• Zach Spafford

Why a Coach?

Coaches are, by the very nature of their position, there to help you move forward with your goals.

I played football in high school and I never had a single coach bring up a botched play more than once.

The only reason they ever did was to help me learn from it, teach me the skills to understand how to handle it the next time and help me practice those skills.

I’m not saying that a psychologist or a psychiatrist or a 12-step group or a support group isn’t beneficial.

Nor am I saying that you should stop working with these programs.

Athletes use sports psychologists to help them become better athletes.

What I am saying is that the greatest athletes in the world rely most heavily on coaches and, to a lesser extent, on some of those other forms of learning and growth.

When I first began dealing with my addictive behaviors my church leaders sent me to a psychologist.

That psychologist asked me how I was doing, what was going on, how I was dealing with my addictive behavior, why I thought I was using, and a hundred other questions about what had gone on in my past and how was dealing with it in my present.

As an athlete, if all you did was talk about your past games and look at what you are doing right now you will probably not progress or improve your game.

In the 12 step programs I attended, there was an emphasis on 2 main things:

1- Confessing my sins by calling myself an addict and telling people how long it had been

2- Making amends with my past

“Hi, my name is Zach and I’m a pornography addict.”

How many times can you repeat that before it becomes who you are?

How many times can you go back and say I’m sorry about what I’ve done?

Do either of those skills make you better at not looking at pornography, stop over eating, keep from excessive shopping, or any other addictive behavior that you might have?

The point is this, if you want to get better at playing football, there are a hundred skills that you must master by practicing pro-actively, purposefully and with another person.

A coach.

Coaches teach you skills.

Coaches guide your practice.

Coaches speed your improvement.

The best coaches have played the game.

Coaches help you drive toward your goals.

Coaches muster talented people around you to increase your ability to overcome.

Coaches are actively thinking about how to beat the other squad, providing you their insight, helping you adjust your perspective, and supporting you in times of loss.

Twelve step programs are like pick up games. You can find great things there that will help you, but that isn’t where the greatest athletes spend the majority of their time.

Psychologists and Psychiatrists are great for working through grief and pain that may still be serving a purpose. Looking into the past to find a way to be in the present.

From a gospel perspective, repentance is a forward looking prospect.

Once you make your amends, repentance is about changing your behavior.

By its nature, repentance doesn’t change your past, but helps you move beyond it into a future that is better than what you left behind.

A coach is there to help you create your future.

Tony Robbins talks about how he became who he is now in the Netflix documentary, “I’m not your guru”. (a little language but the message is clear)

“I am a kid from Azusa, California, who did not have any ******* certainty, but I was certain of one thing. I was not about to grow up and have a family that was gonna go through what I went through, and so I constructed this ******* Tony Robbins guy. I constructed him. I created him. He was me, but I built this mother******,”

And he didn’t do it by himself. He had mentors, friends, teachers.

All helping him create the Tony Robbins you see today.

When you want to create the person you want to be, a coach is the person you want to help you do it.

Coaches are free to call you on your BS but also free to teach you the skills they have used to become the best.

In sports and in life the right coach can help make you a champion.

The right coach can help create the person you want to be.

I wish I had a coach 25 years ago that was there to help me move past my pornography use.

When I was a kid in high school, I played football for the Waukegan Bulldogs, which was a bulldog with a pirate eye patch. Yes, you read that correctly, my school mascot was a pirate bulldog. There is a fun story behind that.

My favorite coach was Coach Green. This was a mountain of a man.

He had an old school Cadillac that seemed to sink about 6 inches when he got into the driver’s seat.

He taught me how to tackle properly. He held me accountable for running proper plays. He showed me a perfect football stance. He could be heard bellowing “LOW MAN WIN!” at least ten times each game.

I looked to Coach Green to direct my efforts in becoming the best ball player I could be.

He had been my mentor on the field of play.

I don’t remember a single time where he asked me anything about my past. It wasn’t that he didn’t care. It was that making me the best football player I could be had nothing to do with a play I had quarterbacked three games ago. He was building my future.

Just like every football player needs a coach to be their best, help them see what they don’t see, help them focus their efforts in areas that are underdeveloped, everyone who can should have a coach to help them become the best at life that they can be.

You may never have heard of the research done by Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer in a paper called The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.

You may, however, have heard of the 10,000 hour rule, the term coined by Malcolm Gladwell citing their work.

What you may not have heard or read about is how that works.

As the title of their paper makes clear, they were studying the role of deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice is focused. It requires that the persons involved be motivated, it requires that they perform tasks that stress the areas in which they require improvement, and it requires immediate feedback and contemplation of performance. So, just playing basketball every day for four hours isn’t going to turn you into Michael Jordan. Playing golf for four hours a day isn’t going to turn you into Tiger Woods. Playing songs for four hours a day isn’t going to make you a Beatle. Coding for four hours a day isn’t going to make you another Bill Gates. Writing for four hours a day isn’t going to make you Charles Dickens. You would need constant feedback and practice that focused on your weaknesses.[1]

If you want to improve dramatically and efficiently, engaging with a coach will significantly increase your odds.

That last sentence is key to the whole thing.

“You would need constant feedback and practice that focused on your weaknesses.”

A couple of things need to be unpacked there. First, seeing your weaknesses clearly.

Most life coaches teach a methodology that helps you view your current circumstances, dissect your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.

Brooke Castillo, the founder of thelifecoachschool.com calls it the Model.

In using the Model, you will begin to observe yourself and see how your thoughts are creating your results.

A coach will be able to point out thinking errors that are hindering your progress, help you find and choose new thoughts that can smooth the way to next level living.

When I was working through my difficulties with pornography I found that it was very difficult to see my way forward until I started using the techniques I would come to rely on as a coach.

A coach can see your weaknesses more easily than you can. You may know you are weak, but you may be attributing your weakness to something like, lack of willpower or some other issue that has nothing to do with your actual weakness.

Second, constant feedback is required.

When you work with a coach, they are able to hold you accountable to the process, see how you are working within the process and redirect your efforts within the process to gain maximum growth.

Can you imagine being a world class athlete without a coach.

Think of guys like Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi, and Michael Phelps.

They all play individual sports, where on the field of play their performance stands alone.

So, it might be easy think, “why would they need a coach?” It isn’t like they need someone to call plays for the whole team or organize offence taking the field rather than the defense.

The reality for these guys is, they need someone that knows the game and can help them see things that they can’t see.

When it comes to overcoming addictive behaviors, part of the reason people fail to overcome and stop their behavior is that they can’t see a way out.

Having a coach provide you the insight you can’t gain on your own is priceless.

How many hours, days, weeks, months and years have been wasted fighting your addiction like a paper tiger in a rain storm?

Lastly, you need someone who can help you practice your skills.

The best coaches devise practice drills that aid their teams and individuals in getting great at tasks that will serve them in the tests of their sport.

Imagine never running a ten yard post in practice, but then having to do it in the Super Bowl.

Imagine having only putted a few times in your life, then having to do it in the Masters.

As with sports, a life coach teaches you the skills and helps you practice them. They provide precision drills that make you better at individual skills creating an overall performance in the big game that you can be proud of.

Coaches like me analyze your technique, train you on relevant skills and even provide encouragement at your most pivotal moments.

They do this so you can be the best you. This isn’t about a big game or some trophy. This is about you becoming the person you want to be.

Try out for my coaching program by setting up a free mini session. I would love for you to see how coaching can help you become the man you want to be, the entrepreneur you want

to be, the husband you want to be or however I can help you.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2019/03/01/is-the-10000-hour-rule-just-an-urban-myth/#183b433a5933

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