What do Michael Jordon, Muhammad Ali, and Roger Federer have in common?
All were arguably the best performers in their chosen sport. All were 100% focused on their goals. And ALL had Professional Coaches.
Their Coach would be listening to what was said about the latest performance, and suggesting changes. The recipient would listen, question, trial the changes in training sometimes adding their own contextual adjustments. The net result would be a better performance.
I have been informally coaching executives for over 30 years, and before getting into any detail I always ask, why they want to be coached:
responses are often;
- I am feeling under pressure.
- I feel isolated and need support.
- I have just been promoted and am nervous.
- I have a huge challenge ahead of me.
- I want to grow and being coached will speed up the process.
All are valid reasons to seek a coach and the latter intuitively recognises that coaching is a part of our evolutionary process.
Our coaching begins from the moment we move from nurture to learning, when we begin to observe, listen and copy. Learning to walk and talk are good examples. Parents support our “observe, listen and copy” model when they encourage us to grasp their fingers and learn to balance or when they speak words and we try to repeat.
Then we move on from our parents, siblings and early friends and begin the process of formal education, which again is coaching, in fact, the first use of the term coaching to mean an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who “carries” a student through an exam.
But what about coaching in the work place? Why do many think that once the formal part of our education (coaching) is over they do not need to move onto something else?
Is it because;
- We feel that having escaped the formal learning process we should be let loose to learn from our own mistakes?
- We feel it is not what leaders do?
- We never thought about it?
- We did not have the option?
Whatever your reason, YOUR WRONG! Business & Life Coaching is a sure fire way to progress along the learning curve at lightening speed and will feed your desire for knowledge, aid continuous learning and guarantee maximum financial rewards whilst ensuring a work/life balance.
What is a Coach?
There are many descriptions of a business coach.
My own is, a coach will be your confidant, a shoulder to rest on when the going gets tough, they will be pushing you to levels you thought you could not achieve, not allowing excuses, checking your goals are achievable and that your planned actions will get you there, making sure you achieve a work/life balance.
Timothy Gallwey (author of the “Inner Game” series of books) says coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance; helping them to learn rather than teaching them.
Bill McCartney (former NFL player and coach) All coaching is; is taking people where they can’t take themselves.
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as: “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”.
The Winning Coach
To be a winning Business Coach requires more than knowledge of the latest business models or letters after your name, although both I am sure, are useful. The winning Coach has experienced what the Coachee is experiencing, because a winning Coach understands the pressures that the Coachee is under they will be able to push on or hold back with complete authority. The winning Coach will feel for their client but will also know that the client must win and the client is more likely to believe the task possible if the coach has practised what they are preaching.
Why have a Coach?
Sometimes we can be completely unaware of the areas that are holding us back. Even if we do appreciate where the problem lies, it’s another matter altogether asking for help.
A Coach is able to work with you over a series of coaching sessions to diagnose the issue(s) and then help you to take actions to lift your performance levels to a whole new level. You will become more marketable, more valued and better rewarded.
Finding the right Coach
Once convinced of the need and benefit of coaching you should consider that when your parents were teaching you to walk and talk, they had experience, for it is important that you choose a coach who has experience not only in coaching but also in business, they should understand not only the literal requirement but also the context in which you operate.
When searching for a Coach I found that a lack of context was a killer. I found many understood the technical requirement but few had the understanding of my position so I was left feeling that they could “talk” but not “walk” with me. This is a real barrier and results in much listening but little doing.
What I look for in a Coach:
A Business Coach will have a gravitas through their own achievements, will be knowledgeable in the subject of coaching, patient as well as demanding, persistent in helping the client achieve a performance they thought beyond them. They will be a confidant, and a shoulder to cry on.
If you don’t have access to coaching particularly today when you are probably doing more with less then it is inevitable that you will not be at your peak either at work or at home.
Get the wins you are looking for, get a Coach.