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Monday, June 17, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 11: The Coach

I am extremely grateful for all of the coaches in my life. These are the people who want you to succeed beyond all else. They take both pride and joy in providing guidance on how to do so. We all need coaches and the smartest among us are the people eager to find others who can coach and mentor us for success.

Alice and I interview a lot of people as we lead focus groups, feasibility studies and donor outreach efforts. It seems that nearly every one of them is a coach in some way.  They provide diverse perspectives that we may not have understood before. They reveal networks and connections that we were unaware of. They point us toward opportunities that we were oblivious to.

The easiest way to find a coach is by asking questions and being open to learn. If you want to engage a coach, you have to value their opinions and knowledge. It's important you objectively evaluate the information they provide even if it creates cognitive dissonance for you. It might be hard to embrace, but you are not always the smartest person in the room.

Dr. William J. Rugg, VP/Provost, NSU
One of the most significant Coaches in my life is Dr. William J. Rugg, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Provost at NSU. I called Dr. Rugg tonight and shared with him what his coaching has meant to me. While I was a student at Northern Arizona University, Dr. Rugg was my advisor for a time. He helped me find a path and his support and guidance were the principle empowerments that helped me earn an internship in New York with the International Radio and Television Society. That opportunity changed my life. I was one of only 2 interns hired that year. The career that followed led me to the opportunities that I enjoy today. For that, and so much more I am eternally grateful to Dr. Rugg and to Denise Rugg, his wife.

The best coaches invest in us. They've decided that "we" are worthy of their time. Time is often the most valuable thing they share with us. They invest that time working to enlighten us. When they succeed, they help open our eyes and point us toward opportunity. 

Good Coaches Provide...
  • Insight about people, organizations and conditions that you don't have experience with.
  • "Ah-ha moments" by connecting dots where you hadn't seen relationships.
  • Connections with others who support your cause.
  • Direction about how to navigate within complex communities and organizations.
  • "Left Field" revelations that you were clueless about.
  • Warnings about hazards to avoid and "problem children" you may have to manage.
  • Clarity about "doability." They help you understand what is possible.
    Thanks again to the coaches we meet each day. We appreciate you investing the time to help us learn and grow.

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