Its one of those little unspoken secrets. It’s probably right up there with publicly discussion your salary, an ex-spouse, or venereal disease. Very few people publicly acknowledge making use of coaching.
My expectation is that many fear it will reflect negatively upon them. If you’re a senior leader, perhaps there is fear that to admit coaching is to admit a weakness. Of course, in highly competitive environments, such as in C-suite, it might also be viewed as a competitive secret!
This week Chris Brogan, considering becoming a coach, asked some of his subscribers a few questions on the topic. Having made use of coaches myself, I shared my thoughts with him. I think you might find it valuable too.
Do you use coaches to gain success?
Yes, I have and will again.
Are you investing in yourself?
Yes. Absolutely. The day I stop learning something new is the day I die. While I might find things continue to be tight economically, that merely impacts how much self-investment I can do currently.
I engage coaches for personal development along whatever the path may be at the moment. More recently it has been a search for work. In turn I also mentor colleagues; not ‘coach’ which I view synonymous with ‘for fee.’
Are you finding your way through to your goals by working with someone who keeps you pegged to your commitments?
Not yet. Or, at least not as fully as I might prefer. Two reasons. One is that the coaching, and related goals, has typically been too short term in nature. For instance, working with a coach for 2-3 months with goals that are typically week-to-week. Moving forward I’ve realized my engagement with a coach needs to be much longer duration. Meaningful goals, strategies, tend to take more than a week, month, or two to achieve something meaningful (e.g. major life/style change).
What does coaching do for you?
Coaching is engaging with someone who’s been there, or close enough, they can give me constructive next steps to follow. Or, they can—more importantly—effectively guide me in doing it for myself. A coach is an objective 3rd party (e.g. not my wife, friend, etc.) that will call me on the quality of my execution. The coach helps me hold me accountable to me.
The coach helps me hold me accountable to me.
What would you get coaching in, if you were going to invest in a coach?
There are a few items atop my list. Yours will be your own. *Figuring out my life’s purpose, my ‘dream.’ *Executing against my dream. *Professional execution—as a mid/senior level exec, partner to execute more smartly, more effectively.
What are your coaching experiences, or views?
As I mention on opening, coaching is a very ‘behind the scenes’ topic. Few talk about it. It certainly, in my experience, is not a conversation starter even among friends having coffee. This is your moment. What can you share about coaching? (Note: this is not a solicitation for coaches to make a pitch.)
image credit: enver uçarer