“I’m the manager; I don’t want or need coaching.” I get hear this comment a lot when I am talking to a group about the benefits of coaching. What is interesting about the sources is that they are almost all middle managers who do not seem to have much of a future in the company. My own opinion is that this avoidance of support and learning is the root cause of career stagnation. People like this suffer from what I have called the ‘Completeness Doctrine’.
A second group that emerges during one of my talks about the benefits of coaching is the up-and-comers. These people see the way forward to a brighter future through learning and productive change. A good executive is constantly working on their skills and learning a new way to draw on them. One of the very best and most cost effective ways of doing this is with management coaching.
Think of yourself as unrealized potential. It has been a struggle to realize your current level of success. You put a lot into it – education, experience and networking. Now you are looking to climb higher but the issues are getting more complex and the environment more uncertain. Your personal and professional growth is becoming much more important – you cannot make the journey on instinct alone anymore. Your competitors are seeking and getting help in their efforts.
If you could only find a magic lamp in the stockroom that would grant you the abilities you need to gain! After all, we are human and we all long for that easy shortcut. However, there isn’t a lamp that could use a little buffing. You need to do the shining elsewhere. You need to shine up your management skills. The best way to do that is with the aid of a good executive coach. With good coaching, you can soar to new heights and reach for those distant horizons of the corporate world.
A growing trend within the top fortune 500 business has caught on in the middle-market and small business scene. CEOs are sowing their fields with the aid of the coaches and reaping a bountiful financial harvest. Allowing the management coach or executive life coach to sharpen the leadership styles and leadership development of the CEO, Chairman and management, allows for personal growth and can be immediate and profound.
Management coaching, at its most basic, is a relationship between a client and the coach. The coach should have experience doing what the client is seeking to learn. I cannot emphasize this too strongly, so I’ll put it another way. A coach should have strong and deep experience in the very things that the client is seeking to master. Would you hire a gymnastics coach who has simply read a book on the subject – or go for one who has won an Olympic gold metal?
The coaching relationship builds on and accelerates the client’s personal and professional growth as well as improving their performance. Sometimes this is a matter of growth through leadership development, a change in leadership style or a building of new skills through successful advisory and good leadership development. At other times, it is executive coaching – learning how to better operate as an executive within a corporate environment. However, at its best, it is always learning – always change – always growth.
Coaching is a good option any time that a manager has a change of responsibilities or when they need to make a change of direction in the company. Whenever a business is restructuring, employing new corporate leaders, implementing new business strategies or even a new business plan, coaching will lend great strength to that endeavor. It may also be more cost effective and far less disrupting to hire a coach for a manager that is falling behind or for an under-performing manager versus finding a replacement.
Executives who have a vague feeling that they need to do something to improve their prospects often contact me. The initial conversations tend to be rather unfocused. However, my own experience is that ‘vague feelings’ are a pretty good indicator that there is something going on that really needs attention. Whether it is a individual or a CEO asking about their senior team, the initial concern gets flushed out and the outlines of the challenges emerge. Once that begins to happen, we can focus on identifying the changes that need to be induced – and to opening the doors to brighter futures for both the team and the company.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II