Many things trigger reflection for me. Someone says something, a statement in a book, road trips. I’ve just been watching a TV series, which highlighted the role and importance of coaches. This got me reflecting on coaches in my life. I’ve had many coaches at different times in my life. All them made unique contributions to my life.

I’m grateful for all of them. I’m grateful for the good the bad and, yes, the ugly. I learned how to be. Some of most profound examples I’ve encountered have taught me how not to be. I’m also grateful for the ones I place in my great coaches list. This is because of the roles they play and have played.

Coaches help develop our strengths. They also help raise awareness of shortcomings. The great ones are vulnerable. They share what they learned. In different ways, they say, “…me too…” as a way of encouraging and drawing out the best in us. The great coaches have shown me their scars, shared how they got them and how I don’t have to don similar ones.

I’ve learned from them in the ways they’ve taught; both passive and deliberate ways. Some lessons are a result of proximity. Sometimes we learn because we’re close. We see, we’re exposed and we catch something.

I’ve also been challenged and grown from deliberate teaching moments. Some who realised need to raise my awareness or sensitivity to particular things have also been vocal. From them speaking up, I have grown. Being challenged to grow is not always easy. Sometimes far from pleasant. I must say, though, that often the result has been more pleasant and desirable.

Some coaches have been good bad examples. They’ve been the epitome of what not to be and do. We learn by proximity and deliberate lessons. We also learn by observation. I’ve had the privilege of observing the essence of coaching. Selfless people pushing others to be and do way more than they did.

I have no doubt that there may be instances I wasn’t the kind of coach I wanted. No one is without fault. At the same time, I am aware of instances where I’ve been to others the coach I would have loved to have.

In reflecting on coaches in my life, there should be a grand point right? Well there are many points. It is possible that by the time you get to the end of this post I might have said much and little at the same time.

Reflection is sometimes just about that, reflection. It doesn’t have to have a point. The exercise is something to do and allow the lessons to emerge, then, inform and propel us into the future.

Having said all this, which may be less than I might have set out to say when I started, I need to say one more thing. It may just be the most important bit of this post. I’ve learned from every single coach; the good the bad and the ugly. Here’s the thing:

The challenge is not just what we learn but that we recognise what we should’ve or should be learning. The challenge is to acknowledge and embrace everything worth learning. It is to realise as much as we can, that through proximity, observation and conscious learning that we learnt.

It is extracting the value and essence of every significant interaction. We’re not always going to be aware of how significant every moment is or was. Sometimes only in retrospect; in reflecting on coaches and other related things.

As we seek to lead others in different ways, it is worth our while seeing how others helped us grow and be better. As we do this, may it inform and challenge us, in leading others forward.

[image: U.S. Army | cc]

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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