by Tony Vidler
It is a peculiar thing…most of us recognize the difference that good coaching – or poor coaching – can make to any athlete or sports teams performance. Very few professionals however seem to make the link between high performance and coaching when it comes to building their own business.
Even those of us involved on the coaching side often trivialize or take for granted the benefit of good coaching.
This line of thought was triggered by a conversation with a client who is disengaging from the coaching process with me – and I am delighted that he is doing so by the way.
For over a year I have been working with this particular adviser and during that time he has changed his business structure, his marketing, his planning and his client engagement levels. His own view of his business performance and business expectations have shifted substantially…but the really fabulous thing is that he has reached a point where he feels he can continue to manage and build a business in the way he wants to as he now has the skills and the insight.
That is the underestimated element of effective coaching: the transfer of skills. The “teaching” element.
Certainly good coaching delivers accountability, and objective assessment in any number of areas that help build a great business. It is also certain that good coaching delivers fresh thinking and a degree of innovation to a business as different perspectives and different experiences are brought to bear on the clients particular issue, or opportunity. A coach shows you the shortcuts you haven’t yet found for yourself, and introduces efficiencies into your business that would probably just be hard won and expensive lessons of your own. Coaching is usually considered to be fundamentally about accountability, objectivity and efficiency. In simple terms we tend to view it thus:
Listening to a client describe their view of the coaching experience though reminds me that the greatest value is actually in helping equip someone to stand alone. Rather like parenting, the greatest value is not the upbringing you provided (fun, toys & experiences), but the skills you taught that enable the kids to go out into the world confident, and well prepared to make their own successes and live life their own way.
Good coaching produces self-sufficiency and sustainable performance improvement.
That is the Number 1 thing that anyone should be looking to get from good coaching: sustainable improvement as a result of learning how to self-manage performance. When considering coaching that should be the primary focus: can this person teach me the skills to succeed?
Business efficiencies matter of course, as does fresh insight and thinking. Accountability, or being answerable for performance, makes a big difference to performance too. These elements have a limited shelf-life though. Todays efficiency is tomorrow’s inefficient and archaic system. New thinking becomes “ho hum” at some point….accountability loses power as independence and confidence grow. None of these are in themselves areas of long term, sustainable, business improvement.
Skills, and the ability to understand how to self-manage, do lead to sustainable success however.
That’s what any professional should look for as the Number 1 thing from coaching.
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