My Lifetime of Coaching (And a Big Thank You to All MY Coaches) by Michael York

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…

Congratulations Michael!! You ARE The 2009 International Coach of The Year!”

The culmination of a multi-year Mastermind Coaching Program with members from all across the globe and here was my coach and a panel of mastermind judges announcing me as the winner. That was a pretty cool day. It lead to several spoils of victory, including a week-long cruise with my wife, a cool looking award that hangs on the wall of my office, a new timepiece (I’m a watch guy) and a new title from Tim Paulson and EZ Coaching Worldwide Mastermind—International Coach of the Year!

All these years later as a “Coaching Ambassador Emeritus” of the program I’m still coaching. And was excited to hear that this month’s magazine was all about COACHES AND COACHING!

I’m sure you’ll glean much from all the coaching contributions and will surely, if you haven’t already, come to the conclusion that COACHES MATTER, COACHING MATTERS and from professional sports to Broadway to CEOs and top performers in most any category you can name ALL HAVE COACHES! And most all of them will give credit and sing the praises of theirs.

As a way of thanking mine, I’m sharing with you here my “essay” that was a part of the COACH OF THE YEAR competition. I don’t know that I could make a much better case for coaching and I can never thank all of my coaches over the years enough for their contribution to whatever measure of success I’ve achieved.

Here’s that letter…

(Michael York’s Winning Coaching ESSAY)

A Lifetime of Coaching; Learning for a Lifetime

My first coach was my Dad.

After school practices that lead to Saturday afternoon games in the heat of the day.

And those scratchy wool uniforms that soaked up the dust from our red fields.

Father and son– Coach and player; I’ve never forgotten those days.

How much I learned and how much I enjoyed learning it.

Years later I would become a coach to my son.

The Saturday afternoon games moved under the lights during the week and the fields and uniforms changed. But the magic was much the same.

Some years later I was asked to become the coach of my son’s basketball team at a small private school. A request I reluctantly agreed to largely because I felt so unprepared to handle a varsity team as their coach. That experience became five seasons of coaching that saw us take a 1-13 record in our first year of league play to a runner-up 13-5 in conference and a spot in the state tournament in my final season. It was special getting to invest into the lives of young men, many of whom I still see today…and have them still refer to me as COACH.

I share this coaching experience because it also allowed me to have a special bond with my son. Having the privilege of coaching him for 4 years and 71 games, something I could never have imagined with my work and travel schedule at the time.

And for what we both BECAME in the process. That’s what coaching and learning is about mostly… BECOMING.

I wrote about this experience in my first book BECOMING UNCOMMON and shared one of the most powerful “coaching” letters of my lifetime…from my son. At a time when I was trying to get my speaking and consulting business off the ground and dealing with so many difficult decisions and the financial grind, one day a letter arrived in the mail:

Dear Pops,

I wanted to thank you for your card the other day, and just for some other stuff. That card really got me thinking just how much I appreciate you, and love you.

First of all, I wanted to thank you for being a father who taught me how to be a man. Not just a man after excellence, but a man after God’s own heart. Your integrity and character…

When you made the decision to start your own business, no one believed in you more than your son. And that still holds true today. I was listening to your CD’s the other day, and it got me to thinking…

Hey, Ryan, wherever you are…

BE THERE!” Wow…so simple, yet so profound.

In my life I gotta’ grab hold of everyday, and love every minute of it. Mr. Frease (the Dean of the school) said something in class the other day. He finally found out that I was only 19, he couldn’t believe it…“Man, this boy must have one good teacher.” It started me thinking, yeah, I owe a lot to my Dad I want to thank you for that.

Now, I don’t love you because of your business, or your character, or your success… I love you for one reason, because you’re my Dad.

I know I’ve never written a letter quite like this, but I thought it was time I told you, in a real in-depth way… Dad, I’m so proud of you. I think this is the first time I’ve ever told you that, but definitely not the first time I’ve thought it…..

You are a good Dad, I just wanted to tell you. I just wanted to encourage you, to keep going. Your stuff works, it’s good.

Hey, I know you have rough days, but hey, that just means when you make it big, you’ve got the goods, you overcame it all. Here’s a verse for you, Proverbs 24:10…(don’t do this)

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small…”

Hey, I miss you a lot, I’ll be home in 6 months…

I love you Dad.

Ryan Michael York

(Excerpted from my book, BECOMING UNCOMMON)

Coaching has allowed me to teach, but has also provided an amazing opportunity for me to continue learning for a lifetime. And for all those coaching lessons I am thankful.

On a special coaching call several months ago, I was introduced to Tim Paulson. Another coach in my life who came along at just the right time with just the right information needed for the next stage of life’s game.

Tim’s encouragement and instruction became the last number in the combination that opens the lock for me. Only to find that inside that box are more locks and more secrets that we must continue to pursue. But pursuing those secrets without a coach, trying to win without the confidence that comes from coaching and preparation and execution seems almost unthinkable to me today.

New seasons are always coming into our lives and coaching is a constant if our goal is winning.

I am a coach.

A product of a lifetime of coaches, many of whom have no idea how much I truly learned from them or how I have been shaped by their coaching lessons.

So thanks Dad.

And thanks to you Tim.

And to Mr. Ferguson, and Mr. Brown and Coach Ezell—to Zig and Mr. Rohn;

To Jeffrey and Alan and Dan and to all the rest of those coaches that come along in our lives at just the right time.

For all of these and so many more came along at the right time for me.

I’m glad I was paying attention.

Here’s to being ready for that next coach that comes into our lives at just the right time!

Michael York

Mr. Mastermind”

 My Lifetime of Coaching (And a Big Thank You to All MY Coaches) by Michael York


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