What does intention have to do with coaches?

written by Erica Quam

I was talking to a coach this week who shared one of her accomplishments with me. She set an intention. Not only did she set an intention...she experienced amazing results - from this one simple step.

The Reporter

A reporter had called her and left a voicemail. He was writing a feature story on her and wanted to find time to set up an interview. The coach got really nervous. She hated doing interviews. She never knew what they were going to ask, she never felt prepared, and most of the time she was misquoted or even worse - her quotes were taken out of context.

The Procrastination

She stayed up late that night worrying about what questions this guy would ask. The next morning, instead of calling him back, she put it off and worried some more. Eventually, with her stomach in knots, she picked up the phone and began to dial. As the phone rang something popped into her head. She remembered something we had talked about during one of our coaching calls. Before anyone answered she quickly hung up the phone.

The Intention

Then, she told me she closed her office door, turned off the lights, and closed her eyes. She asked herself three questions: who do I want to be, how do I want to feel, and what do I want the outcome to be. 

She jotted a few thoughts down on a piece of paper. She took a couple more deep breaths. Then she picked up the phone again.

The Outcome

I asked her how the conversation went. She was amazed! It was her best interview ever! She felt like she knew what the next question was going to be even before he asked it. "It was like we had known each other for a long time...and were just having a relaxed conversation."

She really felt like they connected - like he understood her and really got what she did. She couldn't wait for the article to come out! Before they hung up, he said he would send a draft...so that she could look it over. He wanted her to let him know if anything was incorrect or if he misrepresented her in any way. He really wanted to capture the essence of her as a coach.

The Application

Setting an intention is a powerful tool. It's directing the mind to take aim. You can set an intention for BIG moments - like for the new year, for the season, or for a big event. 

Intention setting is even more powerful if it becomes a habit...or even better yet: a practice. You can set an intention for any small thing that comes up each day - to move towards a better outcome. Here are a few examples:

  • walking onto the practice field
  • meeting with your team
  • asking for a raise
  • giving constructive feedback to an assistant coach
  • conversation with a challenging athlete
  • seeing a parent that drives you crazy
  • going home to your family at the end of a long, stressful day

The Process

The process for setting an intention is simple:

  1. Pause
  2. Breathe
  3. Set

When you take time to pause, you allow yourself to focus. It helps you harness the power of your attention. When you focus on your breath, you come into the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future (what hasn't happened yet) or dwelling in the past (things that may not happen again) you come into the HERE and the NOW (the only moment that matters). To set an intention, I use a 3 question formula to set an intention: 1) who do I want to be? 2) how do I want to feel? 3) what do I want the ideal outcome to be?

Do you have a story about an intention you've set? What did you experience? Share it in the comments below. You never know who you may inspire by sharing it!


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Erica Quam is the Founder of the Coaching Experience, where she teaches athletic coaches how to think more strategically about coaching, how to balance the demands of their career, and how to create a life that they enjoy.