THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2011
I have two running buddies: T, who was the inspiration for me to start running in the first place, and a friend of ours we like to call Anonymous Craig. T likes to say that AC and I are kind of like the devil and the angel on her shoulders. It’s a little true. I’m the one who encourages stopping, nursing injuries, slowing down. AC? He’s the one who pushes us, makes us run instead of walk, tries to beat the red lights.
Which is why I call him Coach Craig. He’s my running coach. Calls me a whiner. Gives us the post-run fist bump. Is pushing us to do the Brooklyn half (for the record, it’s not happening). Makes fun of my visor (wait, they both do that).
I never had a coach before. I was never an athlete, never played a team or individual sport. They didn’t really have reading coaches for nerdy kids like me.
Yet, earlier this year, I had two. I did a few months executive coaching with an extraordinary professional. I can truly say it completely shifted my perspective on my career.
When I started interviewing coaches, one of the questions that I asked was what they saw as the differences between coaching and therapy. They had different answers, and it was a question that remained in my head as I (somewhat skeptically) began working with my coach.
Here’s what I learned: coaching moves us forward. Therapy helps us understand where we are and how we got there. (That understanding is also key to moving us forward, of course). Coaching says: okay – you’ve got issues, we all do. OK, the people around you have issues – so what? What areyou going to do about your life?
Coaches push us. They make us set goals and stick to them. They do it in a nice way or in a not-so-nice way depending on what we need. They help us make sure that tomorrow is different than today.
I run faster because of Coach Craig. Sure, there are days when I would rather walk, but his friendly combination of teasing and just continuing to run if we stop works for me. (So much so that I keep telling him he should have a personal training business on the side). If you don’t have a coach (or two, or three) in your life, find one. Doesn’t have to be someone you pay. Just has to me someone whose role it is to keep you moving forward. Even if he or she does it while wearing the ridiculous toe shoes.