Coaching used to be seen as a tool deployed by companies to inspire or improve high performance, especially as a last resort. When a key employee becomes so unproductive that termination is imminent, coaching was sometimes used as a last resort to bring that individual back on track, and where that failed, the organization now had the perfect excuse that they have done all that they can.
Today, coaching has evolved beyond that. It is no longer a performance management tool for underperformers but an opportunity for growth and progression for everyone. It is a tool for anyone who wants to move from point A to point B or improve performance and productivity in a specific area. Coaching can help you build capacity and confidence to move closer to your goals. A coach is someone who can guide, push and lead you to your better self. He/ She provides specific, actionable insights and opportunities for growth based on the areas where you need improvement.
In Bill Gates’ April 2013 TED Talk for teachers, he opened with the statement “Everyone needs a coach”. He went on to highlight that a common characteristic to all high performing individuals, from executives to athletes—is the fact that they all have a coach.
We all need coaching. In fact, everyone deserves a coach, because everyone could use some help, some muscle building, some hand-holding, some guidance to build intangible assets and create the results you desire. A coach will encourage you, hold you accountable and save you from self-sabotage.
The Institute of coaching states that over 70% of individuals who receive coaching improve work performance, relationship management and develop more effective communication skills. They also reported that a huge 86% of companies feel that they recouped their investment in coaching and even higher ROI (Return on Investment) than they expected.
The truth is that coaching has become an important component in organizational behaviour, relationship management, productivity, effective planning and maintaining a positive mindset. Studies show that coaching is also effective at reducing procrastination and facilitating goal attainment.
“What about Consulting?”, you may ask.
Coaching is different from consulting because consulting has more to do with closing a knowledge gap, answering specific questions, addressing specific challenges, or managing a particular crisis, but coaching is more of how you transfer wisdom and facilitate results. While consultants provide answers and make recommendations, a coach helps you facilitate your own answers. Coaching is here to stay.
How do you get a good coach?
A coach may be good and not good for you so the first step is usually to clarify why you need coaching.
Be honest with yourself about where you are now and where you want to go. Identify your areas of struggle and the gaps that need to be filled. It doesn’t always have to be a problem or that you’re broken in some way. It may be that you need capacity and confidence to do something you’ve never done before or to improve certain outcomes. Maybe it’s about how you navigate and manage a transition into a new industry or getting ready to make a presentation at a high powered meeting at work. Identify where you are and what you need.
Seek out coaches who specialize in your area of need. There are so many kinds of coaches today who cater to all kind of needs depending on what situation you find yourself in. There are personal coaches who focus on communication skills, career, parenting, stress management, life, anger management, mindfulness, spirituality, sex, coaches, image, finances, transitions and the list goes on.
There are also group and business coaches who focus on workplace management, professional and corporate coaching, including conflict coaching, executive coaching, expatriates coaching and change management/ transition coaching.
At Coachivate, we focus on personal and group coaching in the areas of career transitions, professional transitions, managing conflict, executive coaching and life coaching.
I always say that in trying to get from A to B or contemplating change, it is important to engage a coach who can hold your hand, guide you and transfer wisdom. Our process is structured such that we walk you through that transition and partner with you to develop a roadmap to get you from A to B.
We work with you to manage change such that it doesn’t break you but instead activates a higher version of you that you didn’t even know existed. The kind of clients we work with are often transitioning:
- from a familiar job to a new job
- from being an individual contributor to a manager
- from a job loss or from a redundancy
- from being a married worker to a working mum
- from working locally to working internationally
- from a great boss to a difficult boss
- from a great team to inheriting a difficult team
- to a new company with very difficult cultural norms from where you are coming from
All these require coaching, guidance, and wisdom – something we all need at various points and in the various seasons of life. The people who stand out and are relevant in your industry are those who can recognize when they need help, know how to ask for it and where to get it. Therefore, you must…
Research coaches and look for credibility. Ask your friends, colleagues and mentors if they can recommend one. When you find someone, look them up online. Are they accredited in their industry/ field or affiliated with any professional organisations?
Test the waters to see if you are a good fit for each other. Most coaches offer discovery sessions and exploratory sessions. Take advantage of that to experiment and see if they are good for you and if there is a connection, especially because trust is an important element in coaching.
For coaching to be effective, there must be trust between the coach and the coachee. You have to trust that your coach knows what they are doing, and they have your best interest in mind. It is important to be confident that your coach can keep confidences and will not judge you.
The most helpful thing to remember is that coaching does not have to be for life. You will always deserve a good coach, but you won’t always need the same coach. It depends on your current stage and peculiar objectives at that time. There is no need to look for specific industry expertise, instead, look for someone who has coached people in situations similar to yours. You are the expert in your field. A coach is not a mentor so you don’t need them to know what you don’t know. Your coach exists to help you get to your next level based on what you have identified you wish to achieve.
So, don’t suffer in silence. Get yourself a professional coach who has coached other leaders, been coached themselves, and is trained in coaching, particularly the areas that are directly tied to what you want to achieve.