A coach is someone who can help you and he/she need not be in your field of expertise
Let’s say you are a top performing executive in an organization and have consistently surpassed your targets. You have never shirked responsibility nor have you disappointed in your commitments. However, you feel you are reaching a saturation point and are not able to grow. You speak to your boss and he tells you to enroll in a leadership and motivational course. He also sends you some web links to read. You attend the course for 2 days, read all the links he sent you and add some of them to your other regular reading sources.
Yet, you feel that you are not able to make the progress you want to make. You have tried to tell this again to your boss, the HR department and other seniors within the organization, but to no avail. You don’t want to leave the company but sometimes you feel that is probably the best option available.
I could give you several similar examples where you probably feel stuck or you have been assigned a new role or assignment and you need help in going through the transition.
On line, group trainings will not be able to help you in your transition, because they are not tailor-made to address your individual roadblocks. Most leadership programs are too general to provide opportunities for intensive personalized work.
A coach is someone who can help you. No, the person doesn’t need to be in your field of expertise.
Coach doesn’t give you advice or instructions on what to do. But a coach will ask you questions, challenge you and assist you to move in the right direction. A coach follows through and doesn’t leave you high and dry.
Coaching is a process to unlock a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is essentially a conversation – a dialogue between the coach and the client which focuses on improvement of skills and concrete results.
Steps to take before you hire a coach and the questions to ask:
1. Resolve to change, and have the right mindset: Having the right mindset is important. If you think you are the best and cynical about everyone around you, and expect the coach to do all the work, coaching is not going to help you. Coaching assists you, but the resolve to change has to come from within.
2. Trust and confidentiality: You need to hire someone with whom you are comfortable and are able to relate to. You also need to ensure that the coach maintains confidentiality rather than wagging his/her tongue.
3. Has values and is a listener rather than a talker: You can relate to a person whose value system matches with those of yours. The coach needs to be a listener rather than an advisor or a talker or instructor.
Questions that (these are not an exhaustive list but covers the most important) will help you select a coach:
1. How would you define coaching? What does coaching mean to you?
2. Do you have a particular coaching model that you use? Please describe.
3. What are some of the key work experiences that led you to be a coach?
4. How long have you been doing coaching work?
5. What kind of people do you work with and what results did you achieve?
6. With what kind of people and topics do you do your best work?
7. Is there a particular type of coaching you specialize in? Please describe.
8. What kind of assessment instruments, tools, or techniques do you go through with a new client?
9. How do you determine the client’s needs?
10. How long do you work with clients? How much time do you usually spend with the client?
11. How do you implement your interventions (phone, e-mail, face-to-face)?
12. How will you ensure that I, as a client, will get results?
If you want to achieve results and want to see the change that you want, hire a coach. Training alone has proven to be inadequate in providing executives with the skills they need. Evidence shows that a critical factor in the transfer of skills is the opportunity for focused practice and constructive feedback. A study in the private sector found that training alone increased productivity by 22.4 percent, whereas training and follow-up coaching increased productivity by 88 percent. Coaching assists in increasing overall efficiency and managing costs effectively while providing for corporate up-scaling.