A coach is a person who is responsible for managing and training a person or team; an expert who trains someone learning or improving a skill. (dictionary.cambridge.org/us) This somewhat narrow definition doesn’t quite grasp the coaching I offer to clients. But it does present a dilemma.
Some persons, including many leaders, aren’t ready to learn or grow. No amount of effort on my part will make much difference. It’s sad to see promising talent and skill squandered.
I recently did a podcast interview with someone I once mentored and coached. Here is the link if you would like to learn more about his experience. What’s Really Good Podcast.
What struck me most about Nathan’s journey was just how open and vulnerable he was during the coaching process. He credits me for much of his success but I would make the case that it was really his receptivity, discipline, and effort that made the difference. I was just a catalyst for change.
Why might you benefit from having a coach?
- A coach can help to diagnose the problem. Most of us aren’t very good at recognizing what might be wrong. We tend to deflect and deny first. A coach typically possesses good listening skills and the instincts to correctly assess what needs attention. Often the observed behaviors or perceived problems are not the real issues. That insight can be a gamechanger.
- A coach offers potential solutions. Few coaching engagements are straightforward or simple. Because people are involved, perceptions must be shifted and habits changed. A good coach helps the client to find the best way for them to address whatever issue they are facing. No two solutions are alike. Sometimes the answer is relatively easy. In many cases the work is challenging.
- A coach will rely on tools. Most coaches use assessments, surveys, journals, and other instruments designed to reveal what is happening and track progress toward making improvements. These tools offer objective data that show gaps in behavior or performance. They often include suggested strategies and tips for making changes. When used properly, these tools can be a resource for years to come.
- A coach must be a good communicator. Coaches must be good listeners and know how to communicate what they are observing. Their insights must be delivered with clarity and compassion. No one wants to hear the dark side of their personality or behaviors. Structured messaging, constructive feedback, and meaningful praise can go a long way to initiating change. If the message or delivery seems critical, it won’t be appreciated, even if accurate.
Coaches know how to build trust, ask tough questions, and hold people accountable.
I’m grateful clients, like Nathan, see value in the coaching work I’m doing. He recognized and appreciated my assistance. I’m proud of the hard work he did and the success he achieved.
Now, if I could only see that same level of progress with every coaching opportunity.