Firstly, it’s important to point out that a coach isn’t going to reduce your workload by physically taking tasks away from you and doing them themselves. If you’re looking for some kind of magical office assistant who’ll take the pressure off by doing the jobs you don’t enjoy doing, a coach isn’t for you. You should probably give Peter Pan a call because Tinkerbell is closer to who you’re looking for.
However, if you want to reduce your workload and take the pressure off by learning how to become more effective and productive in your own right, a coach is someone who can definitely help. According to the United Kingdom Coaching Strategy, the role of a coach is one that “enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavours.” Although they’re referring to sports coaching, it’s a description that could just as easily be applied to coaching in general. It’s not just the individual who can benefit from coaching either. A 2015 study conducted by the Human Capital Institute reported that organisations with a strong coaching culture have both higher employee engagement and report higher revenue growth.1
What will a coach do?
A coach will help you identify and reconnect with your natural abilities, i.e. aspects of yourself you already know but may have lost sight of.
A coach will potentially make you aware of skills and talents you didn’t even realise you had.
A coach will show you new ways and methodologies of approaching and overcoming challenges.
A coach will help you trust your instincts and question yourself more deeply, so you’ll be able to arrive at better and more creative solutions.
And here’s the key element…
An experienced and highly skilled coach is going to get to the heart of what you really want, because what you think you want and what you really want are two completely different things.
The ‘What we think we want’ vs ‘What we really want’ conundrum
Most of us think we know what we want, and when we first go to a coach we believe it’s to address that issue. We might have a business goal in mind, a life target we want to reach, or a skill we want to develop. But that’s not it at all. It never is.
A coach will get to the heart of what you really want by asking you questions, asking you more questions, and then pushing and questioning and peeling back the layers until you finally realise what you really want actually is. It’s the kind of inner exploration that’s impossible to do by yourself because it needs someone outside of yourself – a coach who knows how to ask the right questions at the right time and then tease out the answers – to help you get to the truth of what you’re really looking for and want to achieve.
But the good news is, once you know what you want to achieve you’ll be able to focus on what you have to do to make it happen, i.e. setting goals, forming new habits, exploring opportunities you’d never considered before, or building upon the skills you already have (and might have forgotten) to take you in fresh directions. Your coach will help you find the strategies that work best for you. They’ll also keep you focused on the outcome and stop you from getting side-tracked by all the day-to-day obstacles and interruptions that might otherwise throw you off-course. They will show you how to use what’s inside you to redefine your thinking, overcome challenges, keep your energy and motivation high, and never lose sight of the bigger picture.
There’s a coach for everyone
Whatever it is you want to accomplish there’s a coach out there who will be able to help you. I’ve got specialisms in my own field (check out the HCC website to find out more) but there are coaches who could assist you with everything from career development, business ownership, dietary issues, fitness issues, sports management, changing your career… in fact, anything you want to have a conversation about. If you’ve got a good coach, I guarantee it will be a truly powerful conversation.
Having said that, it’s important to do your homework and find a coach you’re completely comfortable with. If you meet a coach and don’t feel they’re somebody you can interact openly with, or whose opinion you can trust, then move on. Likewise, if the coach can’t tell you what their approach is or what you can expect from working with them, it’s time to look elsewhere. Sometimes a coach and client just won’t gel, and that’s no reflection on either of you.
Successful coaching requires clear and honest communication from both sides. It involves building rapport and empathy and both of you committing yourselves wholeheartedly to the journey. When the Harvard Business Review conducted a survey asking What Can Coaches Do for You? “willingness and good chemistry were by far the most frequently cited ingredients of a coaching relationship.”2
Michael Jordan, legendary American basketball player and close friend to Bugs Bunny (what, you’ve never seen ‘Space Jam’?) once said, “A coach is someone that sees beyond your limits and guides you to greatness.” He also said, “My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn.” That second quote is especially worth remembering, because coaching is a two-way street. You could have the best coach in the world but if you’re not prepared to commit to the process and put the hard work in you won’t gain anything from it.
Here’s the bottom line. Your coach should be an observer, questioner, listener and supporter who can help you move from your current state to new ways of thinking, being and doing. They don’t need to be an expert in your field, but they must be expert in the coaching process and be able to apply that expertise when they are working with you. A coach isn’t there to give you answers, but to work with you so you can become more aware of your own capabilities and able to find the solutions that are aligned with your values and goals.
How can a coach help you?
A coach can help you achieve whatever you want. It’s as simple as that.
While you’re thinking about the goals you’d like a coach help you to achieve there are three coaches whose books I’d recommend reading: Rich Litvin (he’s good, although a little bit OTT), Steve Chandler (very matter of fact and clear-thinking) and Michael Neill (whose philosophy of ‘Inside-Out Understanding’ based on the three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought has earned him a lot of rave reviews.) But (and I know this might be controversial) I wouldn’t recommend Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins is very cool and he’s got a lot of crazy mind manipulating tricks up his sleeve but he’s a Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), not a coach. Whereas coaching is a structured method of communication that allows a client to identify their skills, talents, goals and values and take action to achieve results, NLP is a much broader methodology. I’m also certified in NLP and I’ve got quite a unique ‘insider’ view of what it really is. Who knows, maybe we’ll look at the differences between coaching and NLP in a future blog and I’ll tell you more about it?
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about the kind of coaching I offer (or find out if I could be the perfect coach for you or your team), don’t hesitate to contact me on 01603 567794 or email email@example.com. Coaching is my passion. It’s powerful and transformative and I’m looking forward to putting you in touch with your best self.