Coaching Principle ‘Focus on Purpose’

‘Begin with the end in mind’ - 7 Habits of highly effective people

Purpose is what gets us out of bed every morning, excited for the day ahead. Sadly, too few of us enjoy what we do and therefore sluggishly get out of bed before rushing off to work. IF we do not have passion and a sense of purpose for what we do then we go about life aimlessly. Passion and purpose are intrinsically linked. In fact I would like to throw in another ‘P’ word. Productivity! This is a word that is thrown around like two unevenly matched wrestlers. Productivity is increased when we have Purpose. Here I allude to Dan Pink and his spin on what motivates us in his wonderful book ‘Drive’.

Essentially there are three concepts that define our levels of motivation. They are:

Autonomy = self-directed (our ability to run our own life)

Mastery = the desire to get better at things (greater challenge)

Purpose = we need to instil a great vision – the great WHY factor

Let’s parallel this with the training and coaching environment. To intrinsically motivate our clients we need to adopt what Roy Sugarman calls ‘a client centred approach’. That means we need a balance between control (what we prescribe training wise for our clients) and autonomy (giving our clients the ability to choose from time to time what they would like to do in a session.

How about we explore a scenario:

You have a client who trains with you three times per week. You have designed a great program and your sessions are well designed and directed by you. Basically your client is told what he or she will be dong and they comply. Now that may work for a time but, and a very big one at that…We need to go from compliance to engagement which is what current science is validating as true in the business world.

So what you cleverly do as the trainer/coach is that one session a month they get to choose what they want to do. You could suggest an activity that is fun and matched with a hobby they enjoy like hiking, climbing, diving to name a few. I have incorporated this in my past years as a trainer and coach to great effect. Tapping in to what they love to do outside of the gym environment equates to tapping into their purpose.

By incorporating strategies that revolve around Autonomy, mastery and purpose we can truly see great progress and change in our clients. They will engage more greatly and enjoy the process of mastering new skills that you deliver within their sessions.

The point of ‘Mastery’ is a critical factor here. It relates significantly to how well we program for our clients coupled with instilling purpose and autonomy within our sessions for them.

That is why it is vital to first carve out a niche or area of expertise that defines your skill-set as a trainer/coach. Seeking out other great coach’s and companies that provide further education is a must for us to succeed. There is plenty of free information out there. It requires our wits and patience to sift through the multifarious options and land on knowledge that will edify and enable us to grow and prosper as trainers and coaches. We will discuss this in greater detail in Principle #9 ‘Turn up like a coach’ .

Coach’s Tip:

One of the most powerful and life changing things you can do is define what you stand for. By defining your vision, you are creating your end in mind as the 7 habits of highly effective people teach us. In addition, defining what you stand for is all about crafting your values. Choose 3-7 values that you stand for. Some of the values that define Functional Training Institute for example are:

World class in everything we do. That means we need to keep raising the bar and evolving how and what we do.

Strive for progress not perfection. Often we want to do things too well to a point where we are paralysed in thought. In Principle #4 we discussed the Japanese philosophy of ‘Kaizen’ or continual striving for improvement. This is what defines striving for progress.

Now it is your turn to craft out a set of values and a vision of where you want to be. This is where purpose begins…

Recommended reading: ‘Drive’ by Dan Pink



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