I was listening to Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, talk about a realization he had: the conductor is the only member of the orchestra that doesn’t make a sound. When Zander had this realization, it changed the way he viewed his job and his demeanor. Conductors have traditionally had a totalitarian rule over the orchestra and have used the podium to exert power and influence. Zander realized that his job was to find the best way to get the musicians to express the music as beautifully as possible. Instead of bending the orchestra to his will, he builds rapport with the musicians and finds ways to elicit their passion for the music.
Upon hearing this story it was immediately obvious how this applies to coaching. My job as a coach is not to just yell and “no rep” people. My job is to bring out the best of my athletes and ignite their passion to do the work and be their best. Everyone goes to a gym for a reason. Obviously to get fit, but there’s more than that. They want to be a part of the community. They want to be recognized for their efforts. They want to express themselves physically. The coach’s job is to facilitate their passions and give them the space to express themselves.
We should strive to be a facilitator of other people’s passions: give people permission to be their best selves. Our job is to help facilitate that relationship between the athlete and themselves, their body, the gym, the program and the community. How to do that is the real trick. If we reframe our purpose we show up differently, we act differently. There is a world of possibilities available to us and our clients if we show up as the coach that draws out the greatness in people as opposed to the coach that just yells.
“I have a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.” ―Benjamin Zander