Coaches help athletes hone their game, sharpen their skills, and leverage their natural strengths to reach their goals. We wouldn’t ask a top athlete to train, practice, or compete without a coach yet when the playing field is the workplace, we frequently expect our players to go it alone. Business coaches operate in much the same way as an athletic coach. We help professionals deepen self-awareness, strategize business plans, and reach their goals. Even after explaining this concept to business professionals, I am often met with blank stares. In hopes of clearing up confusion as to why everybody needs a coach, I am sharing the top four reasons people hire me as their business coach.
1. You just got promoted
This is exciting news. Congratulations! After the celebration ends, it’s time to get busy and deliver results. Unfortunately, what got you here won’t get you there. You were probably promoted because you excelled in your last role and demonstrated the drive and determination to do more. But, in every situation I have seen, the new role will require new skills, not the least of which is letting go of some of the things that made you awesome in the first place.
I had a client, Courtney, who was excited when she was promoted to her dream job because of excellent past performance. She was surprised, however, to discover once she got the role, that she was going to be required to step outside of her comfort zone. Since she was used to being the best, this was a bit unsettling and to make herself feel better she reverted to doing tasks that she knew she was good at. Although Courtney was well-intentioned her new reports saw her as a micro-manager and her new supervisor wasn’t getting the type of work, she really needed from her.
Courtney and I worked through a plan to master the new competencies she was expected to demonstrate. Then we worked on how to effectively delegate, motivate, and empower her team. Within a month Courtney was back on track and had reclaimed her title of “superstar.”
2. You just got passed over for the promotion
There are lots of reasons that you might not get the job you had your sights set on. Maybe it was within your control and maybe it wasn’t, but when the bad news strikes, it’s time to get a coach. I have worked with people who were fortunate enough to be told why they didn’t get the job. That gave us a head start on how to develop the skills and get ready for the next opportunity.
I have also worked with people who weren’t given a reason for being passed over for the role. In that situation our strategy begins with digging deep and self-reflecting on how other people’s perceptions could be sabotaging their career options. Either way, my clients have been able to step back and turn lemons into lemonade by taking an undesirable outcome and creating new strategies to get them where they want to go.
3. You want to get ready for the next promotion
Cameron is one my “go getters.” She loves her work, she is driven, self-motivated, and wants to move up the corporate ladder as quickly as possible. Sometimes organizations will sponsor coaching engagements, but in Cameron’s case her company did not. It didn’t matter to Cameron because she wasn’t going to let anyone limit her potential. She knew she was worth investing in and was willing to make that investment in developing herself.
In fact, according to a global coaching study conducted by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), 61% of coaching clients say they saw dramatic improvement in their management skills due to the work they did with their coach. Over the 3 years we’ve worked together, Cameron has been promoted twice, more than paying for the investment she made in herself and is now leading and investing in others.
4. You don’t want to be promoted
One of my clients, Brandon, told me that he wanted to start a coaching relationship because he wanted to go into management. However, once our coaching sessions started, he was able to look at his motivations and he discovered that he really didn’t want to get promoted, but he assumed that was the only way to be challenged and make more money. He was a strong individual contributor and found a great deal of joy in his work. Through coaching, Brandon was able to clarify his goals and create an action plan that allowed him to find a path, other than a promotion, which helped him meet his objectives.
During my 30-year career, I have been in every one of these positions myself. Early in my career, I wanted to get promoted and was able to use a coach to help me clarify my values and grow my skills so that it was possible. Once I got promoted, I learned that I didn’t know what I needed in the new role and had a great coach help me work through challenges and navigate potential barriers I had never seen coming.
I have experienced the bewilderment that many people face when the promotion they are sure is coming their way doesn’t materialize. Assisting me to be able to objectively evaluate my strengths and weaknesses was a powerful gift that a coach helped me with. Ultimately, I realized that I didn’t want greater responsibility in the organization. I just wanted more variety in my work assignments.
Two years later, when I was promoted into a role I didn’t ask for, I enlisted another coach who helped me find the courage to leave the organization and find a better fit so that I could continue making deliberate choices as to how I spend my time.
The value I received from each one of these situations and each one of these coaches was truly life altering and helped get me to where I am today. Apparently, I am not alone with that feeling because “The International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring” recently reported that 75% of business leaders who received coaching said that the value of the coaching was “considerably greater” or “far greater” than the money and time invested.
So, wherever you are in your career, now is the right time to find a coach. Your coach will support and challenge you to create a plan, sharpen your skills, and reach your goals. Remember, Everybody Needs a Coach!