I often quote David Allen’s sage advice:
“The better you get, the better you’d better get.”
The higher up you go in your career, the more you deal with psychological stresses and strategic complexities. Successful leadership requires competencies in self-knowledge and visioning. Outside support by way of coach or consultant can be especially beneficial in bringing depth and clarity to particular objectives (and obstacles).
But hiring a coach isn’t for overnight reality-TV-style makeovers. It is to enlist the strength and guidance of a thinking partner that you trust. A good coach will question norms and tactics, and offer new reasonable ideas for consideration.
Flipping your thinking and behavior is no small task though, even with professional backing. An ideal client has got to be hungry to grow. To be bright yet indolent is to waste everyone’s time and resources including that of your coach. A lot of people may (appear to) need the help, but who is ready to receive that infusion of expertise?
I often look for a recent track record of proactive learning efforts when interviewing a coaching applicant: Other consultants, books, seminars, trainings, and even failed attempts at change. Wholehearted but ill-fated tries are millions of times better than a total lack thereof and better still than a series of undertakings that were flimsy in commitment.
Coachable leaders are honest about their strengths and weaknesses, they possess equal parts humility and can-do, they are accountable for their results, and they know how to seek out specialists that can bring fresh perspectives.
Coaching also works best for a client when chief people in their inner circle — mentors, co-workers, staff, friends, and family — stand solidly behind their development. The composition of those stakeholders, to a large degree, is also the responsibility of a strong client.
When the elements are right and the professional maturity is present, coaching can be one of the best career investments you ever make! It will aid you in fortifying your arsenal, re-energizing your game plan, and carving out new pathways toward your work as a top-level performer.
Are you ready to up your productivity, your profits, your presence? There are lots of coaches out there. Track down professionals that understand your appetite to effect real change and create tangible growth. Above all, find the one that resonates with your values, yet may still provide intelligent counterpoints and push you as necessary.
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