What everyone should know about coaching
"Coaching isn’t therapy. It’s product development, with you as the product" - The Coaching Tools Company.com
The simple truths about coaching
There appears to be ambiguity about the understanding of coaching in business. Everyone understands the role a coach plays in sport, but not so much in the world of commerce, yet we should be paying attention. Many studies show that improvements are made in;
- job satisfaction / Retention
- reduced stress levels
What does this mean for a company?
An increase in profitability. Why? Because people just work better.
When it comes to the term 'life coaching', is there a vast difference between the two? Well, actually, no. It can be explained this way. Relationships with our families and friends can be just as complex as the relationships we have with our colleagues, peers, and stakeholders. It’s just geography (and of course, biology!), but the stresses and strains can be very similar. These include;
- stress tolerance
- work-life balance
- time management
The list can (and does) go on to include many other aspects. A coach can offer considerable support when facing one or all of the challenges that people face in today's ever-changing, fast-paced, demanding life.
All this good stuff, and yet, coaches are seen in a not-so-positive way. Some seem to see it as a way of being told what to do, how to do it, what to say, and how to say it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
What does a coach do, then?
Wherever you turn these days, there's free advice, on just about every subject known to humankind, so why would you pay for it? Well, the simple truth is that you wouldn’t, and quite rightly shouldn’t. More importantly in this respect, 'advice' is not what a coach gives you in business, or life in general for that matter.
A coach may know about your business if that’s the background they have come from, but chances are, they won't. You are the expert in your field - not the coach. A coach will most definitely have experienced challenges in life, but these may or may not be the same or even similar to your challenges. What the coach is, however, is an expert at listening and really hearing what you have to say. By posing meaningful questions with a genuine curiosity, the coach is paying attention not just about what you say, but also what you don’t say, and that can be just as telling. Have you ever noticed, when you really 'feel' listened to, it brings certain clarity to your own thinking, helping you with direction? Why? Because you haven’t been interrupted every other second with someone else’s opinion.
A coach will help you to make changes, but this will more likely happen outside of the session, sometimes days or even weeks later. You’ll need to go away and think about what has been discussed. If there is a development plan being worked on, you will experiment with the new techniques that the coach has given you to help in whatever area you are working on. These techniques, when put into practice, often give way to a 'lightbulb' moment where you see what you have put into practice working.
Sometimes though, it won’t go so well. This would be discussed at the next session to really get a handle on how to overcome potential issues, using them as stepping stones and not stumbling blocks in your growth.
"The test of a good coach is that when they leave, others will carry on successfully" - unknown
Do you really need a coach?
You may see yourself as successful, and that’s great. So, you could ask yourself...
“Why would coaching be a useful intervention for me?”
Coaching is for everyone and at every stage. You may be looking for a promotion, career change, or some other area of your life that needs a nudge. Coaching is a great way to unlock potential, build confidence, adjust to change, and face known and unknown fears. It can totally change the way you see the world by removing judgement and assumption.
No great team or individual in this world's sporting scene has ever achieved that status without a great coach, so why do we expect anything different from a great business leader or team? Why do we sometimes struggle on thinking 'it’ll get better, it’s just how it is'? The same principle applies.
Do something positive. Get a coach, be challenged, grow, change, embrace the 'now', and achieve your potential.