This week I’ve written posts about business gifts of music, books, plus power and influence. Today, the ‘business’ gift of coaching is the focus, a practical and meaningful present to give yourself. If you are interested in coaching with me, the first half-hour of coaching on the phone is complimentary!
“Coaching done well may be the most effective intervention designed for human performance,” Atul Gawande wrote in his article “Personal Best. Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you?” that appeared in the “Annals of Medicine section of The New Yorker on October 3, 2011. The bio on his website reads that “Gawande is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He is also Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.” As the author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, a New York Times Bestseller, he shares the importance of following step-by-step procedures to be thorough, efficient, and effective in procedures and projects.
“No matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own. That’s where coaching comes in.” Gawande writes that after eight years as a surgeon, his “performance in an operating room has reached a plateau. I’d like to think that it’s a good thing—I’ve arrived at my professional peak. But mainly it seems as if I’ve just stopped getting better.”
My experience coaching executives, leaders on their way to the executive suite, managers seeking ways to be more productive and profitable, recent M.B.A.s and other graduate students starting out in their career fields, and those looking to enhance their career potential has helped my clients to ‘get better.’ Getting better is a process that makes the client vulnerable and my warning to potential clients is that they will need to “move out of your comfort zone.”
Many corporate employees I know who need coaching refuse to get it. Executives especially are stubborn to the point that they put the blame on others for a failed initiative and do not clearly see how they are holding back the progress of their small companies or large divisions. They resist change in order to maintain their image and/or ego and do not take into account the greater good.
In case you are wondering, I follow my own advice. That is, I have signed up to resume coaching with an excellent coach I worked with previously. In January, I will undertake a major project and know that my investment in having someone to listen carefully to what I say—and not say— then ask appropriate questions can lead to specific appropriate actions and the realization of my goals.
If you are not interested in my coaching services, you should be wary of other coaches who do not have the specific experience you seek or lead you in the wrong direction. For instance, when I had a small project, I called a coach who was offering a free session. When I told her about my interest in starting a career coaching group, she told me that when I started marketing the program I had to offer a guarantee that each person would get a job. That was not a wise coach who thought strategically since no one could guarantee a job for someone else. I didn’t follow her advice since I wanted clients who would trust me and could be guaranteed that I would be honest about the career coaching I offered.
To help you get an idea of what working with a coach is like, you might want to sign up for “Leigh’s Leader Offer” (on the right of this page). If you are already interested, below is a general overview of my coaching process and session development:
- Initial Conversation: Each potential client has a half-hour telephone conversation with me to articulate reasons for seeking a coach and identify outcomes from the coaching process.
- Good Fit Decision: The client and I decide if there is a ‘good fit’ for both ‘coachee’ and coach in order for the coaching process to be successful. Fees are discussed with the potential client. Being comfortable talking about what investments in career development are worth is part of the coaching process.
- Assessments: Client completes appropriate formal self-assessments such as the “Coaching Report for Leaders” or informal assessments such as writing a “Life Story.”
- Session Focus Form (Optional but suggested): Client writes up their progress in specific areas; this document then becomes the agenda for a coaching session and a way to track progress toward a client’s goals.
- 90-Day Goals: Client sets reasonable expectations for achieving three goals within a 90-day period.
- Conversation: Client and coach engage in honest interactions during which client is invited to express deep-seeded ideas or wishes. I listen carefully to what is said and not said in order to discern and offer effective strategies for client success.
- Action steps: Client and coach agree on a series of specific ways to help client get ‘unstuck’ and on track to realize goals.
- 6-Month Planning Guide: Client identifies specific projects and places them on a calendar for completion.
- In-Between Sessions: Client and coach discuss ideas to help the client build on the insights gained in a coaching session and/or engage in new behaviors to avoid missed opportunities.
Signing up for coaching isn’t major surgery. All you have to do is e-mail me at Leigh@ltr-nyc.com and we can set up your half-hour complimentary telephone coaching session.