In the break I read Andre Agassi’s book “Open” and it really struck a chord with me. It surprised me that his negative thoughts were so overwhelming for much of his career, yet he overcame them in so many ways. He wrote about his coach as being his greatest motivator and that before every match he would say to him “it’s on Andre” and with these words Agassi describes the impact as “I feel my booster rockets fire, my adrenaline glands pump like geysers. I feel as if I can lift a car over my head.”
It’s easy to understand the need for athletes to have sports coaches, and even to understand the need for contestants on TV talent competitions to have coaches, but it can sometimes be hard to recognise the value of coaching for professionals. If someone is at the top of their game, leading a successful enterprise, why do they need a coach? Well, just as there’s more to winning a tennis match than hitting a ball, so too is there more to leading a company than being good at your job.
Below are some of the reasons why it could be worth considering an executive coach:
Talented Employees are Not All Natural Leaders: Few people set out to be leaders. Rising through the ranks tends to come from mastering the particular skills and demands of a job, whether the industry be manufacturing, architecture, finance or retail. Yet as many of us know from experience, someone may be outstanding at performing the tasks required by their position but not so great at leading a team or growing a business.
One of the issues is that managers often continue to focus on individual performance and achievement when in the top job, rather than taking a global perspective of the organisation. If a leader is caught up in the everyday running of the business, they are not available to lead, inspire, and motivate. A good coach can assist in the transition from task-focus to strategic thinking.
The Changing Nature of Employment: Top performers no longer stay in the same company for life regardless of job satisfaction. Managers now need to engage and communicate if they hope to attract and retain the best employees. In his best-selling book , Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ, David Coleman identifies Emotional Intelligence (EI) as the ability to understand emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and to use knowledge of emotions to guide thinking and behaviour. Coleman argues Emotional Intelligence is the single most significant factor in leadership success today. The good news is that EI is not something we need to be born with but is something that can be developed and nurtured through the coaching process.
The Changing Nature of Industry: The nature of industry has changed too. In a fast-paced, high-tech world, we need progressive environments that allow creativity to flourish. Companies can’t stand still and simply continue to do what they have always done. They need to innovate and respond nimbly to change if they are to survive and thrive in today’s market. A leader who sets clear goals, communicates a vision yet simultaneously encourages fresh ideas and perspectives will help drive an organisation to success.
It’s unrealistic to expect anyone, even the highest performing CEO, to naturally embody the skills required to meet the demands of the role alone. A supportive coach will assist a leader to meet the challenges of today’s business environment, while strengthening both their individual and company performance.
The Power of a Good Coach: Coaching is not about mentoring or instructing but rather is about facilitating growth, positive change and self-awareness. It is not necessary, or even desirable, for a coach to be an expert in the industry in which they are coaching. A good coach will:
- Build an honest, trusting relationship with the coachee
- Assist leaders to make the transition from task-focussed leadership to a more flexible and visionary management style
- Enhance staff retention and interpersonal relationships
- Facilitate change and innovation
- Assist in identifying and implementing strategy and goals
- Improve individual leadership and management techniques
- Stimulate profit, client service and effectiveness
- Ensure changes are sustainable over time
In Today’s business, the development and coaching of executives is as critical as the need for a new suitable IT & finance systems and a great strategy. Ultimately the benefits of leadership coaching extend to the entire organisation, which is why a good leader needs a coach just as much as a successful athlete.
Wm consulting offers Leadership Coaching to managers in all industry sectors with exceptional results.