The Question Matters

The Deep Seas of Coaching

Posted in Change,Coaching,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on May 19, 2010
Tags: ,

I’m always on the lookout for metaphors that tell the story of good coaching.  Here’s one for your consideration: coaching is a deep sea dive.

I’ve never been scuba diving before.  I confess that there’s something about being able to see only so deep that makes me nervous about the idea.  Underwater exploration just isn’t on my bucket list at this point.  There are two things that could change that plan, though.  The one most likely to overcome my timidity would be the knowledge that something “down there” could transform my life “up here.”  The other is if my interest in deep sea exploration suddenly outgrew my timidity.  In either case, I would be ready to change, and begin preparing for my first dive.

If that readiness is present, then the dive begins with solid preparation at the surface.  Do you have what you need for the exploration of the deep?  An air tank?  Flippers?  Wet suit?  Light?  Best not to leave the boat without these and a few other items.  Stepping off the boat, and into the water, the diver turns his attention to the deeper waters, facing the deep rather than the shallow.  This dive requires strength as our body resists the changing pressure and its own buoyancy.

Why dive?  Perhaps its pure exploration, exploration for its own sake.  Perhaps there is something to be found below that needs attention, even rescue.  Maybe something’s down there that needs to be brought to the surface.  Ocean biologists (someone help me with the correct title) tell us that there are very practical things that come from our ocean–the nutritional value of sea weed, for example.

This is coaching.  Before a person is willing to consider coaching, there must be a willingness to learn and change.  The benefits of coaching must outweigh the reluctance to change and the comfort of sameness.  Without this piece, coaching is not impossible, but is much less fruitful.  It would be similar to someone putting on a snorkelers’ gear and expecting to see things few people ever see.

If coaching is to me more than a metaphorical snorkeling adventure, then there must be a willingness to enter the ocean, fight the natural tendency to avoid deep transformation, and later emerge with very practical applications for what was learned in the dive.  What might be found in that dive?

  • An interpersonal tool that gets things done smoother and quicker
  • A new habit that transforms you from the outside in
  • A personal discovery that transforms your work, your family, and your relationships from the inside out
  • A new level of awareness of your impact on others

I suppose coaching could be done just for the sake of coaching.  For me, it’s the discoveries that are brought to the surface and displayed for all to see that make coaching a joy and a pleasure.


3 Responses to 'The Deep Seas of Coaching'

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  1. 2mannasisters said,

    I can be quite practical, and can relate to the eagerness you speak of to discover things that we can learn from. Sometimes, when it comes to snorkeling and deep sea coaching, I find that my motivation is simply for the enjoyment of the find.

    I’m guessing both are healthy and useful–and fun!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Trey Finley. Trey Finley said: Coaching is a Deep Sea Dive: […]

  3. demra robbins said,

    Awesome description and encouragement. Thanks

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