The Rope & The Coach

Posted by jlubans on September 09, 2010

While preparing for my October 5 Coaching for Results workshop in Atlanta I came across one of my past Hurricane Island Outward Bound adventures. Along with "sailing" (more like rowing for hours!) the Hurricane Island experience included a rock climb:

I was near the top of the cliff, secure as one can be on a narrow supporting ledge of rock 80 feet up. Below, blocks of granite littered the quarry floor, their sharp edges upraised like so many Brobdingnagian
molars. I rested against my unreasonably thin safety rope and wondered. How was I going to get to the top? Less rational was the incessant trembling in my legs.

The coach’s voice invisibly hailed me from above.
“See the rope? Grab it and I’ll pull you up!”
To the right, several feet away and up, he’d dropped a sturdy looking rope with a knot tied in the end. The kind of rope I never could get up in gym.
“You’ll have to jump to catch it,” advised the voice.
“To the side. You can do it”.
What? And leave the safety of my ledge?
“Sure. You’re ready to stretch yourself. Try it.”

What if I miss?
My first shaky try failed and I scraped against the granite, cursing, scrambling back to the few inches of the ledge. I counted my bruises and composed myself. I heard the encouraging shouts of my teammates below.

The voice again, from above. “Nice try. Think about where you want to go and how to get there. Use your resources. Now, tell me a joke.”
I don’t want to tell anyone a joke.
“OK, then sing me a song.”
Go to $%^#@ hell. I definitely don’t want to sing.
“OK, take your time.” The rope slithered away out of my view.

It got quiet. The beauty of the late afternoon sank into me. There was a sky above me and not far away I could see and hear the wind soothing the tremulous trees. Closer in, the quartz crystals locked in the cool stone face glimmered, coming into focus.

Gee, there’s got to be a joke I can tell. Oh, yeah. The one about the armadillos.

My teammates hooted and hollered in appreciation. Feigned or not, it was a tonic, lifting my spirits.

My coach lowered the rope.

I thought about what it would take to make this leap, a leap of faith for me and my coach.

I told myself: “From the toes and up, over to the side, and close to the cliff.”

With a prayer, I launched myself… and soared across the miles.

How does the coach help?
What role does the team play?
What moves the person to leap?

« Prev itemNext item »


No comments yet. You can be the first!

Leave comment