The first full week in February every year is International Coaching Week. Do you have a coach? If you don’t, you should.
Why? Because people who are coached accomplish a LOT more than people who don’t.
I was sharing in one of my mastermind groups recently about coaching. One of the things I pointed out was that the coaching process is so powerful that benefits happen from it, even if the coach isn’t very good. And when you have a coach who is good? Magical things happen.
What about the process makes it so beneficial? Let’s examine 3 things – accountability, perspective, and support.
To start with, there is a built-in accountability. If you know someone is going to ask about a goal, a task, or a process, you make an extra effort to attend to it. This is because there is a part of the brain that activates when you verbalize a commitment to someone else. You see yourself as a certain kind of person. And once you commit, your brain strongly wants to make it (whatever you said) happen so that your image of yourself remains consistent.
Then, there’s perspective. Having a coach brings another set of eyes (and perspective) to the situation. Even if the coach doesn’t say a word as you explain the problem or situation, you often gather a whole new perspective. There is a reason we often gain crucial insights when we use someone else as a sounding board.
And, then, there’s support. We all need someone to support us and offer encouragement. The coaching process provides that support by its very nature.
When a coach knows what he is doing and is a good coach, magic happens.
Let’s take accountability, for example. The coaching process provides accountability. A good coach will help you pick the important things to be accountable for. And he will ask insightful questions that help you be specific about the task or goal you are accepting accountability for. Just that alone can result in being two or three times as productive, for you are being accountable for the things that matter in your life.
We saw that the coaching process can bring perspective even if the coach is merely a sounding board. Imagine how effective you can become when the coach asks his insightful questions that lead you to a whole new perspective. I have seen people have significant breakthroughs just from that new perspective.
A good coach goes beyond merely being a support for the client (I hate the term “coachee”). He becomes a champion for the client. If you have ever had a champion for a project, a cause, or for yourself, you know that a champion is not passive, but active. A supporter follows your lead and, well, supports you. A champion doesn’t just follow your lead, he encourages your lead. He doesn’t just support you, he acts as a cheerleader for you. Additionally, he will provide objective feedback in a way designed to build you up, not tear you down.
You have probably realized, by now, that this role of coach can be filled by many different people in your life. If you work in a large corporation, you may have a manager or other person who is assigned the role of coach for you. (We won’t address their skill in coaching here.)
But what if you are a small business owner? Or what if you work in a small company and things are too busy to allow time for coaching? In that case, you need to look elsewhere. You might be able to find someone who is willing to act as a coach for you in a trade association, in a church or similar non-profit group, or even a friend. If they follow the coaching process, you will be better off than without coaching.
However, as you might suspect, I recommend that you find a professional coach. While you will have the expense of his coaching fee, your results will be measured in weeks and months, rather than years. In this light, the coaching fees are more of an investment (in yourself and in your success) than an expense. (By the way, most people report a return on that investment of 2 to 10 times what they paid. To put it another way, if I gave you 2 dollars for every one you gave me, how much would you make available?)
Thinking it might be time to find a coach? Connect with me and let’s talk. (Hint: you can comment on this post to start the conversation.) We’ll explore what you are looking for and find a good fit for you — whether you are looking for a business coach, a relationship coach, a life coach, a fitness coach, or another of the flavors of coaching. (I am a certified, professional life coach who helps small business owners and entrepreneurs build their business and get out of their own way. So, yes, I am a good fit for some of you… and no, I am not a good fit for all of you. If we are not a good fit, I will connect you with someone who will be.)
Whatever you do, do yourself a favor and explore coaching for your life. I promise you will never be the same again.
If you have had a professional coach before, I would love to hear your experiences with it. Was it good? Was it bad? Use the comments and share with us.