Do you sometimes find yourself taking advice from people, only to watching things fall apart precisely because of that “good advice”? It’s important to understand that YOU are the expert of your life. It’s easy to think that an “expert” or even a friend you respect will have some good input into your situation. That can be true – but ultimately, you’re the one to decide if their input has any validity, truthfulness, or value. We go to “experts” all the time – doctors, lawyers, accountants — precisely because they have knowledge that we don’t! HOWEVER…. we still have to be the “gatekeeper”, if you will – If we don’t provide accurate and succinct information to our doctor about our symptoms, we run the risk of our doctor misdiagnosing us.

There have been times at work when I’d be solving a problem, and another engineer asks me, “did you know…. java has a built-in method that does that…. in the version we just upgraded to?” (And here I was re-inventing the wheel). Sometimes we do that in our lives. The danger zone is when people tell you “you should….” This is why having a good coach is so important in your life. A good coach will be able to ask you the right questions, to get at the crucial details, and allow you to come to the right answer for yourself. On a rare occasion they may provide information, but the mark of a good coach is allowing you to realize what you need to learn or discover in your own life, and be an accountability partner – (not your mother).

It sounds “too easy”, doesn’t it? In fact, I had resisted coaching for awhile, thinking that “If I already have all the answers within me, what’s the point of the coach?” It’s simply this: We see things from one perspective. If you’re an engineer, you know that there’s more than one way to solve the same problem programatically. One solution may have certain advantages over another, some are more efficient, some are more extensible. A coach can bring a fresh perspective, questioning things from a different angle, and helping you to look at a problem anew, since you hadn’t previously considered a particular question before. That’s when you burst out with “OH!!!! I know!!!! All I have to do is…..”

and THAT when it becomes *really* rewarding!

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