Today Hank Haney quit as Tiger Wood’s golf coach. A Yahoo! sports article postulated that he probably saw a firing coming in his future and decided to proactively resign. A few years ago I read Tiger’s book on golf, although I had little interest in the sport. I’ll always be a pretty pitiful golfer if I continue to practice infrequently. I was interested in reading it because I wanted to see how a true professional approached the game. I wanted to know what type of mental hoops he jumped through to perform at peak performance day after day. I left the book with a huge sense that genius exists where preparation meets aptitude (I’m sure someone said that before me, but I’m not sure who….). I realized that to be good at (at that time) financial planning, I was going to have to study and study more. It wouldn’t be a “learn it and sit back” experience, either. I was going to have to continue to hone my skills. Tiger’d hired Hank Haney to help him hone his skills. Even Tiger Woods had a coach.
Now I feel the same push to be prepared with my writing. It’s going to be a process. Toward that end, having a coach in my corner has made a ton of sense. A coach should think differently than you, disagree with you, and still push you to do more than you accomplished yesterday. I have a coach like this. Mary Lou Johnstone is an excellent source of new ideas (but not too many ideas), focus (but not to the point of boredom), and thoughtful insights into my goals and overall situation (without getting in the way by “owning” my goals herself). There have been times that I’ve thought about firing my coach, but I always come back to the same point: if I fired her, would I do as well as I am now?
I think all writers should ask themselves that same question. First, do you have a coach in your corner to help you navigate your career opportunities? If not, why? Do you already know everything there is to know? I’m fairly certain Hank Haney isn’t as good a golfer as Tiger Woods. But still, Hank’s insights have helped Tiger become what he is today.
Second, if you do have a coach, how are they helping you? If they aren’t helping much, how much of that is the coach and how much is your own fault? Is the relationship repairable?
Good questions to ask today.