Do High Performers Really Need a Coach?
By Leigh Ann Rodgers, M.Ed.
Some people think that hiring a business coach implies you lack something. Or worse, that you must be doing something wrong.
When Tiger Woods won his tenth major tournament do you think he decided he should stop being coached because he was such a stellar performer? Of course not, he recognizes the value in continuing to learn and improve and it is paying off for him.
Many highly successful and ambitious business people seek out coaching because they recognize the value they get from it. If you are a high performer, here are three fundamental reasons to consider being coached:
Even the toughest of the tough, need to blow off steam.
Building an on-going relationship with a coach provides you with a safe, confidential sounding board to express frustration, confusion and even fear that are a natural part of any growth curve. Even the most confident and ambitious business people experience stress when they move into uncharted territories. During coaching sessions you can work through these challenges with raw honesty, without concern of retaliation or backlash.
Let's face it – there are politics in every organization. I once worked with a Director who discovered a Vice President was talking negatively behind her back. My client thought the criticism was unjustified, yet recognized she played a role in where the misconception had begun. Through coaching, she began to see the situation from the Vice President's perspective and was able to make a shift in her approach. She invited the Vice President to lunch and began developing a constructive working relationship. She continued to make efforts to build the relationship and within just a few weeks, noticed a significant difference in their interactions. Coaching allowed her to safely vent her frustrations, offered her a neutral perspective, and helped her develop a plan to alleviate the problem.
High performers are often solicited and called to help others, resulting in overwhelming workloads. You've worked hard, earned a stellar reputation, and now everyone wants you to help them on their project. How do you prioritize your to-do list? Where should you focus your energy and time? When (and how) should you say "NO!"? These are questions your Coach can help you answer. As a result you will stay focused and energized.
One client I have is often asked to participate on committees and Boards, as well as other projects. Recently, he was approached about writing a featured column for a business journal. The idea of writing the feature was really exciting to him. In addition to sharing information about a topic he was passionate about, he would be gaining exposure and new skills. After carefully deliberating this opportunity in coaching, he slowly came to the conclusion, that while this would be a "good" choice, it was not a "great" choice for him at that time. He opted not to write the column. While he was disappointed, he later realized that by saying "no" he freed himself up to do some project work that had a significant impact for his company and his personal development. Coaching allowed him to stand back and examine this opportunity in comparison to other opportunities, thus leading to a well-thought out decision.
You are just getting started on your journey!
You are a high performer because you love a challenge and are passionate about what you do. High performers are always seeking new challenges. You aren't content to settle so you are constantly trying new things and learning. A coach will support you as you navigate and master new tasks and skills. Sometimes a coach will even call attention to a destructive pattern that you may not be aware you have. Coaching is all about growth and moving forward.
After working with one client for a few months, she was promoted to an entirely new area. She was excited about this promotion and took it on as a challenge. Her promotion was not well received by one of her key staff member, who thought he should have been promoted. She also experienced a learning curve because she was not as familiar with the work in this department. Working together in coaching sessions we were able to formulate ideas to turn around the disgruntled staff member She gave him a special role to help her bridge the gap while she learned about the department. The approach was a win-win for both the staff member and her. The coaching process helped her to brainstorm solutions and overcome her initial weaknesses.
The root word "Coach" or "carriage" means, "to convey a valued person from where he or she is to where he or she wants to be." High performers are able to use the synergy from the coaching process to catapult them even further than they would be able to reach on their own.
Successful professionals gain tremendous value from coaching in terms of increased productivity, clarity of goals and direction, and improved communications with other employees.
About the Author
Leigh Ann Rodgers, M.Ed., is the Prinicipal of Creative Business Development and specializes in Executive Coaching and management training and development. She is also a member of the Leadership Strategies core coaching team. To contact Leigh Ann, or for more information about our coaching services, please contact a Leadership Strategies Client Relationship Manager by calling 800-824-2850.