Why a Guide - Not a Coach?

Posted by Bruce Peters

Coach.jpgMany people have asked me, “Why do you call yourself a guide and not a coach?” Those who know me, aren’t surprised when I reply with a question.

Can you tell me why you think I’m a guide and not a coach?

Collectively, we are so accustomed to being taught information. It’s just handed to us. We take it but don’t own the comprehension. In contrast, when people reply to my question, they discover they already posses the knowledge and the answers. Additionally, a person’s answer gives me an indication of their perceptions and where they are coming from in their own experiences.

So what is the answer? Try tackling the question on your own. Learning is a shared adventure, so after investing energy into your own thoughts, compare them to the following synopsis. 

The Short Answer

A coach is a point person who ultimately bears some level of responsibility for their athlete’s success. A guide, however, empowers you to own your success in its entirety. At the end of the day, an experienced guide, who asks the right questions and carries the right tools, enables you to confidently map and travel your journey to the top. 

The Deeper Dive

This past decade has witnessed an explosion of leaders and professionals expressing their desire to break free and experience an enriched, more fulfilling life. There’s a number for that desire. It’s 72,500,000. That’s the number Google spits out for a search on personal business coach. 

The attraction is all about goals. Personal business coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes, and managing personal change. These are all desirable.

But …

The Colossal “What If?”

There’s a big glitch in the coaching system. What if you are setting the wrong goals? What if you aren’t asking yourself the right questions? What if you aren’t sure how to infuse your life with the meaning and aspirations you truly seek? You risk spending valuable years getting coached on attaining what you think you want but are still left unfulfilled. This is especially poignant for individuals who are entering their Third Act of adulthood. Ironically, this is the group that seeks coaching the most.

Conversely, what happens if you are successful? Who is ultimately responsible? You can be told what to do, where to go, and how to act. But in the end, have you internalized the knowledge? Do you own it? Can you apply it to your future challenges? The general perception is that while you’re the player, the coach takes responsibility. Coaches often see it that way, too. 

Admittedly, the space between a guide and a coach can get a little foggy. Let me tell you about John Wooden, a real-life sports leader, and you can come to your own conclusions.

John Wooden was the UCLA Head Coach where he led his teams to 10 NCAA National Championships within a 12-year period. In one magical streak, the team won the title seven years in a row along with the men’s team winning 88 consecutive games. He earned National Coach of the Year six times.

So all these wins are attributed to John Wooden, the coach. Yet, whose talents actually sunk the ball into the net to earn those wins? That’s right, the players. But here is where I want you to see the bigger picture. John Wooden was a coach in name but a guide in his execution.

What do coaches do during a game? They pace. Call for timeouts. Yell at the referees. Point fingers. There is a lot of courtside drama with coaches. Think of the ultimate surrogate, helicopter parent.

Not with John Wooden. He sat calmly during the game with his program rolled up. He never raised his voice, got excited, yelled at a player, or accused a referee of a bad call. He believed that it was his job to get the team ready and prepared to play the game during the practices. If he did his job properly, his role in the game is done. It was his team’s job to apply their knowledge and play.

His teams’ records still stand.

In Your Game

Let’s say you started a business and over the years it grew into a successful enterprise. You hit all your markers and now you’re ready for more. Maybe that “more” is ensuring that you have happy, satisfied employees who radiate satisfaction and self-engagement. Perhaps you like the idea of leaving a legacy for your family or your profession. Or you’re unsure of what you want next. It’s safe to say that what you seek now is different that what you’ve wanted in the past.

The bottom line is that you’re in uncharted territory. And that’s exactly where you should be. And this is why you need a guide. Someone who enables you with questions, tools, and skills to confidently blaze your path and own it every step of the way. 

How Did You Do?

The goal here is to explore all possible interpretations between a coach and a guide as it pertains to you. Before I let you go, let me ask … What else? If you had to add one more difference between a coach and guide what would it be?

By answering the questions and reflecting on your thoughts, you develop your own explanation of the difference between a coach and a guide. Remember, learning leads to growth leads to life.

As for me, my experience has given me the clarity to see where coaching falls short for a select group of individuals. And that’s what I’m fixing today. That’s why I started Beyond Teal.

Come join me and start living your way to your answers now!

Learn More About Beyond Teal

Interested in learning more? Take a look at this recent post:

Bruce Peters has spent the last 15 years living his own “Third Act.” Based on his personal experience and in working as a guide for hundreds of leaders, he has designed a unique process for getting beyond where you are and into the creation of your own Third Act for you or your organization. It starts with the question of what is the difference you want to make? Learn more at www.beyondteal.com








Topics: Beyond Teal, Third Act Guide, teal, The Third Act

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