Coaching is a remarkable tool for personal development.
I’m sure that many leaders who have experienced professional coaching would agree with this statement. That’s because they have experienced it firsthand.
Of course, skeptics have the right to an opinion and I respect that.
Although I must say, I’ve met skeptics who have changed their minds after going through a couple of coaching sessions.
More than once, I’ve worked with coachees who started the session by saying: “Here’s what I’m going through, tell me what to do.” Only to eventually reach the same conclusion: “I can’t believe how many new creative solutions I hadn’t thought of I discovered!”
I remember working with a manager who was having difficulties meting his sales targets. He entered the coaching process contracted by the company CEO, with the objective to change the behavior of his team members. He wanted to “take them out of their comfort zone” and he was expecting me to provide him with practical solutions that would help him meet his objectives. A few sessions later he realized that by changing his own behavior, he managed to change the energy and level of involvement of the team. And he was actually glad that he did not receive a set of solutions, but that he was asked a series of frank and thought-provoking questions that helped him find his own way.
I did of course wonder: what differentiate the skeptics who grow through coaching from the people who choose not to use this resource?
With this thought in mind, I’ve identified a series of characteristics, and this list is by no means exhaustive.
1. Curiosity. Even though they are skeptical, they are curious and open enough to ask themselves “what if it works?”.
2. Openness to new experiences. People that are open to experience are at the same time open to consider and try new ideas. They embrace the concept of act – fail – learn – act again, because they don’t have a fear of failure or of success.
3. Self-confidence. They know who they are and who they are not. And they are ready to look deep into themselves and take the necessary action in order to grow.
4. Self-discipline. It’s possible that some changes in behavior might not be easily accepted by those around us. For example, developing the ability to say no in order to focus on what’s important will increase the performance on the long term. However, those around us might not be pleased by our new approach and our limited availability. It takes self-discipline in order to stay the course.
5. Not lastly, the ability to accept and ask for help. Not only from a coach, but from work colleagues, our manager, and even from our subordinates or employees. Sharing growth targets, asking for advice and feedback might not always be comfortable. But support and feedback from the others will help you stay “on the ball” and monitor your progress.
In conclusion, no matter if you’re skeptical or supportive, coaching works if you’re willing to take on your own development.
Are you a supporter? I’m ready to be your partner in professional development.
Are you a skeptic? Challenge me to show you how it works!