Its not for everyone, coaching, but for those who step forwards and chose to work with a coach the long term benefits and results may well surprise you! Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt two of the most established, forward thinking and respected CEOs both agree (everyone needs a coach). It has certainly given them both immense satisfaction!
There are going to be very specific times throughout an individuals career that working with an external coach will make absolute sense and there will be times when good old fashion hard work will be needed to ensure that what you have committed to do is being worked on.
There is an old saying that will last all of us….’practice makes perfect’ just look at any major sport-star or musician, they are constantly working on the small 1% of things that will ensure they stay at the very top and ahead of the rest. No different to the business community when you think about it.
Coaching isn’t for the elitist, nor is it just for a certain type of person. No matter if you are running a start-up, running the largest organisation in the world, or somewhere in-between, making use of an external professional coach throughout your professional career helps.
I recently watched (from here in New Zealand) one of the most mind-blowing (team but individual) human achievement, a feet I never thought I would see in my life time…..to many people around the world they to thought this was just impossible – to see a person run 42ks (that’s a marathon) in under 2hours.
Question…….did that man have a coach?
Answer………….hell yes…..and a team around him that put all their energy, knowledge and commitment to help him achieve this amazing personal achievement. Sure, he was the one with running shoes on pounding the streets of Vienna, but just like an executive coach who works with leaders that entire team wanted only the very best for him and to see his personal dream come true.
Makes you think as it did to me that with the right mindset, the right attitude and the right people around you that ‘anything is absolutly possible’. To me why I coach is to see the person sitting alongside me truly excel and be absolutely the very best he/she can be.
There are some important considerations to work through when you are looking to work with a coach (I have put a couple of things towards the end of todays blog, these are not limited but these are common questions that get asked of me when an individual initially meets with me).
Having the right connection with your coach and a healthy respect of why both parties are coming together in the first place is critical to the results you are looking for. A good coach is not a magician, the magic comes from both sides coming together – that’s when the magic really starts. I recently liken this to Simon & Garfunkel one of my all time favourite musicians – could they have hit the high feets without the other? Maybe, maybe not they certainly went onto great things post there wonderful partnership. Look at Sir Ed and Tenzing Norgay, could each of them got to the top of the worlds highest mountain without the support of the other, again we will never know. What we do know is they came together for the common good – to knock the ‘bastard off’ and they achieved this. With any of my professional clients I want to be that support for you – so you reach your own ‘Everest’.
Coaching can help navigate things even when the future or map is unclear. Nothing needs to be perfect. I believe the only thing that needs to be perfect is your own dedication to simply ‘improving’, the rest will take care of itself.
Ultimately, for you to succeed onto greater things – there needs to be trust and confidence between you and your coach. You need to be speaking the same language, a good coach will be able to adapt his/her approach so you benefit greatly. When I have the privilege of work alongside an individual, one of my key themes from the very start is ‘nothing is off the table’. Now let’s get to work, life is not a dress rehersal.
Here are three reasons hiring a career coach is a good idea:
1. A good coach will accelerate you quickly. Hiring a coach often can reduce the time it takes to get to the place you want to get to. Having a sounding board, having a structure, having a rough plan all helps but a thoroughly good coach will hold you to account, push you (at the right time), give you time to breathe and will hold the mirror up for you. In hiring a coach he/she can keep you focused, help you prioritise the areas to work on and bring you back on track if you start to wonder off. He or she will offer thoughts, ideas but is not there to give you the answers……. most of all, your coach will make sure you hold yourself accountable to the goals you set and the outcomes you want to achieve all in a confidential place.
2. A good coach can develop a plan with you. Do you know your purpose? What are you actually here to do? Is your leadership approach the best approach for (you)? What are your true gifts and strengths? How are you going to work through your development needs? Why are you leading others. Again a good coach will have systems and tools and specific programs in place for you. Ultimately between you and your coach create a bespoke plan that works around you, your commitments, your family, your lifestyle and in your language. When tough conversations are needed your coach will be able to bring those out, face into them, work thru them and then move on. Helping you continue. Some of the biggest learnings I see in my clients is when we need to have a ‘tough conversation’.
3. A good coach can show you how to invest in yourself. Like all professions – there is a cost associated to working with a coach – Putting your money on the line as an investment will be an expression of your commitment to yourself. I put in place a measuring system that shows you your ROI. Its important to me that you improve, so, when I partner executives in my executive leadership program (Intelligent Leadership Coaching Program) I measure your results over a 3, 6 and 9 month period. Why, well you are looking to get results, if we don’t measure how do we know you are actually improving? If things need to change we course correct. For those on a tight budget you do not want to ‘waste’ money, nobody does, having a clear agreement, clear expectations will support your investment and I am confident you will ensure you take action to improve.
When you are approaching a coach, be clear with what your budget is, ask to see terms, if possible speak to people who have been coached by him/her in the past (sometimes this might be hard due to non-disclosure agreements), try and understand what the coaches approach is, the results (the success & the failings) get a sense of who you will be working with and then make a formed decision.
Here are 3 reasons hiring a coach is a bad idea?
1. You are being ‘told’ to get coaching. I have seen this many times over the last year, a client comes to me and says something like, Hi Nick, my company (x) want me to get coaching, or my Chairperson/Director has told me go get a coach, or I don’t want to be here but I have been told to come.
Really sorry but I am not going to work with you! I want the very best for you and working with those who actually want to do something amazing is far more interesting to me than simply me turning up……As mentioned at the beginning of my blog – there will be times when you might need to work with an external coach, you will know when that time is right.
2. You feel coaching will solve all your issues?. A good coach will bring so much to you but he/she is not a psychiatrist – they may not be trained to give that support, if the coach senses that you might be better placed to work with someone else then they will tell you. Sure during a long coaching engagement I get to understand so much more from my clients as they do of me – its wonderful to be trusted and confined in – but good coaches will never cross that line!
3. You are not willing to put in the hard work! As a coachee, you might in between sessions agree to work on certain things, this could be reading, planning, testing, writing, thinking, networking, etc, to me as a coach, the real magic takes place outside the coaching room, your effort and your intent is critical to your success. How many times do you think Tiger Woods would be at his driving range (on his own) just practicing his swing? How many time might Paul Simon have sat in his room with his guitar – pen and paper and just played around with his music to see where things took him…..Just the same as working with a coach you will need to be on your own and work things through. If you are not willing to put in the hard work, coaching will not work!
When to look for in a coach, here are a few things that might help!
Do you actually need a coach (or) do you need a mentor?
Do you connect with the coach?
Has your coached been trained?
Does your coach have a system?
Do you feel you are able to be yourself with the coach?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our coaching blog today, I want to wish you all the very best and if I can be of any support to you get in touch.
A bit about me.
Married to Nicola, dad to Louie and Willow, live on Auckland North Shore, interested in Ironman / long distance endurance events……and serving my purpose…..I am a Master Certified Executive Coach and have been hand-picked, trained and certified by the #1 Executive Coach in the world John Mattone who’s leadership coaching program Intelligent Leadership Coaching Program has been accredited by The International Coach Federation as a premier coaching program. I have coached over 500 individuals and spent thousand of hours coaching.
It’s an absolute pleasure to have the best job in the world and to work with such talented, driven and smart individuals.
Look after yourself and each other,
Master Certified Executive Coach
Roud Career Coaching
‘Unleash Your Most Authentic-Self’