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Win at Life with the Help of a Coach

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

Great athletes works with a coach to achieve the impossible

We are impressed by the athletes who dominate their sport. We are awed by their superhuman abilities and displays of strength, intense focus, and skill. World-class athletes at the Olympics perform impossible feats and break unbreakable records. Athletes achieve the impossible with the help of a coach. As a woman in hematology, you also can achieve the impossible with the help of a coach.

Like all great athletes, women in hematology attempt the impossible

As a woman in hematology, you are attempting to do the impossible. In your career you balance clinical care with administrative tasks (prior authorization anyone?); teach trainees while also ensuring their well-being; and work against the odds to complete projects and disseminate your scholarly work. In your personal life, you have a body that needs both exercise and rest; a mind that needs to be rejuvenated; significant relationships to nurture; and outside interests to explore. How can accomplish all these goals without help?

Women in Hematology can achieve the impossible with the help of a coach

To achieve the "impossible" dream of work life balance, women in hematology can work with a coach. While a coach is not required to win at work and in life, most women who achieve success in all spheres of life have a coach in their corner. In the same way that all athletes who make it to the olympics get there with the aid of a coach, if you're going to become wildly successful in both your personal and professional life, you will travel further faster with a coach on your side.

A coach helps you win

A coach helps you play at your highest level of skill. A coach watches your game, asks questions, and outlines a program to help you play better. A coach calls out your bad plays, shows you how to play better, and helps you win. Balancing your life and career is like a high-level sport that a coach can help you win.

The type of coach you choose depends on the game you're playing

What kind of coach you need depends on the level at which you want to play. If you decide you don't want to play the game, then no coach is needed. If you are unsure what kind of game you want to play or the level at which you want to play, then the kind of coach you choose does not matter. If, however, you are playing to win, then you need a coach who can help you get there.

Are you playing junior varsity or going for Olympic gold?

A coach cannot help a player succeed unless the player has a clear image of what they want to achieve. If the player is determined to win Olympic gold, then the coach can work to create a training program that helps the athlete win Olympic gold. The Olympic gold training program is different from the junior varsity training program. Both programs can be rigorous; but only one program gets you to Olympic gold. In working with a coach, women in hematology define their goals, which guides the coach in creating a training program that helps them win.

The coach sets the program; but the athlete does the work

The coach may set the training program and hold the athlete accountable, but the athlete does all the work. As a woman in hematology, you are already playing at a certain level of skill that your coach can help you build on; however, there is no magic in coaching. If you, the athlete, do not do the work or complete the training program, you may not win. Therefore, winning is a partnership between the woman in hematology and her coach. The woman in hematology puts forth her best effort, while coach helps unleash her highest potential.

As a woman in hematology, there are different coaching opportunities available to you. I summarize them below in order of the needed investment:

  1. Self-coaching (smallest investment with the lowest returns).

  2. Peer coaching (modest investment with modest returns)

  3. Group coaching (higher investment with higher returns)

  4. Individual, one-on-one coaching (highest investment, highest returns)

Learn to coach yourself

Self-coaching is a skill that anyone can cultivate. To coach yourself is to analyze your actions in light of your stated goals and then find and close the gaps. Closing the gaps requires iterative self-reflection, which can be accomplished through journaling, setting aside alone time to process your thoughts; or having a dialogue with yourself in which you ask and answer hard questions. Self-coaching is attractive because the financial investment is small. However, small investments bring small returns. You can increase your self-coaching investment returns with deliberate practice; however, self coaching achieves the greatest returns when you involve an external coach.

Find a peer coach

Peer coaching is a great complement to self-coaching because peers provide a judgement-free zone where successes are celebrated and failures commiserated. Peer coaches help you get outside of your head so that you lay all your thoughts on the table for both you and another person to analyze. Your peer coach can more easily detect your blind spots and bring them out into the open so that you can act on them. Peer coaches are playing the same game so they know what questions to ask and can hold you accountable to your pre-determined wins. Peer coaching involves a modest financial investment because you pay your peer coach back in kind. For this modest investment in peer coaching, you can be assured of modest returns.

Get into group coaching

Group coaching brings together the wisdom of the crowd to give you different perspectives on the issues you are facing. In a group coaching situation, each person takes turn being coached by the group. The person being coached takes center stage and, in that moment, all minds are focused on finding the gaps and working through the action steps. Group coaching is affirming because you have a built-in group of cheerleaders who want to see you win. Group-coaching brings greater returns than peer-coaching alone because you increase the likelihood that someone in the group has walked through and can help you navigate a similar experience. Group coaching is a higher investment with greater returns than either self-coaching or peer coaching.

One-on-one coaching, the ultimate investment

The ultimate investment in your career success is one-on-one or individual coaching. During individual coaching, the coaching space is occupied by just you and your coach and 100% of the focus and energy is dedicated to uncovering your strengths to help you win. Your attitudes, thoughts, and emotions take center-stage as your coach challenges your limiting beliefs and helps you think in new ways. A one-on-one coaching relationship helps you stretch and grow so that you find that you achieve new heights in your career than you ever thought possible. One-on-one coaching is the biggest financial investment you will make in your career; but it will also net you the biggest gains. Not only in your career, but also in your personal life and finances. Of all coaching options, one-on-one coaching is boss.

I personally subscribe to coaching

To win at work and in life, I also participate in coaching. I set aside time to coach myself daily. I have weekly telephone check-ins with my peer coach who is also available for "emergency" on-the-spot coaching (priceless!). I also attend a weekly coaching group of women faculty who hold me accountable to my research and writing goals. I also work with an executive coach about once a month. I have recently taken steps to work with an academic coach to help me make my next big leap in independent research funding. If it's not obvious to you, I am fully subscribed to coaching as a way to help me win.

How have you used coaching to achieve life transformation?

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