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Eric Hoffer is famous for stating ”The future belongs to the learners – not the knowers”. A quote with high relevance as businesses goes through the digital transformation. Where we need to learn faster than we have ever done before. An essential path of learning is to leverage coaches and coaching to take yourself and your team to the next level. But many employees do today associate coaching with something negative. A stepping stone on a career slope ending up on the outside. When it in reality is the only way to remain on the inside.
The future role of coaches and coaching
Business challenges are becoming more complex. Markets are transforming faster and faster. And the digital transformation takes us into completely new territories. Where no one has been before. These realities make it hard to rely on own experiences to perform well. To stay relevant in this landscape you should cosnider taking help from coaches. And use coaching as a vital tool in developing yourself and your team.
First look at a coach for extracting the best learnings from what you did this week. A bit like a personal trainer at the gym. One pushing you to set high goals each week. And being there to secure you push yourself to reach the aggressive goals. And providing you with advice on who you do each exercise with better techniques than you started with. This coach helps you to develop at a steeper learning curve than you would master on your own.
Second look at a coach for learning from others’ experiences. Starting with discussions on challenges you are facing. And giving you examples of problems already solved by others. Learning by doing is great, but stealing with pride is also fair game to reach your full potential.
The third area is less about individuals and more about how you coach as a leader. Coaching your team members as required. Using coaching techniques in the customer interface. Playing a role like the one of a coach in a professional football team.
Past perspectives holding us back
In the past coaches and coaching was often associated with correcting something negative. On a private basis offered to people struggling in life. After losing a job, going through a divorce or struggling with being on the right side of the law. On a professional side going through performance coaching to reach target performance levels. Focused on eliminating bad sides rather than taking good ones to great levels.
With this perspective on coaching it is sound to assume your team is not immediately receptive to the idea of coaching. With large differences between your team members’ perspective on coaching.
Set out a new coaching direction for your organization
To succeed with coaches and coaching you need to set a clear agenda for what you want to achieve. Start by defining the problems where you think coaching can make a difference. Identify which type of coaching you should offer to your team. Leverage the existing coach and coaching frameworks you have in your company. Bring in an external coach to develop your skills in coaching yourself, your team and your customers. Lead by example to both take and give coaching. Coaching is a skill it takes development to master.
Coaching is not a one off effort. But part of a longer ongoing activity. Plan to coach often and schedule coaching as a recurring weekly activity. Coaching is a hard but rewarding job.
Two coaching experiences changed my personal perspectives
Two coaching experiences have changed my view on coaching. My first coach helped me in changing a fasle illusion about myself. Where I had restricted my personal ambitions to king-maker roles for no particular reasons. My coach helped me to unlock my personal potential by changing my perspective and predictions. I can take any role and reach any goal, as long as I am prepared to put in the energy it takes. This coaching exercise paved the road for stepping into my first Vice President role. And doing it with good confidence in my own abilities.
My second coach has played a different role. On a journey to support me in expanding into new areas way outside my own comfort zone. A challenge where the task of developing new business and doing it in new ways was daunting. My coach and I agreed on weekly sessions. Half focused on what I learned last week and how to re-use my new knowledge in the future. And a second half focused on planning for next week’s activities. Defining gaols, identifying road blocks and defining ways to circumvent them. I am now 2 years into this exercise, growing at a steeper path than I could have managed on my own.
Question to ask yourself and your team.
- What is my perspective on coaching – something positive or something negative.
- Are my feelings different between coaches and coaching – both positive, one of each or both negative.
- What type of coaching could help me fulfill my career aspirations – be clear about what type of coaching you want to take
- Who could be my coach – supporting you in developing the skills you want to improve.
- What does the future coaching needs look like – expect to coach both yourself, your team members and your clients.
Additional reading suggestions
- Everything you ever wanted to know about coaching and mentoring [BLOGPOST] – Coaching & Mentoring Network
- What can coaches do for you? [ARTICLE] – by Harvard Business Review
- Seven reasons most people need a mentor [ARTICLE] – by Forbes
- Why would a successful entrepreneur hire a coach? [BLOGPOST] – by Entrepreneur