“Everyone needs a coach. We all need people to give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
This is what Bill Gates chose to say as the opening of one of his TED talks. Interestingly the point he highlights, and the one characteristic common to all high performing individuals, from executives to athletes is the fact that they all have a coach. Yet, surprisingly in business, nearly two-thirds of executives outside the leading-edge innovation sector don’t. In fact, the majority of individuals over 60% are embarrassed to consider, let alone ask for coaching. “Why do you need coaching? What’s wrong with you?”
In fact, most managers would easily see a need for coaching within their team mates because they want them to go that extra mile, but not for themselves as they believe that they are already at their very best. Why do we always see it so clearly in others but not in us?
Well that is exactly the whole purpose of coaching: hiring an external non-judgmental eye that sees it and leads you to become more aware of how your own blockers and behaviors impact your results.
Stepping away for an hour a week is probably one of the most valuable investments one could think off. In today’s workplace, it doesn’t always feel socially acceptable to think about personal, emotional issues as business issues. But think about it, they drive most business decisions. In fact, business decisions are most often based on emotional responses to powerful conversations and, then, justified by rational arguments.
When asked what coaching really brings, I like to respond that it simply brings Peace and Productivity.
Coaches act as partners and motivators, not as counselors. They never tell you what to do. They just ask you the right questions that lead you to find your own answers. They provoke the kind of shared ownership that gives you the energy and clarity to turn your ideas into reality. They see through the excuses that you make and they hold you accountable. They see how you limit yourself and they challenge you to do more. They serve as a guide while you create the plan, define the outcomes and take it to execution. They keep you motivated and committed to achieve the goals that you have co-defined.
Not everyone needs a coach but everyone will benefit from a coach.