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COACHING, INSIGHTS / May 15, 2015

Do you really need a coach? Why bother?

Posted by Jay Hedley

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude - Jefferson

 

Hey, James here from The Coaching Room, sharing an article with you today, thanks for checking it out. In my last article I answered the question “What is an Executive Coach?” and no doubt if you are in a leadership position and have spent any time looking at your own development then at some point you have likely asked yourself - Do I need an executive coach? Why bother? ☺ Good question, that’s what today’s article intends to answer.

Surprisingly, the answer is no. You don't need a coach, nobody needs a coach. You need oxygen, food and water to name a few, and last I checked most Executive Coaches won't provide any of those. So why bother then? Why do people engage Executive Coaches? What's the fuss?

Well, if you are an executive in today's world of corporate performance and stakeholder management, the likelihood is you have quite a number of responsibilities, people and expectations to juggle and manage. That's just on the job, then there is also the need to retain a semblance of work/life balance, health and family. The other likelihood is that that number of responsibilities, people, expectations etc that you are juggling is growing over time, especially if you have been successful at meeting all of those challenges.

So how do you get the best from yourself whilst attending to all of these priorities and the unique challenges they present? And how do you ensure that the challenges and responsibilities are growing alongside your capacity to successfully meet them?

If these questions resonate with you, then read further as this is the domain of leadership and executive coaching. So how does an Executive Coach answer them? What can you actually expect and be supported by in a relationship with an Executive Coach?  Whilst there are many answers, here are the main three benefits our clients have shared with us:

 

A level of relationship that’s on behalf of you.

As an executive, not everyone’s interests are necessarily aligned to what’s best for you, and sometimes the corporate environment isn’t particularly conducive to reaching out and admitting confusion, struggle, or that you simply need help. With so many people relying on you, accountable to you, or sometimes even competing with you for resources and opportunities, finding a relationship that you can rely on, one that is 100% in service to you and on behalf of you is like finding a diamond amongst a beach of sand.

 

Giving you the feedback others won’t give you because of your position

The other difficulty is that there are multiple agendas at play, and like it or not, your position is going to skew the kind of feedback you are getting from your workplace. How do you get the best out of yourself and out of the people who report to you without getting clean, objective, sensory based feedback about how you are showing up as a leader? And where do you go for such unbiased, objective and clear feedback? To the people whose careers your judgement directly or indirectly influences? Or to the people whose judgement directly or indirectly influences your career? An Executive Coach doesn’t have these same vested interests in your workplace, the only interest a coach has is in what you care about and in facilitating you to getting it. That means there’s no holding back on the questions and feedback you need to hear.  


Discovering your blind spots and resolving limiting perspectives.

Of course, along with clean unbiased feedback comes the opportunity for you to see your blind spots and discover the limit of the current perspectives you hold. Good Executive Coaches are masters of process facilitation and taking a systemic view on not just how you are showing up with your behaviours, but also on your perspective. How much inclusion does it allow for? Does it facilitate you acting from choice point in the face of your environment? Are you tapping into and enacting your full resources personally, relationally, behaviourally and environmentally? Or do you have certain beliefs and perspectives that result in reactivity and the underutilisation of your resourcefulness? Our blind spots by their very nature have us, and are impossible to deal with on our own because surprise, surprise, we are blind to them! 

 

There are many more things I could add to the above list – accountability, goal setting, state management etc but we would be here awhile and I expect you have priorities to juggle ☺. And so whilst you do not need a coach, based on the above you may realise the value bothering with one.

As an Executive Coach myself, the above benefits are just as true for me as they are my clients and these days having access to online executive coaching allows me to get access to the best coaches in the world. Note I refer to 1 on 1 online coaching here and not generic executive coaching courses which is a bit like taking an online wine tasting tour. This has afforded me an exponential growth and change on my trajectory in life, on my ability to relate with others, to deal with life, the unexpected, the frightening, the confusing, the seemingly overwhelming and the reduction of all of those things, to just things. The net result as a metaphor has been like the eye of a tornado - my environment may be thrown into chaos around me but increasingly more and more my capacity, my perspective, my emotional and mental clarity to deal with reality remain as if I were walking through a gentle breeze.

So is engaging an Executive Coach worth the bother? I trust by now you have that answer.



FURTHER READING
How do you know if Developmental Executive Coaching is for You or Your Staff?