“There are two ways to get swole.”
That’s what the CEO of Novus Global said to me five years ago as we talked about what it’s like to work with his organization compared to other coaching organizations.
“You can go to the gym and lift weights. Or you can build a log cabin,” he said. “We take the log cabin approach.”
A light bulb clicked and I saw that his analogy revealed what is at the heart of world-class coaching—and ultimately world-class leadership.
World-class coaching isn’t a set of questions—though we can’t do our work without them.
It’s not the thought leadership and insights—though they can help.
It’s not the track record of helping clients get what they want—though this is a fundamental part of every coaching relationship.
The best coaches in the world help people rethink their ability to identify, find, invent, develop, and deploy resources.
Let’s zoom back for a minute to your high school economics class.
The first lesson in economics is on scarcity. Simply put, every economic system is a response to scarcity. It comes down to how communities act when it appears there isn’t enough of… well, anything.
And so resources get used, controlled, and allocated (and let’s be honest, often abused) because of the perceived notion that there isn’t enough and we must be precious with what little there is.
This scarcity mindset shows up almost everywhere in life. And because it’s so prevalent, we may sometimes misapply it by creating limitations that don’t correspond with reality: I don’t make enough money. We can’t find enough high-quality job candidates. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I don’t have the training or experience to get the job I want. There isn’t sufficient support for this project.
Whether they do it consciously or not, most coaches are focused on pushing you beyond these limitations in ways that help you become a better resource. They might facilitate you getting your next promotion or hitting new sales records; coaches love celebrating wins like these with their clients
But performing your job with greater adeptness, efficiency, and skill isn’t the same as cultivating resourcefulness. It’s about making your ability to draw abundance out of scarcity second nature.
At first glance, resourcefulness may seem like teaching someone how to fish instead of giving them a fish.
But that adage only gets us partway there.
Developing resourcefulness to serve your immediate needs is a great starting point—but a sorry place to end.
World-class coaches get people to dream, act, and lead on a wider, community-based scale. They help them envision a future that requires a person’s greatest resourcefulness. It’s about helping a person experience the world as resource-full. Not only rich with fish, but also with fishers.
To do that, they explore a key question leaders don’t often ask—one that resourceful people often do: What is my community capable of?
You probably look at community in a bunch of different ways. It might be your department, your family, your alumni network, your neighborhood, your small group, or your bowling team.
But great leaders get curious to explore how their immediate communities contain the very answer to the problems they’re interested in solving. They ask, Who do I know that’s an expert in this problem? Whose passion aligns with this project? Who knows someone who has been waiting to address this issue? The actions a resourceful leader takes come from a profound trust that the world is more generous than it is scarce. This trust comes from their belief in people. Leaders committed to being resourceful see beyond their immediate connections and recognize that each member of her own community is a connection point into hundreds of connected communities. Because of the scale of those multiplying communities, leaders typically barely scratch the surface of the resources available to them.
A world-class coach is intent on impacting not only their client but also their client’s entire world.
At the Meta-Performance Institute, we train our coaches the same way we coach our clients. We identify what it is they want to gain as a result of their coaching. Once we’ve identified that, the powerful question that follows is: “What would you be creating when you have that?”
A world-class coach doesn’t just want you to build muscles.
A world-class coach holds space for you to figure out what you’ll create with those muscles. And then, together, you get to work to develop the strength, power, and skill required for your creation.
World-class leadership is just that: world-class. It sets its sight on the prosperity, abundance, and creativity of communities at a scale that’s hard to fathom at first glance. It’s a leadership goal worthy of our potential.
So ask yourself… is your coach drawing out all the potential of your resourcefulness? You might be seeing incremental improvements, just as you would if you were lifting weights in a gym with a fitness trainer.
Imagine instead what it would be like to have the space where you learn a resourcefulness that comes from creating and building, where the lasting legacy of your improvements are more than log cabins. They’re monuments that inspire, honor, and become resource-full for generations.