Les coaches sont des Jedis

Coaches are Jedis

 

Why am I now convinced that coaches are in fact Jedis?

 

I am working with AceUp, an American startup, whose mission is to make coaching more accessible. I am coordinating the first summit that takes place in Boston, bringing together a few dozen coaches in one place : an event of collective intelligence with a diverse array of activities, where each coach will have an active participation and input… On the plane back to Montréal, it occurs to me that coaches are in fact Jedis. Let me explain…

 

At the end of the day, we take it in turns to express our concluding thoughts of the event, and I refer back to what is close to my heart: “The dark side of the universe is mobilised to destroy humanity. We are confronted to the greatest challenges in the history of Sapiens: climate crisis, extinction of species, poverty, women’s nonexistent rights in many countries, poor resources, animal mistreatment. As coaches, we are influential in the face of leaders. We must combine our strengths and become allies.”

My neighbour follows on with an exclamation “could we be… the Order of the Jedis?”

A burst of laughter echoes in the room, a large part coming from the prestigious Harvard University.

 

Indeed! Coaches are the jedis of our time. But why so?

 

I have encountered coaches frequently since the late nineties, and they all share traits of the greatest jedis…

 

They are well aware of their fragility!

 

In this American summit taking place in a country where it is still taught that “boys don’t cry”, many coaches share their most intimate traumas with me minutes within meeting them. Are human beings not fragile by nature? If the greatest predators forget that they will soon die (as we all will), coaches are well aware that our common fragility brings us closer as human beings: in sharing our vulnerability and respecting each others’. Is it not better that way to support each other better? However efficient the domination model may be, is the price we pay worth the results we get? How can we develop collective thought and intelligence if vulnerability is not shown nor celebrated?

 

Coaches are jedis because they confront themselves with bravery to their fragile side. They embrace vulnerability and turn it into their greatest strength.

 

They are creative!

 

For a long time, I was stuck into thinking that creativity was owned by artists only. I had linked the word creativity solely to art, before finding out the field of possibilities. Similarly to the Jedi, the coach invents subtle tools, methods and unexpected postures. The aim is not to recite an existing method, but to invent an entirely new one inspired by the given story.

 

When a leader succeeds spectacularly through hard work and intelligence, they have sometimes cut themselves from emotion. They become an analytical robot that takes decisions from rationalised tables, enriched by the latest innovations of artificial intelligence. The coach/jedi intuitively invents tactics that open up the gaps. During the AceUp summit, each coach brought testimonies that have opened up ways to transformation. Creative manifestations.

 

They are risk-takers!

 

Many are those coaches who could have stayed to play in the political playgrounds of big companies. They could have stayed with the benefits of a bonus and great salaries. They have the understanding, the intellectual tools and the profile fitted for this career. However, they took the risk of entrepreneurship which in most cases (with a few exceptions), doesn’t result in a financial fortune. The significant reduction of revenur is a strong common point shared by those coaches/jedis who went from a stable lifestyle with a salary to professional independence. We take those risks because we want things to change within the currently existing paradigms. 

 

The great master Yoga, humble and powerful, lives in some dodgy swamp and holds all the strength. It isn’t honor nor riches that make the foundations of his power. Isn’t it his freedom?

 

Yoda is indestructible, despite not having armies that protect the emperor.

 

They ask fair questions!

 

Coaches can see, hear and feel what is happening. They have developed an intellectual sharpness that enables them to understand the stakes in place. They are sensitive to their interior signals and those of the body. They know how to elaborate those questions that appear to come out of nowhere. Often, the coach will feel that the question is pertinent, especially if it is an uncomfortable one.

 

Much like the Jedi, the coach holds the trained talent of questioning, which suggests a disconcerting opening. And philosophers have proclaimed it: isn’t power in interrogation? In the arena of business and enterprise, questions arise to disrupt the established order.

 

How dare they act singularly in the mass!

 

No matter what singular thought dominates. No matter the number of supporters. The Jedi awakes to affirm and to defy. Convinced that words can defeat weapons, he can handle the laser of verbs to counter the accepted norms. As I’m writing this, an amusing analogy of Star Wars laser comes to mind, infamous weapon to fight the Empire’s intergalactic arsenals. However, there is where force lies: words, the Verb in the Bible, which in its singularity enables transformation.

 

In all coaches’ stories, there are always those moments and anecdotes that resemble when Yoga handles his laser; those when brave and inspiring words leave the rest of us holding our breath…

 

At the AceUp summit, my neighbour named us The Order of the Jedis. Inspiring analogy… Of course, Star Wars reduces in a simplistic way the eternal combat between  “goodies” and “baddies”. However, I am personally convinced that leaders need to answer questions that are becoming increasingly difficult. The coach/jedi is here to help overcome fears that don’t enable him to connect within, to the source of inner strength, and take wise, bold and sustainable decisions.

 

Does humanity want to go and collect Yoga out of his dodgy swamp? There lies our dilemma: either we carry on running on the traced road of worrying prospects, or we can tap into our common fragility, creativity, essential questions, risks, the thought and singular actions to protect our future…

 

We are Jedi-coaches!

We stay determined to face the challenges with no equivalence in history!

 

NB: it’s amusing to note that the day before the summit in Boston, I participated in a workshop led by Nathalie in Montréal. Nathalie is a Quebecois coach living in Paris. She introduced herself as “I am Yoda”. Unsettling synchronization: perhaps this is the simultaneous awakening of the jedis…

 

Do think coaches are jedis? Will you join the rebellion alliance?

 

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