Like an athlete who seeks out a coach to up their game, successful leaders engage with a skilled coach to elevate their leadership.
Myth: Executive and leadership coaching is for ineffective, problem leaders, or at best, for leaders with a problem.
Fact: Highly successful people and leaders, such as Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates, have all had coaches. In the LinkedIn article, These 21 Highly Successful People Had Coaches—Find Out Why, Bill Gates is quoted as saying, "Everyone needs a coach. We all need people that give us feedback. That’s how we improve."
Athletes have sports coaches, professional writers have editors, and singers and actors have voice coaches. Why should a business leader be any different?
Here are just a few reasons that strong leaders engage with a coach:
1) Gain a neutral, outside perspective.
Sometimes, we just get too involved and way too busy and we can't see the forest for the trees. Strong leaders recognize that gaining a fresh, outside perspective from a coach can yield new insights that lead to more effective strategies, actions, and achievements. A coach is there to partner with you in gaining clarity so that you can strategize more effectively towards achieving your goals. Developing and gaining a more accurate and clear perspective is important since an accurate perspective is highly associated with achieving success for leaders, teams, and organizations. As the American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey famously said, "A problem well-defined is a problem half solved."
2) Increase confidence.
Sometimes a leader lacks confidence in his or her skills and abilities. They may be unaware of the potential positive impact these could have. They may be missing opportunities to be more effective. A coach helps identify strengths and capabilities and then partners with the leader in developing strategies and an action-plan for leveraging those strengths.
3) Elevate a skill or competency.
Somehow it's easy to accept that even the best athletes are constantly working on improving their skills by enlisting trainers and coaches and yet, when it comes to our own leadership skills, we may feel like we've got to do it all on our own. Well, you don't. That kind of thinking may even be self-defeating—especially if you've been trying to elevate a skill or competency and you're not getting the traction or success you envisioned. A coach can help you clarify where you are versus where you want to be. The coach helps you identify issues and obstacles, and works with to you identify resources, strategies, and steps to effectively get you there.
4) Achieve goals.
Ultimately, we want to be effective and successful—and that means achieving our goals and dreams. Sometimes it's difficult to clearly articulate our vision into a working and realistic plan. Working with a coach can help translate an overall vision into smaller, obtainable steps. Research clearly indicates that coaching has a significant and positive impact on goal attainment. A coach can help you achieve yours.
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Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.