Who Guides You? The Coach or the Cheerleader?

By Buck Medley

We all need support and advice in our careers. We are, in general, part of teams for a bigger cause. These teams can do great things within organizations. The question is, are you being guided by the cheerleader or the football coach? Which of these teammates is helping you develop and expand in your career?

The Cheerleader

Thinking back to the good, old, high school days, I think of the cheerleader that was always happy, upbeat, and quick to point out the positive. Fast forward to our careers. How many times do you still see the cheerleader in your office? This team member is quick to tell you congrats on an accomplishment and how great you did with a project. We tend to gravitate to these people because they are complementary and so positive. My question is what do they contribute to your personal growth?  I’m not saying these are bad people or that we need to avoid them! The truth is we all need cheerleaders in our lives. What I’m saying is, are cheerleaders the leaders that we sometimes think they are?

The Coach

So, going back to those high school days, I also think about my old football coach. He was a guy that didn’t smile very often on the field. Old school would describe him to a T. Coach pushed us to be our best. He expected perfection from us and was happy when he knew he was getting our best effort. Coach wasn’t afraid to tell us when we screwed up. I can still hear the sound of his metal whistle hitting the side of my helmet as his other hand was pulling my facemask down to look him in the eye. He would ask a rhetorical question that you know he really didn’t want an answer for. In fact, if you gave an answer, you were lying to yourself and making excuses and could count on getting a lap to think it over. He got the most out of me and all of us. His leadership wasn’t positive at times, but it was what we needed. Those lessons also carried through life. Twenty years after playing football I can still hear the whistle hitting the helmet when I need to focus because I wasn’t delivering the best that I could.

My question with all this is, do you have a football coach in your life or are you surrounded by cheerleaders? Do you have someone pushing you to grow, to develop, to see more in you than you see in yourself? Don’t hide from criticism but embrace it. Also discern it, because some people love to give advice without earning the right to do so.

Reach Your Potential

We don’t need many of these trusted coaches in our life, but we can use all the cheerleaders that we can find. If we find ourselves with multiple coaches in our lives, then we are allowing ourselves to be pulled in different directions.  It creates people that are simply following to get approval instead of leading and being guided to our highest potential. It’s human nature to go negative, so surround yourself with those that are positive. Positive people are getting harder to find in this cynical world. But if you are putting all your personal growth in cheerleaders, you will not develop into your full potential. It’s important to have honesty and positivity. Find the balance and grow to your potential.

For a career coach that can help you make the next step in your career, contact the experts at Career 1 Source.