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Improved skills, leadership: Good coaches will push you

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Pro golfers use coaching to continually improve by making adjustments. The same is true for baseball players, skaters and many others.
Pro golfers use coaching to continually improve by making adjustments. The same is true for baseball players, skaters and many others.

Wondering if you might benefit from coaching?

The answer depends on a number of factors, including your willingness to accept feedback and be open to examination.

Coaching typically is in two forms, although they can be incorporated together.

The first is more focused on technical skills and improving areas that round out your knowledge in certain areas.

Take, for example, a case where someone is weak in finance. Your desired outcome is not to garner the skills necessarily of a chief financial officer but to have a better grasp of some of the complexity inherent in making sound financial decisions.

The second area where coaching can be valuable is in behavior, where we might be looking to improve our leadership skills and how we influence others.

As we learn more about emotional intelligence, there is growing evidence that demonstrates that people who are open to exploring their own behavior and its impact on others are among the most successful leaders.

If we take an example from sports, even the most successful athletes often need coaching.

Pro golfers, for example, use coaching to continually improve their performance by making adjustments in their game. The same is true for baseball players, skaters and many others.

A coach can identify tendencies we may not recognize, that we adopt over time, and may be inhibiting us from being better leaders and producers.

OPTION OF MENTORING

If you decide to get a coach, what is the best approach? It’s possible you have people in your network to help.

Perhaps you know someone who possesses a skill that you wish you had more of in your toolbox. You might ask this person if he or she would mentor you.

Mentorship can take many avenues in the degree of formality and how it is accomplished. And if someone agrees to mentor you, it is important to mutually decide exactly how it will work.

You may decide to retain a coach in a contractual agreement, and finding the right one is critical to achieving results.

Again, the first place to look might be your network for recommendations from people you trust. Trust is the key ingredient in a successful coaching relationship; a lack thereof means you will spend good money for limited results.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

An entire industry has sprung up in business coaching, and, like anything else, there are good coaches and not so effective ones.

A good coach will take the time to get to know you well. The coach needs to understand who you are, how you best learn and what outcomes you will work toward.

For example, if you don’t have the time or inclination to immerse yourself in books that might be recommended for you, then a coach shouldn’t push that approach.

Likewise, if you are given templates and worksheets and are presented a one-size-fits-all methodology, you might be cautious. It could still work, but it may not get to the root of your unique set of circumstances.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Now, if you usually believe you’re already the smartest person in any room, you probably didn’t read to this point. But most people will agree there are ways to improve their effectiveness.

Improvement doesn’t have to mean engaging with a coach, but if you do, be prepared to be pushed and work hard.

You’ll want a return on your investment, so tell your coach what’s working for you and what isn’t.

A good coach will find the right approach in working with you and what tools to use that fit you.

 

Marianne Chester is founder and CEO of mEnterprise Solutions LLC, a strategic services consultancy based in Stroudsburg. She can be reached at 570-460-9599 or mchester@menterprisesolutions.com.

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