swimming funding. It is an inspiring documentary, and the juxtaposition between an up-and-coming phenomenon and a 26-year professional swimmer trying to stay vital in an extremely competitive sport is remarkable.

Throughout much of the movie, we see Kara Lynn struggle. She chooses to swim with Missy Franklin on Missy's age-group team in Denver, a choice that seems to drain her of energy as she gets closer to Olympic trials. There is too much attention on Missy and her rise, and Kara is not getting enough of what she needs for her own professional development as a swimmer. Her performance continues to falter, and she even loses her $30,000 stipend as a professional swimmer when she misses a crucial race cut by just .03 seconds.

As their coach announces one particularly hard workout, Kara breaks down and decides she can't do that work out.

The coach pulls her aside and challenges her mind set. He asks, "Why are you doing this? Why are you swimming?"

At this point, Kara realizes that she has to focus on herself, and not on Missy. She decides to join a team of postgraduate athletes in North Carolina. This decision seems to make the difference, and she ultimately qualifies for her third Olympics.

The camera then focuses in on her coach, and he chokes up, almost breaking down in tears. He says to the audience, "I have the best job in the world." He explains that he gets to work with athletes and sometimes change their lives while helping them get better. 

If you are a coach, or want to be, you should see this movie if only to witness this scene, and the passion that this coach feels. If you are as inspired by coaching as my colleagues and I, you will relate.

In these few moments, the coach shows exactly what it is like to work with someone at a high level of performance, and help them have an insight that can move them to new levels and help them get even better.

Executive and leadership coaches do the same thing, and it is incredibly rewarding. We help already effective people get even better, while helping them overcome feelings of overwhelm, feel more fulfilled and satisfied, get peace of mind, and achieve remarkable results.

For me, it is the best job in the world, too. In my case, I have been blessed to work with a diverse group of leaders, executives, managers, and business professionals — and even a few elite athletes, although more about off-the-court issues (e.g., life after sports, or communicating more effectively with teammates and managers). The work is challenging and fun, there is lots of variety, and the pay can be very lucrative. Most importantly, there is nothing more rewarding that seeing a shift in a client that makes a difference in the results they are able to get in the world, and in their overall level of performance.

Whether you want to add coaching to what you already do, deepen your coaching practice, or get into this field as a next step in your career, I cannot see any downside, and only massive upside. Please take the next step right now. 

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