Are you ready to step up your game? When did you last spend quality time to reflect and strategize around your career, your role, your goals, and aspirations? Perhaps you’ve considered this a luxury you couldn’t afford. Busy professionals never seem to find the time to focus on themselves—so much to do, so little time to do it. Daily priorities and the never-ending demands on our time seem to keep us stuck in our familiar patterns. Maybe you’re just not sure how to get off this wheel and find time to reflect, recalibrate and refocus. One of the most powerfully effective ways for supporting your continuing growth and development is by working with an executive coach. The following story reminds us of the importance of making time for the things that can truly make a difference to our success.
A story of two workers Two workers, Bob and Bill, were each given an equal amount of wood to chop and stack. The boss was working on a tight deadline and needed the job completed by the end of the day. To motivate his workers, he offered each of them a bonus if they could complete their respective wood chopping projects by day’s end. Each worker faced a pretty daunting task, but they were both pretty motivated to get the job done and earn the bonus.
Bob was a real go-getter. He maintained a relentless pace, taking very few breaks and barely any time for lunch. After all, the bonus was significant and he really wanted to meet his boss’s expectations. He worked faster and harder than he ever had, but unfortunately wasn’t able to finish the job. Bill, on the other hand, paced himself, took time for breaks and lunch and yet was still successful in getting all of the wood chopped and stacked. What was the secret to Bill’s unbelievable success? During his breaks, he took time to sharpen his saw. So when he was actually cutting the wood, his work went a lot faster and easier.
Moral: Sharpen the saw The moral of the story is obvious---if we take time to “sharpen our saw,” we will be able to accomplish more with greater ease and enjoy greater rewards and satisfaction in the process. Professionals frequently sharpen their saw by reading books and articles, attending workshops and professional conferences, and networking with colleagues. While all of these approaches can be helpful, gaining knowledge does not necessarily guarantee better results. We need to be able to put our ideas and learning insights into action. Very often, the day-to-day dynamics and demands of our working environment are wired to support the status quo. It’s difficult to break our familiar and habitual patterns of thinking and behavior. To support the change we want to see in our work and life, we can greatly benefit from the support of a mentor or coach who can provide needed encouragement, guidance and accountability. Because a coaching program is tailored to fit your individual needs, preferences and learning style, you get just what you need when you need it to keep you moving forward. Professionals who have received positive results from executive coaching programs, often report the following key benefits:
• Sharper awareness of their strengths, talents and abilities and the value they contribute to their organizations
• Sharper sense of direction for their professional careers and their organizations
• Sharper understanding of the impact they have on others through their attitudes, words and behaviors
• Sharpened ability to influence others and improve working relationships
• Sharper ability to lead and manage others
Executive Coaching: a professional imperative Taking the time to sharpen your saw—enhancing knowledge, attitudes and abilities—through a high quality coaching process is not a luxury. In today’s changing world, it is a professional imperative. Executive coaching is becoming increasingly recognized as one of the most efficient and effective ways to maintain positive momentum and forward growth in your career and business. Many professionals have discovered that the benefits from their coaching work is a gift that keeps on giving--yielding a significant payback on their professional development investment.