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  • Isabella Puddu

The metaphor of the coach

taken from “Wellness Coaching for lasting lifestyle change”,Michael Arloski



I think that this is the best explanation for coaching. I read this book a few years ago as I was starting my journey as a Coach. It gave me many answers and the strength I needed to go ahead. I would like to share it both with other coaches and with people who decide to change something. Everything is possible.


Mountain guides do not climb mountains for people. Nothing is accomplished, really, if you hire me as your mountain guide and pay me merely to plant your flag on the summit while you sip martinis and observe me through a telescope down at the lodge.


As your guide, I help you plan the climb. We assess you readiness for the climb, examine what you have and what you need in equipment and resources. Together we determine a route to take. We plan how long the journey will take and allow for elements we can’t control, be it the weather or a family crisis. We examine what your personal goals are. Are you a peak-bagger, or more into the sheer experience of the high country? We get clear on what a successful and fulfilling climb will be for you.

Mountain guides do not make people climb mountains. The motivation for the climb has to be within the climber. During times of discouragement may lend support, or even challenge you to reach a little deeper for strength I know you have. I also know that your chances of success are far greater if your motivation is internal. You want to climb this mountain! You are excited about it, and you anticipate that the journey will in itself be a large part of the pleasure of the experience. It works best when it is not fear-based motivation. You are not climbing the mountain because you are afraid what will happen if you don’t!


Most importantly, your chances of success are far greater just because you aren’t doing it alone. Knowing that I am there with you on the journey shifts your entire mental approach. You push through the temptation to turn back prematurely (as you may have done so often in the past) as you look over at me climbing beside you. You know I will hold you accountable to yourself to do what you said you have come to do. You also know that you retain your freedom, and if you choose to turn back you will not be criticized for it.

When we do summit, it is your flag that is planted, not mine, for this was your journey. It was you and the mountain. Your coach was like a good solid rope – a support.

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Copyright by Isabella Puddu
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Photos by Denisa Babics
Stock photos by Unsplash