Friday, 9 January 2015

Get a Coach

No one would ever question the need for every single sports person to have some form of coaching.  It goes with the territory of developing not just physical skills, but mental and emotional ones as well. 

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.”

Absolutely.

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

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