‘So, what exactly is your coach to you? What do you see her as?’ I often get asked this and I find this most difficult to verbalize. What is my coach to me? She is someone who provides me a totally non-judgmental space to see myself for who I really am – without pretenses and without any facades. But is she my best friend? In a way yes and in a way no. While I talk to her, she never really shares anything about herself with me – and friendship is a two-way process, isn’t it?
Then, is she a mentor? No, not that either – she lets me take the ownership of my decisions. There is no mentoring – often she doesn’t even know the nuances of my work. Then is she a counsellor? No, there are no suggestions from her side.
But it also feels that she’s a bit of it all – she is my most trusted friend, someone I love talking to – she makes me think and probes me. She’s a mentor in the way that she challenges my beliefs and limitations and makes me commit to delivering my best. And she’s most definitely a bit of a counsellor in the sense that she makes me come up with suggestions on the path ahead. I know every session either leaves me rejuvenated and driven or very thoughtful and quiet – whatever I go through, it opens up a whole set of new possibilities or thoughts for me to explore.
My coach most certainly is my cheerleader; one who celebrates my successes and makes me look at my setbacks, learn from them and then skip over them. She pulls me out of my ‘poor me’ moods and makes me visualize my powerful self with a powerful future ahead of me. So, she definitely is also my power-source.
I find my dose of therapy in her too – she makes me look at the unresourceful past or future memories and makes me deal with them. She makes me strong in the mind and makes me analyse the usefulness of whichever place I might be stuck at.
At best, she’s a stakeholder completely invested in me – committed to making me achieve my best – in whichever field I choose. At times, she’s an active listener – listening to detect incongruencies in my beliefs and behaviors, which she later tests by asking me questions which make me think and introspect. And at times she’s an enthusiastic buddy, excitedly goading me on to go after my passions, helping me overcome all the major and minor challenges on the way. She’s my champion, my advocate and my strongest supporter – at times, believing in me more than I do myself.
It is a relationship based on trust and complete honesty – and it is my coach who enables me to be unambiguously and starkly honest. It is an undefined relationship – a professional commitment which diffuses and touches some very personal experiences. And my coach skillfully navigates through both.
So, is she my best friend, a mentor or a counsellor? Well, I’d simply call her my enabler – someone who through brutal honestly steers me to achieve my utmost.