What good teachers teach
I’ve recently hired a coach to help me with my business, which means I have an hour each week where all my stuff is mirrored back to me.
So far, in just two sessions, I’ve seen in myself what I see in my clients when they first start the work. I’m tired of going around in my own circles, with few results. I’m restless and unfulfilled. I want my coach to give me a plan, placed in front of me (the sooner the better), with the answers.
Being the good coach she is, she didn’t do that. Being the good coach she is, she’s guiding me to answers, but they are my answers. Being the good coach she is, she’s listening deeply for my truths and reflects them back me.
That’s the thing about a good teacher. They don’t teach their ideology or dogma.
They teach you to come back to you.
This is the core value of the inner nutritionist. You hold the answers to your body and your life. It doesn’t mean you don’t need a guide to help you navigate, no no no, it just means you’re way more powerful than you ever imagined.
But we forget this. And recently I, a teacher who spends dozens of hours a week teaching women to come back to their greatest wisdoms, have forgotten to come back to my own.
So I’d like to share with you five things that are on my mind in regard to this topic. It’s what I’m currently reminding myself of as a work with a new coach. I hope this list of five helps you when you’re selecting your next teacher.
1. First, on the topic of hiring a teacher, we must set aside the resistance to receiving help. Oh, the internal dialogue we have about this! It’s too much money. It won’t help much anyway (I’m too broken). Maybe next year. It will be too hard and too much work. Watch out for those. They might be believable, but they aren’t always true. If you’re thinking you’d like some help, you’re probably ripe or overdue for it. Thinking about getting help is your sign to go for it. Waiting for the “perfect time” is dangerous because 1) there is no perfect time and 2) there is no perfect time and 3) there is no perfect time. Your life is moving right along and waiting for the flawless circumstance won’t do a thing for you. Jump.
2. Second, any program, coach, or teacher that isn’t listening for, as well as leading you back to your inner expert, is a red flag. This is important for two reasons. First, you will always be dependent on others unless you discover your own way. You will be reliant on external resources to solve your internal problems. This is troubling because, and this is the second point, you’ll never be fulfilled this way. You’ll leapfrog one thing to the next, never arriving, always co-dependent. Beware the teacher that feeds you fish, without teaching how to fish.
3. Third, hire teachers that want to see you graduate. As one of my colleagues, Dana Sturtevant says, in regard to the 95% failure rate of the diet and cosmetic fitness industry, “this industry’s survival depends on you coming back for more, again, and again, and again.” Don’t get sucked into those business models that are setting you up to fail so you can keep hitting the purchase button. If you’ve been in those types of funnels your “failure” was not your fault, you just drank the Kool-Aid (or protein shake). A good teacher will teach you tangible, doable steps to help you succeed. They will celebrate your victories and work diligently side by side with you to see you launch into the world with confidence and skills that last a lifetime.
4. Fourth, work with the utmost professional. Don’t skimp on this. Truth be told, you’re hiring help for something that matters a lot to you, maybe for something that matters the most to you. You’ll share things you don’t share with some of your closest friends and family members. In this sense, the coaching process is sacred. You’ll need a coach that listens deeply and compassionately, makes you feel safe, gives you their full attention, and follows up when they say they will, and has a map to lead you to the next level. You deserve nothing less.
5. Fifth, once you’ve found a good teacher, let her guide you. Be coachable. Be vulnerable. Let her step in as your inner wise voice while you’re in the process of finding your own. Let her acknowledge your victories, big and small, until you learn to do this for yourself (this is the fuel that keeps us going). And let her show you how fear, self-doubt, and uncertainty (and fear of failing again) are natural reactions when we get closer to our truths and actualizing our dreams. If your coach doesn’t normalize this or give you practical ways to walk you through the “muddier” parts of the work, it’s definitely not the right fit.
May we all be so lucky to be in the presence of good teachers. I hope these five points have been helpful for you as they have been for me when seeking out help for your next steps.