Course Guide

The Staying Power of Commitment

So, you have it figured out. Helping others succeed in life is your personal calling. Your passion is burning within you. Your heart is being stirred and you can’t wait to jump in. Now, more than ever your vision of being a professional coach is clear. But will this burning passion be enough to keep you on the road towards your dreams? Reality would tell us that even passionate people fail. In fact, passion, itself, can be a stumbling block – the very thing that will cause you throw in the towel.

Passion cannot guarantee success. The rigors of professional coaching and the challenges that go with it cannot be overcome by passion alone. To move on and continue on, passion should generate commitment. Why? Passion can make you blind to the realities of the profession, but commitment is will make you stick to your calling even if your plans are not going as you have envisioned. Commitment will supply you the resilience to spring back from failure and to bring yourself back on track.

What is commitment?

A most fitting dictionary definition in this context is: A firm decision to give your time and energy to do something that you believe in. Commitment to your profession is no different from your commitment to your relationships. And there is no relativity in commitment. In other words, it has no gray area. It’s either you are committed or you are not.

Recent scholarly studies identify five types of commitment in the workplace:

1. Affiliative Commitment: This kind of commitment is momentary. It comes about because your current interests and values fit your profession. Interests are fleeting. They can change even if you’re caught up with your job. Shift of interest can cause boredom and can make your job a burden.

2. Associative Commitment: You are committed because of the pride and the privilege of being associated with the profession. You are in it because of prestige. This type of commitment lacks substance which your client will eventually feel. You will not last very long because genuineness is key to establishing lasting relationships.

3. Moral Commitment: This type of commitment is forced out of a sense of responsibility. If you consider professional coaching as a matter of responsibility to the human race you will eventually feel spent. Slowly, your job will become a heavy load as you realise you are forcing yourself to carry an idealism too heavy for you to handle. Of course, we all have a moral obligation to humanity but idealism without reality will bring us nowhere.

4. Structural Commitment: This commitment comes about because of material or financial benefit. If money factor is the one that prompted you to enter professional, chances are you might surrender at the beginning of the race.

5. Affective Commitment: You derive satisfaction from your work knowing that your client is also satisfied. Researchers suggest that this type of commitment is most beneficial. People who have this kind of commitment give their best and go beyond the call of duty instead of going through the motions. This type of commitment is deep-seated and as such is not easily swayed or broken.

What could challenge your commitment in professional coaching?

1. Your Client
Don’t get stuck to your own idea of who your client is. Some of your clients will be difficult to coach because of their pessimistic view of life and their defensive stance. To stay on with your commitment, always assume that change is possible and people are capable of changing themselves. Otherwise, your coaching is up for failure. View them from other perspectives so you can see their positive aspects and focus on those.

3. Your Social Life
At the beginning of your career, your social life cannot go on as usual and you may even have to let go of your social circle. If you cannot sacrifice this area in your life as you start your profession, you will not go very far. In the beginning, you have to accept the fact that there is no way you can create a perfect balance between business and leisure. Tough and challenging times usually crop up at the start.

3. Your Failures
Failures are natural occurrences in an imperfect world. Expect to encounter not a few of them in your profession. Successful coaches consider them as learning curves to help themselves bounce back to greater heights and to reach their goals. Remain hopeful amid the failures and bravely face each challenge that come your way.

4. Unusual Work Set Up
Your life in the box would be challenged. Do not expect a 9-5 routine at the beginning. If you desire success, work according to the need of the hour. You have to be flexible enough to cater to you clients’ requirements. Remember, you have competitors. Rigidity will keep you lagging behind in the race.

5. Yourself
Do you feed on positive feedback from others? If you are not used to criticisms, negative remarks on your performance will make you forget your commitment. You cannot avoid being an object of criticism since it is part and parcel of your failures. Learn how to handle them by using the stones of criticism thrown at you as stepping stones to success.

As you deal with your clients and their emotions, you will also have to deal with your own. As an emotional being you will always have that tendency to react according to how you feel rather than on what you heard or perceived. That is why you need to be aware and be in control of them as you start your sessions.