Career vs. Hobby Coaching. Just, Stop. 

Today is a bit of a follow-up to the video caption I posted yesterday in preparation for our upcoming Coaches Academy. It strikes a major nerve with me when coaching hardos get high and mighty about the fabricated classism gap between career coach and a part-time “hobby” coach. It’s not the principle of this differentiation that bothers me. In fact, I agree with it wholeheartedly, but where I start to object is how that determination is made.

Like Jo in A Few Good Men, I strenuously object.

If a coach wanders the floor with indifference six days a week shouting generic feedback, are they more apt for the job merely out of indifferent repetition than the coach who connects and affects one day a week?

To be a career minded coach has nothing to do with where your primary form of compensation is derived, and everything to do with your level of preparation and ongoing pursuit of knowledge. Some of the best coaches I have ever seen are not career coaches by compensation, yet are unequivocally career coaches in preparation, knowledge acquisition, and readiness to lead effectively when their name is called. The only thing that your paycheck signals is where you elect to spend your time professionally, and dare I say, potentially use that as a cop out when it comes to the pursuit of more.

There are a few behaviors that signal someone a career minded coach. The regular attendance of either external or internal continuing education opportunities supposes that you are a career coach. Your decision to invest your off-the-clock time to better yourself on-the-clock supposes you are a career coach. Your treatment of coaching as a thoughtful pursuit, and developing an understanding of communication nuance rather than a series of hammer versus nail interactions supposes that you are a career coach.

Put succinctly as possible, a career coach is someone whose actions leave no doubt.

Here, by compensatory standards we have three career coaches and eight “hobby” coaches. The “hobby” coaches we have perform the same duties as the career coaches when it comes to standard of performance and preparation. The “hobby” coaches allocate the same amount of time for continuing education, and are responsible for the same practice fulfillment. They attend Sunday Coach’s Labs and complete the same monthly assignments, and for some, the investment off-the-floor rivals their primary vocation.

There needs to be barrier to entry with coaching, but the buck should stop at cultural expectations of the craft, not available hours. As an industry, we need to be promoting the importance of our “all in” hobby coaches, not making them feel inferior. The standards need to be high, but within those standards of actions the pool needs to be filled up for sustainability, not drained.

There are many who claim to be a career coach whose actions do not reveal that as truth, so I will leave you with a single parting question.

Does your off-the-clock effort level match the on-the-clock narrative that you have of yourself?