IF YOU FULLY ENGAGE, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK, THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
A coach is often the only person in the client's life that does not have an agenda about who the client is or what they do, but pushes them to be themselves.
A coach is often given as a reward for top performers, or as a partner to help executives and managers think through issues confidentially.
A coach serves as a highly skilled guide and thought partner, using a variety of assessments and inquiry, to help the client achieve things they’ve always wanted and then create new, bigger, bolder dreams.
Based on a high level of partnership and trust, the coach will:
Listen to who you really are
Listen to what you’re NOT saying
Help you get through blocks
Challenge you to take ACTION
Help you realize that “someday” never comes and the time is now
Hold you accountable
Know the truth of what you’re capable of
Help you generate alternate perspectives
Help you see blind spots
Help find places that you’re not telling yourself the truth
Years ago when I looked into hiring a coach it was overwhelming because there were so many of them and I couldn't tell the difference between one or another. I never hired a coach because it took so much time trying to find a good one. Here is what I have since learned.
RELEVANCE OF EXPERIENCE NOT NUMBER OF CLIENTS. Evaluating a good coach's qualifications is similar to picking a wedding officiant. You might look to the officiant's experience being married, confronting problems, their wisdom about solutions, their knowledge of you. Their ability to guide the process of getting married is half the work. The insights they bring to the ceremony is where the skill and wisdom lies. Your primary criteria would NOT usually be who has married the most couples, unless it's an unusually complex wedding ritual and your mother-in-law is unusually difficult to please.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION. You do want to know what kind of coaching training a coach has received. Though guiding the process is only 50% of the work, you want to know how they gained knowledge about how to do it effectively. The top two coaching schools in the country are CTI and IPEC. The only self-regulating body for the coaching industry is the International Coaching Federation (ICF) which grants certifications. The training doesn't come from ICF, only the certificates, and these certificates are not as important as the training from the training schools.
A COACHING MODEL. You want to know that your coach has given thought to how progression happens over time as the coaching relationship evolves. Coaching training teaches great skills for how to have each conversation, but you don’t want a coach who simply shows up and says “what should we talk about?” each week. You want someone who has thought deeply about the longer process and knows how to drive the conversation to get you where you want to go.
PERSONALITY. This is key. What motivates you best? Someone who is tough or kind? Who speaks fast or slow?
There are three ways you can address any challenges that arise with you, your team, or others:
1) Do nothing and hope it fixes itself. This is worth trying if it's not mission critical, doesn't escalate, you have time to wait, and it doesn't significantly affect performance of you or the team or others. This is the cheapest option. Cross your fingers.
2) Once you've identified that it's a problem, you could pay for a group training. This is a cheaper option that usually involves a one- or two-day pre-written class. This is a good option for incremental improvement of teams that are functioning and don't have significant pressures or challenges.
3) Hire a coach. This is more expensive, but also the most personalized and by far most impactful.
This is a customized solution, tailored for the client and the team to most effectively and quickly address challenges.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, for groups or individuals having problems, staff usually won't speak the whole truth in front of a class. It requires trust and a 1-1 setting.
Coaching allows significant opportunities for check-ins, question and answer as learning progresses, and evaluation of progress.
The coach's process is 1-1, adjustable as needed, and for team coaching, individual conversations occur between coach and staff to determine problem definition and solutions.
The coach can work with Board members, HR, supervisors, or staff as needed.
This is a trick question – we don’t change you, you change you. We are the gas pedal but you are the GPS and the driver.
Coaching and therapy are very different. (See the article linked below called "The Very Real Dangers...") The simplest way to define the difference is that coaching looks ahead to your future and therapy looks back to your past. Therapy is about deeper processing of the causes of mental blocks, while coaching is focused on breaking through them. Steven Berglas, PhD, the author of the above referenced article mentions the difference between an executive with a performance challenge who can be coached to function effectively and "an 'executive with a problem' who can best be helped by psychotherapy ."
Inc. - 5 Great Reasons You Should Get an Executive Coach
Harvard Business Review - What Coaches can Do for You
Harvard Business Review - The Very Real Dangers of Executive Coaching
Forbes - The Key to Effective Coaching