According to HBR, here are what Coaches report are the three most common reasons companies engage Coaches:
Number one, first – Coaches have been used by people who need to be the best of the best for centuries. Warriors, scholars even royals all have numerous mentors who help them hone their natural skills, share experiences and provide feedback and coaching.
Over the last two-plus decades, companies have realized their management and executives also face daunting, highly competitive responsibilities. Hiring a coach to help speed and deepen their performance has become standard practice. A professional Coach provides new perspectives, heightened self-awareness, and improved ability to apply their skills and thinking.
When leaders step into new roles with expanded responsibilities and scope, they typically find their previous skills and thinking need to shift to accommodate their new position.
The higher you move up the corporate ladder, the number of people willing to give you honest and direct feedback drops exponentially in direct and opposite contrast to your role. While dozens or even hundreds of people could provide valuable feedback to a senior leader, virtually no one will give it. It’s sad but true “it’s lonely at the top.”
Many leaders who step into greatly expanded roles are surprised to find that the approaches and focus they used to succeed in their previous job translate in inconsistent ways. In lower-level jobs, managing your function is, by far and away, the most critical deliverable. Your success is measured by things you have lots of control over. Collaboration with peers becomes critical when you step into enterprise-wide jobs, making tradeoffs much more difficult. It can be challenging to navigate these shifts, and having a Coach who has seen many similar transitions can be invaluable.
When you are in the hurried and jam-packed grind of a big job, it is challenging to step back and reflect on yourself, your impacts, and your choices. Even if you have the discipline to do this reflection, no one can see themselves entirely and accurately, let alone their individualized impacts on the myriad of others they need to be successful with. These blind spots can quickly become career derailers if you don’t identify them and improve them.
The reality is all of us can be a handful to work with when stressed. We all fall into learned patterns of beliefs, thinking, and reaction without realizing it, let alone seeing how it can negatively impact others. A Coach will help you “see through the eyes of those around you” and identify your most helpful and aggravating patterns and choices. Then with no judgment, several bags full of empathy, and years of experience working with leaders who have challenges and circumstances just like you, they can help you find improved ways to navigate your workday in a manner that feels authentic to you.
Let’s start with two truths (sort of) – First, superstar performers have choices, and they often utilize them to find the best circumstances to let their abilities and interests flourish.
Why not? I would too.
Second, poor leaders can’t retain top talent. Well, that’s not entirely true – they can – but they typically have to bribe them. We have seen superstars put up with poor leadership and abusive behavior because the company offered them ridiculously lucrative compensation packages. Stories from the “Me Too” movement shine the light on only a tiny slice of the sort of abuses some people go through to pursue their dreams. These are extreme examples, but poor leaders stifle creative thinking, micromanage their reports, communicate poorly, and often don’t even consider their role as motivators and mentors.
As we noted above, the old saying “it’s lonely at the top” is very true. Most high performers had mentors all along their early career journeys, but those mentors become fewer and farther between as leaders move through the ranks sadly
It’s all about Trust.
Trust that they have experience coaching leaders in reasonably similar situations. Trust that they have helped other leaders work through issues like yours, and finally, trust that their counsel is grounded in that experience and tailored to you. Lastly, there is trust in them... as a person... do they seem like someone you can open up to and be entirely honest with? Is this someone you believe can effectively challenge your thinking and provide helpful feedback and perspective and support?
Think about your circumstances, what you want to learn, what you are struggling with and how you think you can grow as a leader. Is this Coach the type of person you could feel comfortable doing this sort of hard personal and professional work? If so, you have your Coach.
The best Coaches are guides and teachers. Sometimes they lead, sometimes, they encourage, and sometimes they may make you uncomfortable with their questions or their observations. The best Coaches challenge you to think and choose with greater confidence and insight, and they help you learn to work through situations independently. They leave you wiser, more confident, and better prepared to succeed.
We work with you to understand your needs and the results you expect. Depending on the results you are looking for we can often offer several coaching options that vary in duration, intensity, and cost.
Our Coaches are deeply experienced professionals, and you should budget a minimum of $2500/month for quality coaching services.
It’s a great question … and the answer is sometimes.It mostly depends on the most important issues you are working through. An example - You may be struggling with a very specific work challenge where a Coach who actually worked in your role is going to be far more useful to you.
Typically however, we find that the issues leaders want to address are about how to think about issues, how to communicate more effectively and how to work more effectively. None of those necessarily require specific work experience that matches the Coachee. Our Coaches have worked in many industries with companies large and small with leaders at all levels so there are quite likely a number of Coaches that you could choose from that have significant experience addressing your needs.
We will work with you to select the most appropriate Coach. Our Coaches represent a diverse combination of work experience, education, professional certification, and life experience. They will be open and honest with you about what they bring, what they don’t, and how they work. Just like you, they want a match that will produce fantastic results.