Krishna The Coach

Coaching skills are not new to the modern world.

Looking back at our rich history and mythology we find that these skills were used very effectively by Lord Krishna who can be considered the greatest coach ever.

How Krishna coached Arjuna on the battlefield amidst the raging Kurukshetra war is something that makes one ponder and think.

As we all know the Pandavas emerged victorious over the Kauravas in the 18 days long Kurukshetra war.

 Krishna’s role as a coach and counsellor to Arjuna on the battlefield was instrumental in this victory.

Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is what we call the ‘Bhagwad Gita’ and this forms one of the sacred texts of the Hindus.

Studying the ‘Gita’, one can interpret Krishna’s advice to Arjuna as the techniques that we as coaches and trainers use to impact lives.

Some of Krishna’s life coaching lessons to a modern-day Arjuna can be conceptualized as follows:

As the war was about to begin, Arjuna was almost in tears and did not want to fight against his cousins, teachers and loved ones.

Krishna being Krishna could understand these emotions of Arjuna and by speaking to him could get Arjuna back onto his feet.

How was this possible? One may ask.

Krishna understanding Arjuna’s emotions tried to shift Arjuna’s perception from bodily sensations to the source of such feelings, that is, his thoughts.

Krishna explains to Arjuna what the future would look like after the war. The war is difficult but it is inevitable and so has to happen.

So Krishna instead asks Arjuna to refocus from bodily feelings to managing his thoughts. This is one of the core competencies of coaching and every coach tries to apply this to their clients.

Like Arjuna, we exaggerate about threats that are uncertain and tend to forget the skills that we have, to overcome these threats. Krishna boosts Arjuna’s morale by highlighting his strengths and his skills.

Asking him to focus on his strengths and skills, Arjuna is able to cope with this situation.

Similarly, this is what a coach does to his client. Boosting up his client’s morale, the coach is able to make the client solve his problems on his own.

Facing reality and accepting the change is another aspect of Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna.

The outcome of a war is well known to all. Instead of repenting in the aftermath of the war, Krishna asks Arjuna to focus and accept reality.

 This is what coaching too is all about – To accept change and embrace it.

Like Arjuna, we tend to shift our focus from our purpose and instead start glorifying our problems. Even if there is a problem, the key to ‘focus’ is not to forget the ‘why’.

 Research has proved that dealing with the problem becomes easier if we understand why we are doing it. Find the purpose and stick to it. This is again what coaching is all about.

And lastly, knowing one’s responsibility towards achieving the goal.

Although the decision of going to war was not his, Arjuna had certain responsibilities entrusted to him and Krishna pointed out that these should be carried out under any circumstance, no matter what.

Responsibility is the ability to respond, and it is something that makes you enchanting.

 Finding your purpose and taking responsibility to achieve it is what a coach helps to do with his clients.

These are some of the teachings in the Gita which can be applied to life coaching in today’s world.

This is how a comparison can be drawn from one of the greatest coaches, Sri Krishna, to today’s modern coaches.


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