“Pushing people” has numerous connotations, and most are negative. As a coach, I’ve consciously avoided pushing my clients…too much, anyway. I have thought of myself as more of a guide. I’m starting to wonder if guides can push, more.
The book “I’ll Push You” by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck, opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about coaching. Actively guiding my clients to find their truth that lies within them has been my approach. I see and hear about approaches that seem hard, almost bullying, and I shy away from that approach because it doesn’t feel good to me. But the lesson I gained from Patrick and Justin is that pushing people to get the goals and dreams they have for themselves is honorable and not bullying.
Patrick literally pushed Justin the entire 500-mile length of the Camino Francés, the most popular path of the Camino de Santiago. Justin is quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound, and thought it would be an interesting trip. They have been best friends since childhood and have diligently nurtured that connection. When Justin suggested the Camino as a “guy’s trip”, Patrick generously responded with “I’ll push you”. He didn’t offer to guide Justin, he pushed him.
Now, I’ve walked the Camino Francés and I know how hard it was to walk. I watched bicyclists successfully face the Camino’s challenges on wheels. I witnessed people pulling carts instead of carrying packs. But, moving a total of 250 pounds with the chair, man, and gear over three mountain ranges, with the mud and boulders that were present at times, was daunting. That kind of pushing seemed noble to me.
When someone wants to grow and they ask you to help them, it’s your obligation to push them to reach their potential. Justin wanted to be pushed — and both men grew tremendously from the experience. The other people who occasionally pitched in to help push Justin also seemed to step up to being pushed in various ways. But, you may be wondering, how does that relate to coaching?
The trick is to only work with those who want to be their best, to excel at the task or goal they are striving for. Understanding what the person wants and helping them reach that goal can require pushing — pushing them outside their comfort zone, pushing them to change their mindset about what’s possible.
Coaching is about helping people reach their potential.
Nurturing is a good coaching technique. And so is pushing. We get stronger as we stress ourselves by stretching beyond our comfort zones. We grow when we do more than we think we are capable of doing. We transform when we learn to live into our best selves, live in alignment with our values, and live the life we designed based on our dreams and values.
A good coach will guide you to make those changes. A good coach will push you when you fall short of your goals and expectations. And a good coach will push you when you don’t push your limits and exceed your boundaries of what you’ve done before.
When you can’t do it alone, rely on your coach to guide and then push you. You’ll love the results and thrive in your excellent life.
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