I’ve been coaching golfers who want to improve their techniques and their games for many years. I began doing this while still a teenager and have continued it to the present day. Even when I was working jobs, starting businesses and involved in other initiatives and activities, I’ve always found the time to share with others what I’ve learned about playing the game of golf. I’m confident that my input and advice has helped many people improve their games.
In today’s business environment, we’ve experienced a shift toward coaching as well. Coaches can and do help their clients navigate a wide range of issues and answer questions aimed at being a more effective leader, improving interpersonal relations and dealing with nagging problems. Coaches provide a valuable service. Indeed, it’s also a potentially lucrative way to make a living. For that reason, more people are now pursuing coaching opportunities as a way to share their hard-won knowledge with others.
Based on my own experience, here are a few bits of advice from my golf coaching experience for how you can coach people effectively.
Know their goals
You have to begin with the end in mind. What does your student or mentee want to improve? His or her leadership or people skills? Approach to time management? Comfort and confidence with public speaking or presenting? You’ll want to ask them about their specific objectives before you can develop a plan to help the achieve the outcomes they want. Gain a clear understanding of where they are now and where they want to be, then determine what it will take to get there.
Make a plan with benchmarks and timelines
You can’t efficiently plan a trip without a roadmap, nor can you make progress without developing a course of action that will take you from point A to point B. Once your objectives have been stated, the next step is to set mini-goals that can be achieved along the way, along with timelines. This gives you an opportunity to monitor progress on an ongoing basis. When these mileposts are reached it provides encouragement and confidence.
Recognize where strengths and weaknesses exist
In golf, a person might have a ton of passion for the sport but not always the level of talent it takes to achieve their goals as quickly as they’d like. On the other hand, they might have lots of talent in one area but not in another. As you coach, you’ll recognize where these strengths and weaknesses exist, and they will help you understand where you need to provide more help. For example, a leader might have a great strategic vision but is disorganized, or doesn’t possess strong people skills to inspire or motivate others. You’ll learn this as you go.
Be patient and persistent
Even for the most talented people, nothing happens overnight. The more they work at something, the more they’ll refine it. For this reason, patience and persistence are important as you work to achieve goals. Don’t allow discouragement to get in the way of progress. Keep pushing ahead.
Cheerlead when necessary
Part of being a coach is instilling confidence in your student. It sounds trite, but anything can be accomplished if you want it badly enough. Often, all it takes is recognizing successes and providing motivation when things don’t go as well as planned. In time, things will improve and the goal will be within reach. Hang in there!