🥇You do need a coach🥇

No matter what field you’re in, or how experienced you are, we all have room to grow.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I started powerlifting about 3 years ago. In powerlifting our goal is to build maximum strength for the squat, bench and deadlift. I compete about two or three times a year to test how much I can lift for one repetition of each of those lifts (we get three attempts for each lift, for a total of 9 lifts on competition day).

If you’re interested, it looks like this:

If you’re *really* interested, I reflect on my powerlifting journey on my other blog: Learning2Lift (and of course, on Instagram).

The reason I’m sharing this is because in my pursuit of this entirely new hobby over the last few years, I am continually reminded of how much I need a coach. And not just for the first day, week, month or even the first year. Working with a coach over time is what allows you to grow the most – and if you open yourself up to being a learner, not only does your coach learn how to coach you better, but you become better at being coached.

I know it’s easy to see the reasons for having a coach for a sport, but what has really resonated with me as an educator, is just how valuable this coaching relationship – and growth over time – is for learning. Learning about myself, learning about my interest, learning about how to work with others.

The Value of Coaching

I recently competed in my 7th powerlifting meet, and had another opportunity to reflect:

Although I:

  • set 2 personal records (in squat and deadlift),
  • won 2 gold medals: in the open and Masters 1 age categories for my weight class (63kg),
  • put 17.5kg on my total,
  • retained all the national records for my age and weight,
  • made the qualifying total to be on the national team to represent Thailand at world events,
  • and made it to the top 10 of female powerlifters in Thailand,

this was actually one of my worst meets ever. And it wasn’t about my strength or my performance. It was about coaching.

I have an amazing powerlifting coach, Ryan Gleason, but he’s based in my home state of Connecticut. So, as you might expect, one drawback of online coaching is that when you’re a 24 hour flight apart, meet day handling isn’t part of the package. So, sometimes, even with the best laid plans, I (as the lifter, without a handler) can mess up my attempts. One minute immediately after a lift is not a lot of time to make a decision when things don’t quite go as expected.

When I missed my first squat attempt at my last meet for a technicality (jumping the rack command), I knew it was not necessarily wise to go up for my second, but I did it anyway. It ended up being the only squat I got that day. For my third, I *obviously* should have played it safe, smashed the open national record and taken the smallest jump possible, but my second felt solid, and I had hit my planned third (a 7.5kg comp PR) in training, so in that one minute, I just yolo’d and went for it. Failed. Missed my chance at the open record and cost myself at least 2.5kg on my total. Mistake made, lesson learned.

But now I know what to do in that exact situation which I never would have predicted in the first place. So what happens next time when something else unexpected happens? I will try to do better, of course, but that one minute countdown is brain frying, so who knows what I’ll actually end up doing?

Coaching = Growth Over Time

All of this is to say, sure you can be prepared, you can be experienced, you can even be an “expert” (not that I am, by a loooong shot), but there is huge value in having a coach, an outside pair of eyes, an objective partner who is on your side, who wants you to do your best, but also knows your limits.

I’m a powerlifter, but I’m also a teacher, an entrepreneur, and an instructional coach. I need a coach for all of those things. Yet I know many educators continue to have such a negative mindset about professional coaching. I believe all educators want to be their best. If that’s the case, why resist an opportunity to grow?

I know I’m not alone in struggling with this, and I love trying to figure it out together with the participants in our Eduro Learning The Coach Microcredential, because I think the reason can be different for every teacher. Ultimately, it’s our job, as coaches, to figure it out.

Are You Worth Investing In?

So, if you’re a coach, isn’t it’s worth investing in yourself enough to get a coach? Not only will you be modeling the growth mindset you expect from your teachers, but you will truly understand for yourself exactly what it means to be coached.

What do you think? Do you want to become a #relentlesslearner?

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