Top players in just about every sport even garner headlines when they change coaches in the hopes they’ll improve. A lot hinges on the compatibility and working relationship between coach and athlete.
Coaching and sport go together – it’s the norm.
So why isn’t it the norm for business people? Why don’t the same criteria apply?
If you already have a coach, then this blog isn’t for you.
But if you don’t have one, read on…..
Coaches come in all guises – they don’t have to be ‘official’ ones. While I was growing up I had a couple of fabulous teachers who retrospectively I can see coached me even though it wasn’t called that.
And so it has been ever since; I have had – and continue to have – people who have coached and mentored me to support my development, encourage my choices, steer me when I veered off course.
I couldn’t/can’t do it alone, and yet so many people who have proper, grown-up jobs seem to think it’s a badge of honour if they ‘do it all themselves’ without any help at all; as though it’s a sign of strength.
It isn’t. It’s a sign of not wanting to appear weak, of not wanting to show others that you need support.
Everyone needs support…unless you’re a hermit. And quite frankly, I don’t see the attraction of doing it alone. They (whoever ‘they’ are) say that a problem shared is a problem halved. Well, I’m not entirely sure about the maths, but I do know that having a coach and/or a mentor makes carrying those problems around less burdensome, with more chance of finding a resolution.
My coaches and mentors over the years have guided, prodded, challenged, questioned and ‘called’ me on stuff so that from a very young age I was forced to think more clearly, gain perspective, manage my emotions (that’s a tough one!) and dare I say it, get wiser.
If you want to give a boost to your career, your confidence, your skills and your self esteem – get a coach!
Become a Coach
The flip side of using a coach is becoming one.
You may be saying, “I don’t want to become a professional coach, I’m happy with what I’m doing.”
I’m not suggesting you change careers. What I am suggesting is that you become a coach to some of the people around you. This could mean working with a colleague, someone new in the organisation, a friend or someone you know in your personal life who could use the support.
You may already have a natural bent towards this kind of role already. Do people come to you to discuss their problems? Are you the first port of call when a colleague or friend is struggling? Do others seek your advice when they have to make crucial decisions?
Key qualities of being a good coach or mentor are:
patience and the ability to let people find their way in their own time;
objectivity – the ability to step back and help others see situations from a variety of perspectives;
not taking sides – this goes hand in hand with objectivity; you want to avoid feeding the problem;
letting go of your picture of how they should be ‘doing’ it;
letting them make their own mistakes;
ability to acknowledge, praise and encourage;
courage to ‘call’ someone’s behaviour when needed
The satisfaction is boundless when you can be part of someone’s development; where you input has made a difference.
This is one great definition of giving something back.
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory