You’re 6 years old, and go up to bat for the first time. There’s a ball staring at you in the face, and somehow, you’re supposed to hit a home run. You swing. You miss. You want to cry. And then, your coach comes and pats you on the back, giving you pointers and encouragement to try again next time. Now, you’re 40. You’re a new executive, and that ball is staring at you once again, only it’s in the form of up to millions of dollars, the livelihood of hundreds of employees, and tough decisions. You’re aiming for that “home run” of business success, and you simply can’t miss. From T-Ball to A-Team, everyone needs a coach.
As your company’s environment becomes more complex, you many need to increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to navigate and manage a growing list of responsibility and decisions. So, you know that you need a coach, now what?
First you have to willing to be coached. This seems simple, but have you ever heard of that saying, “wherever you go there you are?” If you don’t make a commitment to yourself to be open to change, you’ll keep making the same mistakes. Coaches can help you identify your weaknesses and help you turn them into strengths, but to grow, you have to be willing to show uncertainty, express fear or naturally ask for help.
Second, you need to select the right coach that is the best fit for you! Here are some tips to do just that.
1. Strike a balance between supporting and challenging you. Select a coach with whom you are comfortable. He or she also needs to challenge and motivate you to perform beyond your routine behaviors and perceptions; confront you directly, yet nonjudgmentally; and get to the motives and assumptions underlying your behaviors.
2. Help create feedback loops with colleagues. Your coach should help you develop the skills needed to ask for honest feedback on an ongoing basis.
3. Assist in clarifying your true strengths, values and purpose. Your coach is there to help you clarify your developmental, career and life goals.
4. Provide structure in the development process. A good coach will provide structure in your development process, from establishing a contract, to developing a plan, and assessing results.
5. Broaden your perspectives. Your coach will need to help you broaden your perspective by helping you understand and break free of any limiting beliefs and assumptions.
6. Teach concepts and skills. A good coach will help you take a step back and understand what is—and isn’t—part of your role, and help you identify the leadership skills you need to develop.
7. Maintain confidentiality. Select a coach that you can trust to maintain confidentiality.
8. Influence how others view you. Your coach can help your employees and organization as a whole by inviting them to become involved in your development and influence their behavior in relation to you.
It’s no different than swinging and missing at the mound; your coach is there to help guide you, bring your team together, support your strengths, and influence your weaknesses to make you a better player. A good executive coach will do just that with your employees cheering behind you for your home run of business and organizational success.
Am I truly ready to take my business to the next level?
How much more successful would I be with a business coach?