In 2009 Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, said something in an interview that remained famous among personal development networks: “Everyone needs a coach”.
In May 2013, Bill Gates opened his TED Talk with the same 4 words: “Everyone needs a coach”.
If giants of the tech industry – the prophets of our time – claim that everyone needs a coach, then it just seems silly to contradict them. One should unquestionably relay their message across the world and make sure every living soul hears it. Especially when this person is a coach himself…
Why would I then choose a title that states the exact opposite of what these influential advocates of coaching claim?
By the way… Did I mention that I am a coach? Oh, and I also have a coach myself. He represents the most important financial investment I’ve ever made. Twice.
And I do stand by what I said. Nobody needs a coach.
Nobody needs a coach to live well. Nobody needs a coach to figure out what to do with their life. Nobody needs a coach to improve. Nobody needs a coach to achieve what they set their mind to. Nobody needs a coach to find a romantic partner. Nobody needs a coach to create a committed, intimate and lasting relationship. Nobody needs a coach to change careers. Nobody needs a coach to communicate better. Nobody needs a coach to know themselves better. Nobody needs a coach to do deep inner work. Nobody needs a coach to transcend stifling beliefs about themselves, or the world. Nobody needs a coach to live with integrity. Nobody needs a coach to find what they are passionate about. Nobody needs a coach to go to the gym. Nobody needs a coach to overcome, remove or replace sh*tty habits. Nobody needs a coach to dream. Nobody needs a coach to act.
That’s the truth, plain and simple.
Bill and Eric lied. Or… did they? Here’s what I think they really meant to say.
“You need a coach… If you want to save time, energy, and because it makes all this process of growing and learning SO MUCH EASIER!”
Let’s be honest here.
How much of the above do we actually do on our own?
How much of the above do we do at all?
How many of us actually take time to reflect?
How many of us actually take time to look in the mirror and take responsibility?
How many of us ask self-directed questions and draw out different conclusions than the ones we’ve told ourselves over and over again?
How many of us actively choose – and do commit – to re-arrange our thinking, our behaviours, our perspectives and our beliefs in a more helpful way?
You get the point.
I think a more accurate description of what Bill and Eric were really saying is the following.
You can live very well without a coach. Fact. But what is important about having a coach – so important that some might shortcut it to necessary – lies in the value of creating a deep and intimate partnership with someone that wants you to grow, for you; someone that you can connect with on a deep level; someone that genuinely cares about you, so much so that they are willing to tell you what no one else would say; someone who is committed to you and nothing else; someone who will ask you the questions you don’t want to answer.
A coach, at least the way I choose to embrace it, is someone who commits to both challenge and support you, with you in mind; in service of who you can be.
Having a coach saves you time. A coach saves you energy. It’s empowering. It’s both uncomfortable and wonderful at the same time. It exposes your hidden agendas and breaks through your bullsh*t excuses. It saves you months and, in my case, years of going round and round in circles, not having a clue about what’s not working, either feeling sorry for yourself, repeatedly hitting glass ceilings, or blaming others and the universe for what’s wrong in your life.
I stand by my truth. Nobody needs a coach. But let me tell you…
Having one changes everything.