Having written a couple of blogs now, I thought I would write a short piece on the value of coaching, why I do what I do and a brief way in which it can be measured.
Given the fact that my father still doesn’t really understand why I am doing what I’m doing, it definitely highlights the hurdles I need to overcome. He successfully ran his own insurance company without the need for a coach, so I can certainly understand his thinking! And for many businessmen and women alike, coaching can be seen as fluffy or unnecessary because it is hard to justify spending money on something that is perhaps intangible.
The one constant that remains in sport however, be it amateur or professional, is the presence of a coach. These people can influence you from a very young age, to the point where you basically choose whether you like a sport based on the person who is coaching you. They can inspire, they can advise but above all, they can ask questions of you. All with the aim of unlocking that potential from within.
Sportsmen and women at the very top of their respective games are driven, they are all very competitive and they all use coaches to help them achieve. Senior leaders and executives by comparison also have the same characteristics, yet some choose to go it alone without the need for a coach. Why does that happen? I’m not sure.
In my opinion, coaching provides a different opinion, a different thought process and can highlight blind spots that are otherwise unknown to the person being coached. You never stop learning and by having someone to bounce ideas off in a confidential capacity, you can be clearer in thought, which in turn leads to meaningful action.
Measuring the effectiveness of coaching can be the hardest thing to do, given it can happen over a long period of time. How do you know if an increase in performance is because of a transformational shift or simply due to market influence? Well, the answer is both.
Quite often an increase in productivity can simply come from team members enjoying being at work and therefore being more positive. If this positivity is a result of a leader changing their behaviour through coaching, then the outcome speaks for itself. And leaders who involve their subordinates and peers by letting them know what they are learning throughout the process can look forward to greater employee engagement and development too.
Regardless of whether I think it’s any good, coaching is basically for those that that want it. The benefits only really come if someone is willing to open themselves up and accept they can learn more about themselves. Sport opens you up for criticism on a daily basis and showing this vulnerability can only aid your development. How many people in business are willing to do the same?