“What does success mean to you?”
By Krishna Kumar, President – IAC
It is a question that most coaches would come around to asking their clients at some stage in their professional engagement and discover that for their clients it might, possibly, have been the most difficult query to answer.
If coaches were to ask themselves this most fundamental of coaching questions, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that they too would grapple with finding that answer, which resonates deepest within them. Strangely, in some ways, it would be even harder for the coach than for their client as applying the conventional meaning for ‘success’ to the coaching profession feels limiting. Coaching, as a profession, transcends the traditional goals of achieving material well-being and receiving recognition. In coaching, success is measured through the reflected glory and a sense of achievement when the coach’s client is successful. We find this dramatically demonstrated in individual sports, like tennis, when even former Champions like Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg remain in the shadows of the achievements of their super achieving protégés, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Can we search for a better definition of success that truly reflects the passion and purpose for being in the profession?
As the profession of coaching demands the application of compassion and commitment to the clients’ goals, coaches might believe that success is better measured through a feeling of happiness rather than a sense of achievement. With happiness or a sense of inner contentment being synonymous with fulfilment, would being fulfilled be the best measure for a coach?
Written eons ago, these lines from the Buddhist spiritual text, the Dhammapada, provides clarity to the difference between success and fulfilment.
“If your focus is on fulfilment and not on success, then happiness will follow you wherever you go. If your focus is on success and not fulfilment, then suffering will inevitably follow you like the cartwheel follows the ox. Where success stops, the road to fulfilment begins. Fulfilment is within us at this time, we need to discover it.”
The desire for continuous learning is integral to a coach’s journey to Mastery and the search for fulfilment. We invite our IAC family of coaches to participate in the IAC’s ‘Path to Mastery” program and discover their unique paths to fulfilment.
Krishna Kumar is the Founder-Director of the Intrad School of Executive Coaching (ISEC) and a pioneer in the sphere of Leadership and Executive Coaching in India. His firm belief that coaching is the best way to learn has carried him through a varied learning journey over three decades that included donning the hats of a corporate executive, an entrepreneur, a tennis coach, a B-school professor, independent Board member and an Executive Coach. The journey continues…