What happens when your coach is not right for you or your organization?
Selecting a coach in a personal or professional context can prove to be a challenge, especially if you are not experienced with the world of coaching and its practitioners. Even when you carry out the extensive exercise of approaching coaches from around the world, identifying the one that is the best for you can be a time-consuming process. Drawing from my five-year experience of connecting with 500+ coaches across the globe, I share with you five key points to help you zero in on the right one:
1) Why coaching? – The first assessment you must make about your coach is their motivation behind becoming one. Why is this person a coach? Are they passionate about coaching people and helping them succeed? Listening to someone is the best way to know more about them, their ambitions, and their dreams. A coach who is not passionate about helping people will not create those extraordinary results that benefit the coachee.
“Being the best at whatever talent you have, that’s what stimulates life” – Tom Landry
2) What is their coaching philosophy? – Ask your coach about their coaching philosophy and how it has evolved over the years. At what level have they been instrumental in changing people’s mindsets and behaviour? What are the principles of mastery this coach has embodied? This question will help you tell a professional coach from an amateur one. A professional coach will make completely different demands from the coachee compared to an amateur one whose focus will be on short-cuts, unsustainable tools, and unrealistic tricks.
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour” – Vince Lombardi
3) What results have they achieved? – Know the track record of your coach’s success and failure. A coach that has been in the profession for long would have accumulated a varied set of experiences and mastered the game with time. During their journey, they would have also created extraordinary results at times and not so impressive ones at other times. Great coaches share their journey honestly and it is their honesty that makes them great. A great coach is a student of the game As well as master.
“People are remarkably bad at remembering long lists of goals. I learned this at a professional level when trying to get my high-performance coaching clients to stay on track; the longer their lists of to-dos and goals, the more overwhelmed and off-track they got. Clarity comes with simplicity” – Brendon Burchard
4) How do they support their coachees? – Great coaches give their coachees all they can. They empower their coachee with the best information, methods, techniques, and priceless guidance to achieve their goals. A great coach genuinely cares about the success of their coachee and supports them to create a win-win situation. This is achieved through conscious practice and transparent communication. A great coach helps a coachee at three critical levels:
First – Creating the desired results.
Second – Sustaining those results by building empowering habits.
Third – Thriving through consistently practicing these empowering habits.
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” – John Maxwell
5) Be ready to be coachable – None of the above would bring benefits if the coachee is not coachable i.e. not open to getting coached. While getting the right coach is important, becoming the right coachee is equally important to achieve the desired outcome. Many coaching relationships do not work out well despite the efforts put in because the coachee is not prepared for coaching. Being coachable is the biggest gift a coachee can bring to the table.
“I can not teach anybody anything, I can only make them think” – Socrates
Identifying the right coach is an activity worth spending time and energy on, in order to make a conscious choice. You can reach out to those around you for their experience on working with a coach and how they benefited from the relationship. Take out time to do your research and ask questions to deep dive into coaching insights and the wisdom of an experienced coach.
Not hiring the best coach will have you or your leaders experience coaching differently. This carries the risk of not getting the desired results despite spending long hours, economic loss due to lack of success momentum, and a dip in confidence due to incompatibility in a coach-coachee partnership.
So ask your coach the right questions, listen deeply, and use your own intuition and wisdom for decision making.
Neeraj Tyagi is a certified Executive Coach & co-founder of Greenlatte, an executive coaching, management consulting, and professional training firm.