Many executives bristle at the idea of hiring a coach. There are lots of reasons why. An executive at the top of their game might wonder, “Why in the world would I need a coach? I’ve achieved plenty of laudable successes in my career on my own, thank you very much!”
Someone driven enough to become a leader in their field might eschew a coach, figuring that they don’t need to hire someone to hold them accountable or manage their behaviors — they’ve been successful enough on their own. And, anyway, coaches aren’t likely to be subject matter experts in their field, so how could they possibly help?
Perhaps they think that executive coaches are for people with problems — people who aren’t performing or for people who are rough around the edges and need a little polish. Or they might think that coaches are expensive and don’t offer a worthwhile return on investment for the money. They might even think that many coaches are not particularly successful themselves — so, why listen to them?
These reasons aren’t uncommon, but they’re outdated and misguided. These same people would likely never question whether a professional athlete should have a coach. Skilled coaches, in business as in sports, offer specialized guidance that can boost the performance of even the most accomplished person — often in surprising ways.
Here are six reasons to hire an executive coach that leaders in any industry should consider:
1. Coaching Can Help You Increase Your Personal Performance
Almost no one achieves the greatest heights of success on their own — not even the most successful people. Professional athletes have talented sport coaches, professional writers have top-notch editors and Broadway singers engage experienced voice coaches throughout their careers. The point of them is to help their clients — even those at the top of their craft — to be even better. Why should a business executive be any different?
Just like professional artists, musicians and sport figures, super successful executives work with a variety of coaches to make themselves the best they can be. Successful leaders who think that they have no need to continue developing themselves are missing an opportunity to give themselves and their businesses a competitive advantage in a way they may not realize.
2. Coaches Help You Notice Your Blind Spots
Many successful leaders get to where they are thanks to the help of mentors they meet along the way. Executive coaches are like mentors, but better, because they come to the table with critical coaching skills designed to help you get to where you want to go with greater speed and effectiveness.
They are able to dig deeper than a mentor to understand how you are wired and help you make small but powerful adjustments in order to help you reach your goals. This coaching process enables them to see patterns and trends in your thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that you may not have considered. This gives them a unique ability to point out the blind spots that might be jeopardizing or blocking your success.
Sometimes it’s hard for individuals to take a step back and see the big picture when they’re stuck in the grind. But a coach’s viewpoint isn’t constrained by emotional attachment, which sometimes prevents clarity and effective decision-making.
3. Coaches Help You Tweak Your Thinking
Using journaling and other tools, a coach can open up your thinking and introduce you to fresh perspectives that will encourage you to pursue new paths to success. The way you think will impact your outcomes. An effective coach will help you line up your thinking with your desires and goals, making it far easier to identify opportunities, solve problems and become a more inspiring and effective leader.
A powerful coaching process helps to uncover rigidities in your thinking and identify beliefs that are preventing you from achieving the goals that are important to you. Once you begin to think differently, you behave differently, thereby unlocking your infinite potential. Coaches may ask questions that challenge you to think in new ways and consider options you wouldn’t normally consider.
· What is your definition of success? Where did this definition come from?
· What has historically interfered with your success?
· What will it take to get to that success now?
To be clear, your coach won’t have the answers to these questions, but rather, their role is to help you figure out the answers that are right for you. An effective coaching process will absolutely enable you to reach personal and professional goals that you would never have thought possible.
4. Coaches Can Help You Lead More Effective Teams
A good leader will easily entice people to follow them and tease the best performance out of each member according to their individual skills. An excellent leader will do that AND coach members of the team to become leaders in their own right. The effectiveness of a team is optimal when all members excel in their role and bring their best efforts to the table every single day.
How do you do that? By learning about your employees’ strengths and leveraging them to best effect. An executive coach will teach you how to build rapport with your team and improve communication to move them towards a common goal. Even more, a phenomenal coach will teach you how to coach the individuals on your team so that they are able to overcome their own thinking barriers and reach heights of performance that exceed even their own expectations.
Warren Bennis, a scholar and pioneer in modern leadership studies, says, “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
While it is true that some people are born with a natural predisposition for leadership, I believe that leaders can be groomed and trained to become outstanding leaders. I also believe that the greatest leaders are equipped with coaching skills that they use on a daily basis. The greatest leaders are also phenomenal coaches — which is why there is such a tremendous emphasis on learning practical and concrete coaching skills in my coaching process.
5. Coaching Helps to Increase Profitability
Yes, you read that right! Leaders don’t always think about their core competencies and skills, and sometimes they lose sight of their goals. But great leaders that know when their strengths are in line with their goals, their companies are driven to success. An executive coach will challenge you to think deeply about your business strategy and help you consider how to create new opportunities for your business and how you might capitalize on them.
6. Coaching Helps to Live an Expansive Life
Leaders are chronically dissatisfied, which takes a toll on both their personal and professional lives. This dissatisfaction creates a strain in their relationships, introduces misgivings about their career trajectory and can affect their mood and behavior. It is important, therefore, for leaders to periodically re-evaluate their core decisions to bring them into alignment with their values.
A coach can help you dig deep to ascertain what your values are, how they may have evolved over time and whether or not they are consistent with your day-to-day choices. Realizing that you have been in a job or a relationship that clashes with your core values can have a monumental impact on your decisions moving forward. A key benefit of working with a coach is that they bring an unbiased, outside perspective to the table and can swiftly pivot you in a direction that brings you greater ease, peace, exhilaration and joy.