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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Would you like to know something more about coaching? Take a look at the Pixar movie "Cars"

When I tell someone that I am interested in coaching and coaching techniques, the question I immediately get  is: "What exactly does a coach do?".

A coach is a professional working with clients by using specific techniques and tools from different fields, depending on the client's needs.
A coachee is someone willing to improve or change some aspects in his/her life (business or comunication skills, career aspirations, health, marriage, family relationships, working atmosphere, sport performances). We can talk about a "client" referring to one singular coachee, two lovers, a family, managers and executives, leaders, athletes, a group of colleagues working in the same company, etc.

The coach and the coachee establish a relationship and they work together, in order to make it easier for the coachee to discover his/her goals and/or stay focused on them, to analyze his/her strenghts and weaknesses, to better understand which kind of changes he/she wants to (or not to) achieve and how to do so, etc.

Most people think that they don't know what a coach does even if they actually see coaches in action on a regular basis. In schools, fitness studios, universities, teams of professionals and athletes, foundations, administrative offices and... in movies too.

[The "perfect" coach-coachee relationship:
Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson]

You can find a funny example of a coach-coachee relationship in the Pixar movie Cars (2006), by John Lasseter and Joe Ranft. At the beginning of the movie, the racing car Lightning McQueen is using visualization techniques to focus on the imminent race, to boost his performance and motivation, to improve his self-confidence. The wannabe champion is somehow his own coach and he keeps saying to himself:

Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers. I eat losers for breakfast.
Breakfast? Maybe I should have had breakfast? Brekkie could be good for me. 
No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Lightning.

In the race he demonstrates two things: he is a rough diamond with a lot of talent for sure, but he is not able to cooperate with others. He can't use his great skills effectively. 
This is also the feedback that he gets from older racer Strip "The King" Weathers, who gives him some very good advice and who could be a precious coach for Lightning. But the young rookie is unaware of his weaknesses and he doesn't take the chance to learn from a big champion and to improve his skills. 

The situation is the same, as Lightning McQueen meets Doc Hudson for the first time and the movie shows in an interesting and touching way how Lightning and Doc can create a good coach-coachee relationship, that allows Lightning to become a better racer and a happier person (well, a happier car actually).

I didn't notice this aspect of the Pixar movie that much, when I saw it for the first time. Since I am into coaching now and I spent my last year by learning a lot about it, I really found it enlightening, when last week I was seeing the movie again.

What about you? Did you like the movie? Do you prefer another Pixar movie?

Do you want another example? What about Doc Hollywood?
Stay tuned: we will talk about it at some point!

Tags: Coaching, Coachee, Relationship, Cars, Pixar, Lightning McQueen, Doc Hudson