A lot of people are curious about coaching, and whether it’s right for them. The price tag alone gives many people pause, and then there are all the questions about what really happens in coaching sessions. The old joke goes that a consultant is someone you pay to take YOUR watch and tell you what time it is. It applies to many people’s perception of professional coaching, too.
Check out my Coaching FAQs for answers to some of the questions I’m asked most, where I encourage you to evaluate your specific needs and readiness for coaching. It’s very sensible.
But this is my unvarnished opinion and sales pitch: You could use a coach.
- I don’t need a coach; I’m a successful professional and got this far on my own. Look, there’s a great parallel to draw here. Professional baseball players all have batting coaches. They don’t tell their managers “I don’t need one – I never had one when I was playing high school ball.” They don’t tell their managers “Sure, I had great support when I was on the farm team, but now that I’ve made it to the top, I don’t need a coach any more.” No, they work with a whole team of coaches to be the best they can be.
- Are you a Millennial? Check out this essay on why you need a coach.
- I’m not some Millennial – I’m a seasoned professional. You might find some truth in the link above anyway. But this New Yorker essay by Atule Gawande may speak to you more directly.
- I don’t need to change who I am – I just have this one professional challenge I’m struggling with. Great. Coaching doesn’t need to be a long term commitment – lots of coaches are experienced with helping people navigate very specific problems.
- Some of my favorite work is done with very senior folks who are interviewing at very high levels. These are folks who would be fantastic at doing the job in question, but are out of practice when it comes to interviewing (particularly in extensive processes, as demanded for top level positions.) A couple of sessions to reframe their approach is all it takes to get huge results. A coach can be useful for refining a particular skill, getting over a specific obstacle.
- Sometimes you will begin to address what you think is a small professional problem and uncover a tangled root system. If that happens, remember that many leaders go through such transitional periods, where the skills and traits and approaches that served them well at one point in their lives and careers are no longer the most effective way to approach their current situation. You’re not changing who you are, you’re growing as a leader. Having a coach can make the transition smoother, quicker, and less painful.
- I have family and friends and colleagues who are great sounding boards and an incredible support network. Why would I pay someone to do that? Well, with all due respect, there’s no relationship exactly like a coaching relationship. I may like you, but when we’re in session, I’m not your friend. I don’t love you like your family members. I am a professional. My job is to help you focus and clarify your own thoughts, refine your vision, gain new insights, and then come up with a strategy for action. And then I hold you accountable to yourself.Still think that’s not a unique relationship? Well, think about this:
- Can you be fully open with your colleagues when it comes to your insecurities? Are you sure that such vulnerability won’t come back to bite you? Yes, there’s the possibility of cutthroat careerists actively using such information against you, but I’m suggesting the much more likely scenario where sharing your personal concerns and uncertainties will color, consciously or not, the way people see you. That isn’t something you should ignore…so how honest can you really be?
- Your peers at other institutions may well be your competition, when it comes to forging new business partnerships or finding financial support for your organization – particularly at the executive level. How honest can you really be with them? You can share some frustrations over a beer…but you need to be somewhat cautious, both in what you share and how deeply you trust their advice.
- Your family and friends have relationships with you that color their perspective and comments. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be nice to you and a coach will be intentionally mean, and it doesn’t mean that it’s not also useful to get feedback from someone who has known you a long time. But sometimes it’s not so useful to have someone with their own investment in your future giving you advice…and sometimes they’re more concerned with preserving your relationship than giving you honest feedback…and sometimes your family member looks at you and sees the teenager you left behind a lifetime ago. There are nearly infinite reasons that an outside perspective, with a professional emotional distance, trained to get you to come to your own insights and breakthroughs is completely different than coffee with a friend.
Are you curious yet? Why not give me a try to see if I’m the coach who can help you get to your most successful and satisfying future? Initial consultations are free…and I will tell you, graciously but plainly, if I don’t think I can provide a valuable service to you or your organization. Email me today.