What does it mean to have a coach?
I've been involved with sports and martial arts ever since I was a little kid. Over the years I've spent a fair bit of time with different coaches. And to this day, I can point to how specific individuals accelerated my growth as an athlete.
The same holds true for academia. Having experienced what a great coach can do, I took it upon me to identify academics whom I'd like to be mentored by and approached them. The work was tough, but I have no regrets.
In my experience, all the great coaches:
- have vested interest in you becoming a better version of yourself,
- have walked that path before you,
- have failed more times than you did,
- have learnt more than you did, and
- can recognise their own mistakes in your actions and demonstrate how to overcome them.
I found it to be the best investment of time and effort, and continue pursuing mentors in all fields I take great interest in. Having a coach isn't always pleasant, but that is such a small price to pay.
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