Today in my yoga class, while enjoying the learning, stretching, strengthening, and relaxation I associate with yoga, it dawned on me how much coaching and yoga have in common. First you learn some basic moves. Then, a well-trained instructor asks you to shift something just a little and the whole move changes. You suddenly feel a difference. You can tell you are stretching something new, developing a new muscle, and perhaps replacing an old habit with a new skill. You spend time looking inward and being aware. You use breathing and mindfulness to relax your body, control your mind, and focus your energy. The instructor challenges you to reach for a new goal while also honoring what your body can do today. There is a gentle reminder not to compare yourself to others; instead, make the adaptations you need and relax into each move. All the while, you are praised when you do a move correctly and challenged when you slip back into old habits.
Just like a good yoga instructor, a good coach helps you look inward, teaches you some new moves, helps you recognize your old habits and explore new ways of being. A coach encourages small, but significant, changes which ultimately lead to new growth. Before you know it, you reach your goal.