• Erin

Coaching and Coaching

Me, crossing the finish line of the 2003 Chicago Marathon

As I started on this coaching journey, it reminded me that I used to coach in a very different capacity. I was curious what similarities there may be in how I had shown up as a running coach and how I show up as a personal development coach

In 2003 I trained for the Chicago Marathon with Team in Training. I NEVER ran a day in my life and then trained over a period of months and crossed that finish line 6 hours and 18 minutes later (12 minutes shy of the cut off). As I stated in the About Me section of this site, I am a slow runner. In 2004, I was asked if I wanted to be a coach, clearly I was not asked for my running ability, but for my enthusiasm and the mere fact that I am living proof you can go from never running to completing a marathon. From 2004 until 2011 I coached 100s of runners and walkers to complete marathons and half marathons. I coached in Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco. Throughout that time I was the coach who had a smile on their face, who would encourage you to listen to your body, that would provide water when you looked parched or salt if it was too hot and you might cramp up, I would get in my car and pick you up if you ended up getting lost and doing some “bonus” miles, I would encourage you to walk if you needed to (because most of your friends were still sleeping), I would high five you just for showing up and I would offer hugs or a shoulder to cry on if you were having a moment. I had other coaches that I worked with that would push you hard (in a loving way) and who would tell you to keep going and not give up. I was the compassionate one, while they were the tough love coaches. I was the Bob to their Jillian (Biggest Loser, anyone). There were days were I could be Jillian, if needed, but my natural state is more of a Bob. Fast forward to my personal development coaching journey. I notice as I show up as a coach and work with people that I take that empathetic and compassionate space. If we agreed on some homework and you didn’t do it, okay, what did you learn in not doing the work? I am not going to shame you into compliance or scold you. That is not my natural state. However, if I have a client that wants me to fill that space, I can do that – you just have to ask, but know my natural state is to not be that way. Most of my clients hold themselves accountable (and are hard enough on themselves), but I have some clients that asks me to check in with them. I can do that! You just need to ask. The coaching relationship is a two way street and clients knowing my style may need to ask for things that work best for them because the process is about them. I do my best to outline how I work, but if something gets missed or isn’t working, we talk about it and make adjustments. It is what I love about the coaching process. It is not rote. It is individualized and dynamic and co-created. Curious, schedule a free session.

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