Is It Time to Hire a Coach?
I am often asked that very question, “What is Coaching?” The question deserves an answer of more than a few words. In a most focused way, coaching is helping others be the best they can. There is a lot of meaning in those few words and I want to help bring clarity to them.
To begin, lets take the phrase “be the best they can.” What exactly does that mean? I know you understand that it is a moving target. The best you can be today, may not be the best you can be tomorrow, for instance. You may have gained some new information or learned some new activity that pushes you ahead, so there is often a difference. Many things can change that will and can impact your performance, but being efficient is a key word.
Learning to efficiently and effective use of your natural talents is essential in being the best you can. Being efficient also requires knowledge. Not always, but frequently, people do not fully understand what their talents (natural abilities) are and often they benefit from having that knowledge. One essential task of a coach is, then, helping a person know and understand themselves. In a more focused language it means being aware of yourself –Self Awareness.
So, the coach needs, first, to help the individual be aware of their potential (what they have to work with). What is the best I can be, for instance, is a good, beginning question? The coach does not initially know that, nor does the one being coached, so knowing the point of beginning is an obvious starting point in any coaching relationship. Without spending a lot of time talking about tools of discovery for learning one’s natural talents, find a good and accurate assessment tool and invest in yourself to find out what your strong suits really are.
Coaching, after a little self-discovery, is all about using what you have to get to where you want to go. Coaching then, is about managing what you have. Coaching is helping someone learn to use and manage the talents they have. Coaching is about Self-Management.
Self-Management is, really, more than just managing talents (natural abilities), though. It is about that, but more. In addition to managing talents (natural abilities), it is about managing skills and knowledge. You might say it is about learning to focus your talents, skills and knowledge on the task at hand.
Possibly the most difficult attribute to uncover and instill is Initiative. Initiative is difficult to coach because, it requires action on the part of those being coached and the coach is seldom able to move the person toward a goal. It requires something from inside the person being coached. The coach needs the skill and focus to uncover what motivates his/her client to act or move forward. Initiative is really working in the “white spaces of a job description.” Initiative is all about keeping the eyes upon the goal but stepping forward to do something that may move them closer to the goal even if it is not in the job description. Initiative is getting started, even if you don’t feel like it or if the effort is the wrong effort. A coach must learn ways to help his/her client to overcome those obstacles that tie their client down and destroy the initiative.
So, beyond Self-Awareness, Self-Management, and Initiative what else is wrapped up in this concept of coaching? It is our belief that coaching entails more than just knowledge and the efficient use of it. Coaching is propelled by, first Goal-Setting then proven by Goal-Getting. Anyone can set goals but a far fewer number actually achieve them. Accountability, then is the third deliverable in the coaching process. A coach can and must help those he/she coaches to set, for themselves, a goal, devise a plan to get there and begin. They must be accountable for “getting the goal.” Without an accountability partner, often times goals are set and never achieved. The coach can be that accountability partner or a peer can function in that role.
A goal is worthless unless progress is made toward it. So it is very important that the coach instill a sense of accountability within those being coached. Accountability to reach the goal . For goals to be of value, we must move toward them. We don’t always have to capture the goal but if the goal is worthwhile, moving toward them is a positive event in the process of being the best you can be and the coaching process.
So then, there are four core tasks of a coach:
- Helping those being coached to become Self-Aware
- Helping those being coached to manage their own talents, knowledge and skills – Self-Management
- Helping those being coached to act – Initiative
- Helping those being coached to be – Accountable
If then you are one who wants to get better, or one who wants to help others get better, there is no better source of Coaching on an individual or group basis. We have been doing this for 50 years. Contact us at http://gmstalent.com . Let us know when we can help. Get a Coach!