Week #4ish–Patience and the Art of Coaching

I thought it was high time that I highlight one of my male friends (and I’m holding off on writing my post about Matt because I gush about him enough here…)

Steve wrote a really great post a week or so ago about “contributers”. I like this idea so much that it got me thinking about the contributers in my own life–except with a small twist. It got me thinking about coaches.

Life is very circular. I have a lot of people who serve in a certain capacity as “coaches” to me. Generally it’s on one very specific area, but sometimes it’s more vague and “unbeknownst-to-the-coach” sort of mentoring. Here are a few examples–I’ll start with sports, because it’s the easiest and most commonly associated idea that goes along with “coaching.”

Ivan is our ultimate frisbee coach on Tuesday nights. I think he has the rare gift of giving good advice to make us all better players without sounding pretentious, cocky or condescending. He is making all of us better at the same time as making us feel good about ourselves. It’s pretty amazing–and yet, despite his frequent encouragement, I know that when he says someone did something great, he means it.

This week for my “experiment” I wanted to share with you why I want to be like Oliver. Ollie is one of the coaches in my life too: the bike coach (not to be confused with the bike mechanic). Matt and my mom bought me this beautiful new road bike for my birthday and Ollie has been SO wonderfully riding with me. He is a much stronger biker than I am. I know that when we bike together he could go infinitely longer and infinitely faster than the pace I am going. But he’s helping me train for an upcoming race…so we go my pace. He offers me advice when I ask and encourages me when I think I am not going to make it up a giant hill.

His patience with my questions, pace and skill level is something I aspire to. Oliver is rarely in a hurry. He takes his time telling stories. He is patient. I, on the other hand, am not. I never have been. When I was a child I would rush through a project at school (not doing a particularly great job) just so I could start another project.

Patience teaches us to live in the moment.

And finally, like all of my other previous experiments –I want to be as thoughtful as my friends. One time after Maja moved into her beautiful new house, she casually mentioned that she’d like a peep hole to be able to see out the door. One morning there was a knock on her door and there was Oliver peep hole parts and drill in hand. He installed it for her and was on his way. That is such a true example of not only thoughtfulness but also listening.

Like I mentioned, life is circular and of course it is my hope that I can help other people like the coaches in my life are helping me–giving them dignity, confidence and friendship. And in cases where I’m unable to be an expert of any sort, I’d like to know that I’ll always so up–to cheer and encourage. Today a bunch of us are going to watch Ollie and Ivan’s ultimate game in the regional tournament…and in a case like this, where I most certainly not be coaching, I will be there cheering and encouraging.

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