Life Coaching – The Origin Story

Life Coaching! Where did it come from and what is it about? Like many new ideas Life Coaching’s origins cannot be traced back to a single person or a single event. However, there is one book that has been credited with helping to get Life Coaching moving. W Timothy Gallwey’s “The Inner Game of Tennis” /1974.

In his book, Gallwey talks about an inner game and an outer game, the outer game against an opponent, the inner game against ourselves. The outer game is about the physical aspects of the game, the racquet, the rules, fitness etc. The part of the game that is often neglected is the inner game, played out in the players mind, their fears, their distractions, their ability to concentrate and be focused at the right time. Often at the highest level of sport the difference between winning and losing is which player has the “mental toughness” to endure to the end. 

Australia’s recent tennis history is littered with many young professional players who failed to reach their potential. The most visible problem was often the distractions caused by an out of control parent. In other cases the issues were less visible.
So how does the inner game of tennis apply to us in our lives? How often have you wanted to do something new, it may be a new sport, go for a promotion at work or even start a new business? How often have you managed to talk yourself out of it? “That’s impossible, I’m not good enough, if it was a good idea someone else would have done it ”.

Everyone has an inner critic, an inner voice. The difference is the winner’s voices are generally looking for new solutions to problems not creating new ones. By rehashing old ones. They are focused on winning, not worrying about losing.
Albert Einstein once said “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it”, a Life Coach’s job is to help change the way you think about your life.
If you think you can and you think you can’t, you are right in both cases. Which do you choose?

“My toughest opponent has always been me” Muhammad Ali

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