Everybody needs a coach

I had a long chat with a friend and business partner of mine yesterday after a long time. It’s fascinating that when you see yourself reaching a certain level of maturity and confidence, everything seems to fall in to place and you would be the one who define your own definition of success.

“If you are young and talented, it’s like you have wings” – Haruki Murakami.

I am so glad that I have been given many opportunities to watch, learn and experience various aspects of life and to meet people from different backgrounds and social standing. Although it’s not enough, and it might never be enough, and although at times I feel like I don’t really know what I want, but I’ve come into realization of knowing what I don’t want.

I don’t want self-help speeches, I don’t listen to TED Talks, I don’t have so many influencers in my life. Some people recommended me to listen to this and that talk in order to get some inspirations, I paused for a moment and think: Really? What if I am the one who do the talk? What if I am the one who inspires other people? Do I need to listen to TED Talks? I don’t know, maybe yes, maybe know, I will do when I feel like it.

When I was in my early 20s, almost a decade ago, I came up with this business idea of forming my ‘Beyoutiful’ project with a bold statement, which is to become π‘‰π‘–π‘’π‘‘π‘›π‘Žπ‘š’𝑠 π‘“π‘–π‘Ÿπ‘ π‘‘ 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒𝑠𝑑𝑦𝑙𝑒 π‘π‘œπ‘›π‘π‘–π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘”π‘’ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘’π‘‘π‘’π‘π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘›π‘Žπ‘™ π‘ π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘£π‘–π‘π‘’ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘›π‘‘, π‘‘π‘’π‘‘π‘–π‘π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘‘π‘œ π‘€π‘œπ‘šπ‘’π‘›. Honestly speaking, I haven’t done much from the business operation point of view – only the very basic, but I would have pictured myself for a long time doing this. I keep telling people that I am not a type of alpha woman, I don’t even see myself as an ambitious woman, and I would be happy if I could see someone may have done similar things. But as far as I concern, I have not seen it yet, and I know I would get back to my project eventually.

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So when I said I wanted to provide assistance to enhance women’s lives in Vietnam, I’ve immediately received interests from both private and corporate sectors. Some asked me to be their private coach, but I wouldn’t want to call myself one. For some reasons, I get paralyzed when someone approaches me to say that they are a life coach or even a career coach – even for those who are certified by International Coaching Federation (ICF) because I find most of the time, those coaching speeches are quite plain and ordinary and predictable. But you will meet more and more people doing it and more and more people who need coaching in this modern life.

“It’s not about what you do but how you do it”. I keep saying this myself and try to maintain a fair point of view when and where I can and even to challenge my own status quo.

I never thought that I would need a coach. From a long long time ago, I decided that I would not have anybody that I would call “idol”, there’s simply no such thing, we are all people with strengths and weaknesses, and we pay for what we get in different levels. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in metaphor, to see a role model so we can all learn to become a better version of who we want to be or what we want to be.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve got to know a coach from work opportunity. The power of attraction somewhat brought us together that he wanted to see if we can work on this coaching subject together. Coach Hoa Nguyen is an American Vietnamese with many years of experience in hospitality operations and business culture context. Hoa approached me on a day in the life of an experienced hospitality professional who would like to shift his career into a different direction. Hoa knew me because we had the chance to conduct an education session together. This time, he approached me and offered the chance to experience his one hour coaching session. I said yes, not entirely because of me would be keen on attending a coaching session but I would like to know how the session would be led by Hoa.

My experience with this person in a few words: I would love to meet to know this person more in the real life and I prefer much of an in-person meeting. The reason I’m saying this? I didn’t have super strong impression when we were communicating via virtual platforms. This gentleman indeed know how to master his listening skill and ask evoking questions when it is needed.

What did I learn from that one hour session?

Well, I learn that when it comes into personal matters, things seem to be quite messy and confusing the way we try to express our own emotions and needs. Sometimes we might not even know our own needs. While there are people who have the tendency to think of themselves first, Hoa reminded me much of what he experienced from my sharing: I talk too much in the third person point of view and I do not talk much about myself – I think too much about what’s in it for them instead of what’s in it for me. I paused for a second and try to reflect, it’s quite normal when I think this way when I work in hospitality industry where we learn to put people first, but learning this from him would help me a lot as I know now that I need to make better decision that give myself a better life balance.

The other conclusion, I thought, everybody needs a coach, simple as that, no matter how great you are. Your coach doesn’t necessarily have to be richer, cooler and successful in all what he or she does, but they have a strong will to coach you to become a better version of yourself, I thought that is more than enough.

Coach Hoa Nguyen & Me

Image: Coach Hoa Nguyen (left) and me at Starbucks. We know we both looked tired after a long day but we are happy indeed with our progress.

Then I actually gave it a try to google my own thought of “Every needs a coach” and it’s interesting enough that the sentence itself is actually a quote from Bill Gates. I thought, well, maybe I am on the right track. Thank you Coach Hoa Nguyen again!

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