Not Just for Executives Any More
by Kathleen Robinson
Still on track for professional growth and success?
You are a busy senior manager with more than a few years of experience under your belt. You have been successful in your career and, for the most part, have been able to keep pace with the changes in your business and industry. Lately, however, you’ve begun to wonder if you are still on track for continued professional growth and success. Perhaps you’re feeling stagnate in your job, or even a little bored or dissatisfied. Or, maybe you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by changes in your current role or business. Some of the most common scenarios that may suggest an opportunity for coaching include the following:
You have a new job at your current company or at a brand new company and need to hit the ground running
You are expected to play a key role in a new business/organizational initiative that could have a major impact on your career
You’ve recently received performance feedback that identifies opportunities for professional improvement
You have a new boss who expects more from you (even if you’re not totally sure about exactly what’s expected!)
You feel frustrated by the lack of cooperation or communication break-downs with others—the “people” issues that sap your energy and impact your results
You are talking about work issues with your spouse, family, friends, or colleagues so much that even YOU are getting tired of hearing it
If any of this sounds familiar, you might be ready to consider working with an executive coach to help you get better traction in your current role or to get in professional shape for your next position.
Coaching can help re-generate positive career momentum Coaching is becoming the premier choice for time-challenged executives and managers as a vehicle for fine tuning business and leadership skills. Very often, a positive coaching experience can help re-generate positive career momentum and better results in meeting the day-to-day challenges of work and life.
Coaching is not just for helping you deal with current changes or problems. Hiring an executive coach can be a good move even when everything is going well. A skillful coach can play a variety of roles to help you develop and maintain your competitive edge from being an advocate and sounding board to change facilitator, teacher, counselor, and good old fashioned “butt kicker.” (Let’s face it…when it comes to making behavioral changes, any one of us can sometimes be guilty of foot dragging unless we have someone to hold our feet to the fire!)
How does coaching work? The first step is to find a coach that you feel comfortable working with. Often, corporate coaches are found through professional networks—asking trusted friends and colleagues for professional referrals. Human Resource departments can also be a source of pre-screened, qualified coaches.
We recommend that you interview a few potential coaches to learn more about their qualifications, experience, coaching approach, and fee structure. Assuming everything else is equal, the key driving factor in selecting a coach will be finding someone with whom you feel comfortable. A technically qualified coach may not always be someone with whom you would value spending time. Coaching works to the extent that you are willing and able to express your true thoughts and feelings, to be vulnerable, to make mistakes and learn. You want to be sure you’re working with someone with whom you feel safe, someone you can learn from and whom you trust.
Successful coaching requires openness to change A good coach is only part of the success equation. The best coaches can’t wave their magic wand and make your dreams come true. A successful coaching process requires your clear focus and willingness to make changes. The more open and available you are to the coaching process, the better and faster the outcomes can be achieved.
You will meet with your coach over a period of time on a fairly regular basis. How long and how often will be driven by many factors including your preferences and availability as well as the scope and urgency of the changes you want to make. Most coaches will want to conduct some level of assessment to gain clarity about your needs and current situation. Based on the assessment findings and your goals, a coach will help you develop a coaching plan with milestones built in for accountability. Coaching sessions can be a mix of onsite sessions, phone meetings and email support.
Executive Coaching is a gift you give to yourself to support your professional and personal well-being. Don’t wait for your boss or HR to offer this to you---be proactive and go after it. And if someone has suggested you consider coaching, embrace the opportunity. This could give you the boost you need to re-energize your career, get more satisfaction out of your work and achieve your professional goals.