13 dez 2017 / Geral

The Enzyme Coach: A Reaction Catalyst

5 Minutos de Leitura 


I look around and realize that I've never seen so many people available to contribute to a better world. I look around and see these people in the "backstage", supporting the rise of others.

According to a 2016 study, by the International Coach Federation and Price Water Coopers, there are approximately 53,000 coaches worldwide. A number that seems to be growing rapidly as more and more people, whether formally trained as coaches or not, apply the skills of coaching to help people, teams, and organizations achieve their desired results.


So why is it that coaching is quickly becoming essential to anyone committed to excellence and growth?

Why are there so many people turning to coaching, ready and available to support, facilitate and catalyze other people's processes? People coming from very different backgrounds of training and experiences and who apply coaching in so many different ways.


I wonder what the purpose of this phenomenon is in our current society? What phenomenon is this?


Why are there so many coaches today? We're all here paying attention, we come from different worlds, big organizations, multinational companies or maybe we don't have the experience but we're passionate about helping others thrive. And we have to act and act fast to expedite the development of awareness, skills, new behaviors and a greater respect for others.


As I observe this phenomenon I can't help but use an analogy that stems from my years in Medical School... I see us, coaches, growing in number, and I think of enzymes because just like an enzyme catalyzes reactions, we too, speed up processes that are vital to our functioning and well-being. We're here and we're growing because we are, indeed, needed.


Just like an enzyme facilitates our bodies' vital functions, we facilitate the development of people. The relationship that we establish with each person so that they live healthier, better lives is identical to the relationship enzymes establish with the human body, facilitating optimal functioning.


Even though a more thorough analysis will, inevitably, reveal some imperfections to the comparison, after all, Coaching and Catalyzing aren't exactly the same thing, they do serve a common purpose, the facilitation of fundamental reactions to our survival and well-being.


Why enzymes?


But what exactly is an enzyme? An enzyme is an organic substance, a protein that catalyzes biochemical reactions without altering the reaction equilibrium or itself, meaning, the enzyme is not depleted in the reaction process. And a catalyst? A catalyst increases the rate of reaction to incredible speeds without being changed in the process. It accelerates the rate of approach to equilibrium (to speeds sometimes faster than a lightning bolt) so that the reaction can occur.


There are thousands of reactions happening in our body 24 hours per day, such as DNA replication, breathing, and digestion. Without these reactions, we wouldn't survive. Without enzymes, most of these reactions wouldn't occur.


Here's the thing... most of these reactions are absolutely vital for our survival, but if left unattended to, these processes would be so slow that they would end up endangering our survival and well-being. By accelerating the rate of reaction, enzymes are, not only, facilitating life processes...they're supporting growth and evolution.


How exactly do the enzymes speed up reactions? By lowering the barriers to the transition point. The transition state theory says that it's at the highest point in the transition, that bonds are formed or broken. It's where all the chemistry is happening, and everything has to be aligned for the reaction to happen.


Binding coaches and enzymes...


Coaches are increasing in number, increasingly specialized and with strong differentiation and...like enzymes they catalyze reactions.

They come in, at some point of the reaction chain, expedite the identification of barriers and promote the acceleration of the reaction, they guarantee a better performance but are not depleted in the process. They come in, they speed up the reaction and they move on, to catalyze other processes. Therefore, they can be used again and again as powerful transformation agents.

Here's a  more detailed look at how enzymes work:

"For an enzyme to act, the substrates have to fit the enzyme, and that fit depends on the shape of the enzyme. Therefore, substrates that fit a particular enzyme won't fit others and the reaction won't take place." (Wikipedia)


In the coaching world, we can help some coachees, but we can't help all of them. The coach-coachee fit needs to be just right, there needs to be a foundational chemistry present that allows the process to unfold. 




"Once the fit is established, the end result is an enzyme-substrate complex, that resembles a lock and key system. The place where the substrate fits the enzyme is called an active center. In the case of substances that react between each other, with the catalyzing effect of enzymes, the reaction is facilitated because the proximity between the bound molecules accelerates the reaction process; after the reaction, the enzyme detaches from the substrate and remains intact." (Wikipedia)

This attachment and detachment is also the foundation of our work as coaches. Enzymes facilitate reactions that would hardly occur without their presence. Coaches facilitate reactions, that would hardly occur without them.


So today, we have this responsibility, of accelerating reactions, of supporting higher performances, of making sure there is enough energy for the reaction to take place, for the next level of life.


We coaches are indeed, transformation agents. We come in, guarantee that the reaction happens faster and more efficiently and we carry on to other processes.



Sofia Calheiros / Leadership & Coaching