As the saying goes, it’s what you learn after you know it all.
Top athletes rely on coaches to push their performance to new heights. Even Tiger Woods had a swing coach at the top of his game.
Many corporate executives seek out several advisors who help frame ideas for them and play a point of critical thinking. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch worked with Ram Charan, the eminence grise of business advisors, for many years.
“It’s not how good you are now; it’s how good you’re going to be that really matters”
In a TED2017 speech, the American surgeon Atul Gawande—author of such well-received books as The Checklist Manifesto (2011)—emphasized how coaching helps individuals and teams execute better on the fundamentals:
Having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again.
There are numerous problems in “making it on your own.” You don’t recognize the issues that are standing in your way—or, if you do, you don’t necessarily know how to fix them. And the result is that somewhere along the way, you stop improving.
That’s what great coaches do—they are your external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of your reality. They’re good at recognizing the fundamentals. They’re breaking your actions down and then helping you build them back up again.
Sometimes you can be too close to things to see the truth.
Blind spots are less obvious when things are going well. It is very easy for you to become inward-looking, particularly when you’ve been very successful. However, these blind spots can become destructive when performance moves in the other direction.
A third-party, fresh-eye assessment is an obvious reality check. Coaching is a whole line of way that can bring value to what you do and excel at it.
If you’re successful and want to get better, you’ll need to look at your situation as an outsider might. Coaching can help you get perspective and see things in a more detached manner.
It’s Lonely at the Top
Executives need a valuable ally and a resource for professional growth. They hire coaches to help explore their strengths and vulnerabilities.
Coaches are also valuable allies in decision-making. Many executives find it helpful to talk important decisions over with a trusted coach—just the process of talking can help sort out and clarify thoughts and feelings. Not to mention how another person’s views may illumine aspects of a problem that you may have missed.
Besides, many a coach’s specific arena is one of interpersonal relationships, office politics, and corporate culture. To be effective in our work, you must be effective in building relationships with your bosses, subordinates, peers, and other organizational stakeholders such as customers and suppliers. Management and leadership are all about influence.
Idea for Impact: Coaching is how people get better at what they do
You too should consider a coach to look at things with a fresh eye, improve your performance, and help with interpersonal relationships in the workplace.