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Judges and Coaches

Have you been for selection trials for a sports team? Have you been to an audition for a play? Have you been to a job interview? Chances are, you have. More than once. And on each of these occasions, you have put out your best self and have shown that you can thrive in any situation and that you have what it takes to see things through if selected.

When we find ourselves in situations like these, we are aware of the fact that the other person in this interaction is judging us, evaluating us, trying to identify our strengths and our weaknesses. And we're auditioning and interviewing because we want to be picked. So, we end up putting our best self in front of the judges, and hide the negatives and the weaknesses.

I don't know about you, but I've found myself doing this even at times when I shouldn't be. One of the most important skills to develop is to identify who to treat as a judge and who to treat as a coach.

Have you had a physical trainer? Have you had a doctor? These are coaches. Do you tell your physical trainer that everything is going well when she asks how she can help you? You tell her exactly what your weight loss or muscle gain goals are, and you tell her what your fitness goals are. Only then will she be able to help you chalk out a regimen that will lead you to achieving those goals. Do you tell your doctor that everything is under control and you'll be fine in no time? No. You tell her exactly what the problem is that you're facing and listen to her diagnosis and take her advice in terms of medication and changes to diet and exercise. You aren't afraid that the doctor or the physical trainer will judge you.

All through our school life, we are used to being judged. The kids who ask questions which don't have seemingly obvious answers are judged as smart by the teachers. Many hesitate to ask questions in class for the fear that it has an obvious answer and that they would be judged as stupid or mediocre or slow. Many don't speak up in meetings because they are afraid of being judged. I have been in this situation several times. Many lie to their boss that they have everything in control when offered help for fear of being judged as incompetent. I have been in this situation many times. Many lie to their friends about how they're feeling for the fear of being judged. I have done this many times.

And by doing so, I've been losing out on potential coaches. I've been hiding my difficulties from the very people that have been best placed to help me out.

And that's what we all miss out on if we are treating coaches as judges.

When in doubt, err on the side of branding someone a coach. There's far more to lose by not getting the help needed than there is to be judged for seeking help. We get over that.

(Hat-tip to AL1)

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