Companies and entrepreneurs are beginning to attribute importance to the quest to find a coach or mentor that delivers. So what are the critical essentials to pay attention to when you are trying to find a coach that is suitably qualified? You wouldn’t want to make an expensive mistake, so here are several factors to help you find a coach who is worth their weight in gold.
Successful coaching is not limited to sports. World leaders have advisors and ‘sponsors’ are the backbone of successful rehabilitation organisations like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) where each person has a team mate who works with them on a one-to-one basis.
There is also enormous value to being coached in business, but only if you find a coach that is qualified, with relevant experience. There are many reasons why a company would want to employ the services of such a coach and these include:
How a coach can help
- Strategic alignment of the team to the outcomes and roll-out thereof;
- Improvement of interpersonal skills;
- Competency improvement;
- Balancing work and business life;
- Staff development and a greater focus;
- Strategic thinking;
- Increasing productivity and alignment to the performance processes of the company;
- Increasing market share;
- Alignment of the Board of Directors to the strategy roll-out and common focus;
- Greater sense of teamness and alignment to the roll-out of strategy;
- Time management;
- Assertiveness development;
- Negotiation skills capacity building;
- Career coaching;
- Life and purpose connectedness;
- Performance improvement;
- Guiding individuals to adapt to change more effectively;
- Providing non-biased advice and second position opinions;
- Motivate and sustain momentum;
- Broaden the scope of available information;
- Manager and personal assistant effectiveness and better understanding;
- Promote initiative and ownership on all work levels;
- Challenge excuses and the blame games people play in business;
- Unblocking the barriers people face and hold on to;
- Co ordinate career focus and creativity;
- Eliminate unhealthy work stressors;
- Customer satisfaction; and
- Sales performance for the team.
How to find a coach
If you would like to achieve these objectives then consider asking the following questions to find a coach who will be worth their weight in gold.
- Is this person too similar to me? You have already got ‘you’ so do not look for a clone. Look for someone with the guts (intestinal fortitude) to share the experience and insight they have with you.
- What would our draft coaching contract look like? Be specific about the goals you expect to achieve so you can find a coach that will stretch you and dare you to reach beyond your abilities.
- Can I be open and honest with this person? Remember your credibility is as important as the reputation of new coach. He or she has to believe in you too and the way to achieve this is be open and honest. This will build trust in your growing professional relationship.
- Do they have a desire to see me grow? A crucial distinction between your coach and your friends and colleagues is that the coach wants you to succeed and achieve the goals and objectives you have set for yourself.
- Do they understand where I come from and where I want to go? In essence the coach is a teacher and has a basic dream to help others achieve their full potential.
- Does this person enjoy teaching and transferring knowledge? Will they be patient with you?
- Does the coach have life and business experience?
- Do they belong to a credible International Body and adhere to their code of ethics and standards?
- Can you talk to some of the people they have coached? It’s always helpful to get first-hand referrals from others.
- Can I trust and value this coach? Could they be friendly enough to understand you, yet professional enough not to be a “yes-person”. Can they be a reliable source of information and give you a balanced point of view? Can they guide toward the desired outcomes and always link you to the thin line of reality on the one side and idealism on the other.
The time also needs to be negotiated and usually coaching is set for a period of a minimum of eight months to a year and revisited often along the route so as to determine the value-added along the way. Constant evaluation is necessary to align the growth process with the deliverables and outcomes planned.
Be realistic in these time slots and always keep the win-win focus clear at hand.
Part of the contract should be based on how the coach needs to coach you based on your strengths and limitations and style. They need to do a thorough assessment of you and also have access to your company assessments done so that they can do “catch-up” in terms of getting to know you better.
Coaching is really not for sissies and you need to be prepared to give all you have got to the process and relationship if any benefit is to be derived from it.
You can have a different coach for a season in your life and business and sometimes it is good to ask the coach to introduce you to an associate of theirs so that you can enjoy a few unique and different approaches and then go back to the coach you decided upon in the beginning.
An external coach allows for the team members in the company to be far more open and candid with each other and the coach in terms of their career options and present realities in the comapny.
An external coach can help staff to identify and select and implement personal realistic goals for their life and career.
The challenge factor is high AND LOTS OF PROACTIVIYTY IS MOST HELPFUL FOR THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE COAMPANY.
An external can also help identify blind-spots without the staff becoming defensive and blame-game orientated.
The role definition of the coach also needs to be loked at and there needs to be a focus in terms of:
Why are we doing this?
What results are we looking for?
Are the roles that of educator/facilitator/Socratic sounding board/observer/counsellor/advisor/strategist/Challenger of the board?
What are the priorities we are setting for the process?
Is the coach to be non-judgemental advisor?
Challenge for perceptions?
Focus on the future and connection to the real-time realities?
Call for action and focus to the roll-out processes.
Ask others in the process to evaluate based on the pre-determined criteria.
When we coach in companies and get feed back from coachees we discover the following:
They are happy to report that the coach and the coaching procsess provided a place where they could be listened to
Where they could think out aloud in some one else’s presence and not feel threatened
Where the were challenged in a non-judgemental way
Where they experienced personal growth and evelopemnnt in terms of confidence and competence
Where the received wise counsel
Where they were taught by example
Where they were offered encouragement
Experienced results based on the desired outcomes they formulated with the coach in the contract phase
Built personal trust and trust with their team members
Shared experiences with no pressure to perform or come out on top all the time
Become vulnerable and tell the coach how I am feeling without the remorse of the “after-the-fact” experience
Generated responsibility in me
Never provided solutions but gave lots of guidance and options
Listened and understood
Supported me and helped me through the processes no matter how difficult they were
Kept in touch
Being open-minded and approachable
Helped me to be open for criticism and feedback
Facilitated group think for problem solutions
Helped me influence others
Helped align agendas
Your coach is one of the most vital decisions you will have to make so make it on the basis of sound mutual understanding of all these factors.