Because we need it. We don’t think we do, of course not. We were taught to be strong, self sufficient and independent. Suck it up, quit crying, get back up on the horse, you can do it. For some of us those words were spoken in an encouraging tone, for others the tone was harsh, condescending and frightening. And so we sucked it up, quit crying and got back up on the horse. We learned to hide our failures and shortcomings, denying them to others as well as ourselves. Some of us learned to be little men before we had a chance to be boys. Many of us are men who haven’t left the little boy behind yet.
Coaching isn’t about psychology, therapy or an intense exorcism of our past. We are where we are right now because of a myriad of factors. What we do going forward and how we do it is what counts the most right now. Our past will always play a role in those decisions, but will it be a positive influence or a negative anchor? Will our past give us clarity or confusion, will it guide us or control us?
Coaching is another pair of eyes on our life. Have you ever been given the advice to “have someone take another look at it”, “Look it over again in the morning with new eyes” or “See what the others think about this.” Too often our own perception and perspective inhibits our view of the answers we need. It takes another set of eyes to help us uncover the truths we seek, the places our life has gotten off track or out of balance.
As your coach, I journey with you helping to formulate the plans and design the strategies to get things back on the path that leads to your goals and re balance the life you were meant to live. I am your cheerleader, encourager and sometimes offer a gentle kick in the pants.
What is unfortunate and makes little sense is that the stars of our day recognize the need for coaches and readily enlist their services. Top athletes and corporate giants have performance coaches and consultants around them always. But regular guys, whose dreams, goals and needs are just as important and often more so, wait till things are falling apart before seeking help. Coaching is about making bad things good and good things better and better things great!
Mature men recognize that the western male mystic of strong independence is a hoax and that as men we do better and enjoy life more with friends, coaches and companions.
Why do I coach men? Because I know how my life is made richer by the friends I have and coaches I use. I coach men because my passion is to help other men find their passion, find their balance and become the leaders they were created to be. Men who lead their personal lives responsibly, their family life lovingly and their work life ethically.
Do you trust your intuition?
“The leader needs three intellectual abilities that may not be assessed in an academic way: one needs to have a sense for the unknowable, to be prepared for the unexpected, and to be able to foresee the unforeseeable,” so says Robert Greenleaf in his book The Power of Servant Leadership.
Sounds like a tall order, almost like a description of a super hero right out of the comic book pages. But a second reading reveals that at sometime in all of our lives we are that super hero.
Who are you leading? A company department, a small business, your family, yourself? Your ability, and your willingness to step up, trust your intuition and make a decision for you and those who look to you for direction defines your leadership.
Ralph Waldo Emerson talks of a ‘Blessed Impulse’, listening to that inner voice and going with it, all voices to the contrary. Is that the still small voice, the almost silent whisper that we grow to trust to be God whispering in our ear? How often do you ‘go with it, all other voices to the contrary’?
Taking leadership, regardless of the position you hold, requires a certain amount of abandonment. Taking a risk. In so many places people are looking for (someone else) to step up and lead. Scientist Mathilde Krim said “Growth requires curiosity to experience both the difference and the synchrony, to explore and immerse yourself in new surroundings, to be able to contemplate your experiences and get something out of them”. To simplify: doing the same old same old every day, not experiencing new things, not asking questions and not reflecting and learning from your experiences will stunt your growth. It will also block your leadership opportunities.
And leadership is anything but the same old same old. Greenleaf tells us: Every once in a while a leader finds himself needing to think like a scientist, an artist, or a poet. And his thought processes may be just as fanciful as theirs – and as fallible. Leaders are not superheros, they make mistakes, but they are willing to make mistakes, show their humanness and fully express themselves in the process.
Why Go It Alone?
In their book ‘The Accidental Leader’, authors Robbins and Finley write:
“No one leads alone. Leaders who do their jobs are continually consulting with others. They are always plugged in to other people. They use others as mentors, as peer review panels, as confidants to bounce ideas off. They schmooze, they copy, they complain. They listen, they steal. Sometimes they just turn their dials down and relax with friends. Leading is a very social function, or you’re not doing it right.”
“Why do so many new leaders feel they have to go it alone?”
Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. The western image of the independent male, making it on his own, conquering and winning with only his own wits and resources to rely upon has sadly and wrongly infiltrated the American male psyche. And it is destructive. Whether you lead a large organization, small company, a family or only yourself – another man coming alongside you to share ideas, thoughts and truths is crucial to your success. Not only is it helpful in increasing your chances for success, but it makes life more fun and interesting. It can also provide opportunities for you to pour ideas and concern into another man’s life. And isn’t that what a life well lived is all about?
So how does a leader reach out to a coach or mentor? How does a man move toward a friendship? For most, this is within 4 feet, but it sits just outside the box we call our comfort zone. So just as we tackle most projects, or how we eat an elephant (one bite at a time), we reach out, pick up the phone, send an email and ask. We give up the fear of rejection, the awkwardness we may feel and accept the certainty that the offer for a cup of coffee, a lunch date or a drink after work is probably making the other man feel the same. That is why it is called the comfort zone and why success only happens in the uncomfortable zone, on the edges, where life is hot.
I have met too many men who bemoan the fact that they don’t have friends, a lot of acquaintances but no real friends. They knows guys from work, or the club. Their wives arrange social outings with other couples and the women guide the conversations. I know men who attend the mens ministry program at their churches and temples, but never really find another man or two to really open up to. Friendships are risky and can be messy, but add a richness to life that can not be gotten any other way. Having a coach or a mentor is like adding another set of caring eyes to your life and work.
A true leader can easily list the many people who contributed to his success, knowing he could not have done it on his own. And the difference between a grumpy old man and a kindly elderly gentlemen is how many other men he can call ‘friend’.
Men need to join the battle against violence.
“Most men in their lives will not commit sexual violence,
but most acts of sexual violence are committed by men.”
There is a sad reality to that truth. Now add that a great percentage of mental illness is the result of abuse, either the abused or a witness of the abuse and we men should hang our head in shame.
If you found out it was your sister, wife or mother you’d probably get all macho and start talking about beatings or lawsuits, jail or the back alley. But just some other woman, the girl down the street, or the college student working in the file room, and we join the ranks of gossipers and guys that do nothing. We men should hang our head in shame.
The increase in violence & domestic abuse goes up during hard times. And we are in hard times. Chances are there are men you know, maybe even yourself, that are facing the strain of economics and job lose. The image we hold of ourselves is fragile and threatened. We don’t know where to turn for solutions or even someone who understands. If this is the case – I offer myself as a listening ear and a friend to turn to.
But this in no way lets anyone off the hook or excuses the use of violence to any degree what so ever. We will never see the end of violence against women unless men step up and do something. We need to hold our heads high and take a stand to support and defend.
Here’s a good article worth your time. Then add your comments here. Thank you.
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