is like Riding a Bike
I often have people ask me about coaching and the difference between a
coach and a mentor, or between coaching and therapy. Here’s an article written by Thomas Leonard, the founder of
Coachville, which might help you understand the distinctions!
the mechanics of riding the bike. Teaches you the laws of physics, how the
bike is propelled, what is necessary for balance, and laws of
motion/propulsion. A consultant tells you where to sit and where to put
your feet and when to pedal. They may even offer or suggest a training
program to upgrade your bike. Then he/she leaves. Consultants are
Discusses the basis for your fears about riding and the consequences of
falling. Discusses if your parents rode, and why that might be important.
Explains why it is important for your self-esteem or psyche, for you to
learn this and be successful. Therapists are very useful to unwire
whatever baggage may be impeding your potential to ride.
Buys bike for you. May put on training wheels, and take them off when they
think you are ready. Runs by the bike holding on until you have balance to
continue, and then cheers you on as you go off riding into the sunset.
Occasionally will threaten to take away riding privileges if you don't
comply with ground rules.
Shares with you their experience/expertise of bike riding. Gives you tips
on "drafting" and the most effective way they've found to ride.
Models the way they think you should ride, gives you strategies about
things like changing tires quickly in a race, how to get the most speed
for your effort, what the best bike is to buy in their opinion, and how to
negotiate gravel at the bottom of a hill. Teaches you their version of
proper maintenance, warns you of dangers of riding in traffic and tells
you how to avoid them. Sometimes holds an "I know better than you
since I've been there before, so you'd better listen to me"
Listens to your desire to try riding. Asks you if you need instructions on
how to ride and asks where you might get them. Asks if you like the
color/kind of bike you're about to ride. May even help you pick the bike
up and help you get on. Runs along side the bike "checking in"
to see if you're enjoying the experience and asks what might make it more
fun. Will help you discover what you need to take care of yourself when/if
you fall. When you stop, the coach might ask about your experience and
what was valuable, and whether or not you want to pursue mastery of bike
riding. If you do, the coach asks you how you might devise a plan whereby
you can attain that mastery. If you don't, then the coach may ask you if
you want to continue riding casually or if you want to devise a plan to
sell the bike.
the Submitter: This piece was originally submitted by Thomas J. Leonard, Copyright 1997, 98, 99, Coach University