While listening to a podcast I heard Fred Shoemaker react to a question about good coaching by pointing out the word “good” and start to describe what coaching can be.
It made me wonder about the habit of thinking about coaching in terms of what good coaching may be. Whatever good is for me and however I’m experiencing something as good can only be unique to me. Good can only be a word I’m using for something I like or believe to be right. But what is it telling others? How is it helping others to know what “good coaching” is?
Using the word “good” is inviting others to take my impression as a reference. Which, in essence, means that I’m asking others to trust me or to assess me in some manner. It also means that I’ve not yet been able to define good in terms others can give a meaning of their own.
Using the word good is more of a judgment that I like something or someone than an ability to assess an experience or a person.
For me, an assessment of “good coaching” would be the ability to describe what it is one experienced. Something that could happen through the ability to name what the coach promised and how it was fulfilled. But that is information that is only available in hindsight.
It is also useful to realize, that the promise a coach makes can never be reached without the client. A coach who describes the support he will provide still needs to find a way to deliver on it and can’t achieve it without having been able to create an environment in which a client decides to engage.
Making a promise might sound easy, but it is not a simple task.
It does, for example, ask a coach to be direct and describe what one will not be able to do. But it also requires the willingness to state what one will be doing and to follow up on it.