My friend had asked me how I was doing, and I told her “Not bad, but I’m lonely.”
And I was. I was a coach, and I was lonely.
It was insane because I was surrounded by people all-day-long.
But I felt like it was me, and then it was everyone else, and the only connection I had with them was the one I had as a coach.
I don’t know … I don’t think it is all that uncommon for coaches.
We work with people all day, we might find ourselves coaching in front of hundreds if not thousands of people, maybe even millions of people if our competition is televised.
Yet, it’s us … all by our lonesome.
Eight reasons come to mind:
- Walls. To protect yourself from the emotional drain, the fray, the circus swirling around coaching you’ve built up barriers around you to keep people away.
- You smell like month-old egg salad. You are so immersed in your coaching you haven’t showered in weeks, you’re wearing the same clothes for the sixth-day straight, and you lost your toothbrush four days ago.
- People are afraid of you. You’re in a perpetual bad mood, people don’t want to get yelled at. They avoid you like a drunk mall-Santa.
- You are isolated by those above. Your supervisors have decided it’s best if you don’t interact with the other coaches and people on the staff. See the two reasons above. “It’s business,” they would say. It’s not, it’s you.
- You are an energy suck. People stay away because you leach their energy. A 4-minute conversation with you is like back-to-back marathons.
- You don’t know how to handle losing. The season is going wrong and you don’t know what to do. When people see you they are afraid you’ll attack, or roll up in a ball on the floor and start whimpering.
- You don’t know how to handle winning. Hey, you’re winning. Hot dang. But nobody else is and they don’t want to see your gloating face.
- You snore. You are so sleep deprived you fall asleep constantly. Nobody wants a sleeping, drooling coach asleep on their shoulder. You may think they do … they don’t.
What To Do?
Any of those sound familiar? Might that be you under the loneliness hat?
Listen, no coach is an island, and you need to have a support system. Trust me on that … I tried to do alone and it didn’t turn out well. Coaching will chew you up and spit you out, like it did me.
Here’s a few things you can try.
- Make friends with yourself. No one is going to want to be your friend until you can be good to yourself.
- Develop a social network outside of your coaching circles. Where do you hang out when you’re not coaching? Try to build a social network there. Church, firehall, the grocery store… Look around where you spend time to build positive relationships.
- Family. Yes, I’ve heard the saying, “Friends are God’s way of making up for family.” As spot on as that saying may be (sometimes) it doesn’t reflect the power and support that can be there with family.
Prisoners are put into isolation as an extreme form of punishment. If you are feeling isolated, lonely, do something about it.
You owe it to yourself, your legacy, and those you coach.