Being Coachable

Whether learning to scuba dive or accomplishing goals for scuba fitness; Being Coachable is a mature attitude of learning and collaboration essential to being a healthy and competent diver.

Sporty womanRecently I won a gift certificate for a month of fitness classes. As a fitness professional in high demand my schedule is usually booked. As a necessity my own workouts are typically self-trained sessions at unusually early and late hours. However, this time I had an opening in my schedule that matched an early morning fitness boot camp. It felt great to be coached through a workout for the first time in many years.

10 years ago while I was power lifting competitively I had the pleasure of training with both a coach and teammates. I later coached power lifting athletes more than twice my age. At the same time I owned a private fitness facility and mentored a team of eight personal trainers. Together we conducted 150 private fitness appointments and classes each week.

At monthly team meetings, in addition to discussing necessary day-to-day business like many companies, each trainer shared a list of business and personal goals; what was added to the list or accomplished since our last meeting. A common goal and requirement for employment was maintaining current credentials with continuing education; in other words learning something new. Since my personal trainers were well educated I knew they had the knowledge to bring the best fitness coaching to their clients. Beyond that, sharing our goals with each other helped us to get to know each other better and encourage each other. We made direct positive impact on each other’s success; such as client referrals or team training clients during alternating vacation schedules.

One of my mentors said, “Everyone needs a coach.” I changed it to “Everyone needs a coach sometimes,” because I believe we can each be self-motivated enough to make some improvements on our own. However, there is definitely a place for seeking out a professional to move beyond our own resources and limitations, and learning something new is often a requirement to reach high levels of performance. It is important to choose coaches carefully. Both dive instructors and fitness professionals need to carry current and proper credentials. Divers will often find the most committed and successful instructors are those with regular and consistent continuing education. Good instructors and coaches will respect that an individual is reaching out to them for their expertise and inspiration, and be certain not to exploit or take negative advantage of their position in the relationship. Good students will bring their personal best all the time – physically, mentally and emotionally.

In the book “Awakening the Olympian Within” compiled by Jim Naber, Olympic Gold Medalist Nancy Hogshead, the most decorated swimmer in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, wrote, “Success is a Learned Skill.” About Being Coachable, she said:

“Everyone talks about finding a mentor or mentoring others, but few talk about the skills needed to be mentorable, to be coachable. I define being coachable as giving another person permission to demand the very best of you. I don’t mean following someone blindly, ignoring your ideas or principles. I’m talking about having a goal big enough that you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone – in your relationships with others – and to allow someone else to contribute.”

Fitness boot camp was a lot of fun and I am going again tomorrow…and I did learn something new.