Coaching – An Old Ritual Gains Momentum
Would personal coaching be good for you? Answer: Only if you would care to move your personal success up to the next level.
Personal coaching is not a new art form. Kings, Queens, Noble (persons) and young warrior heroes had some form of coaches in ages past. Sometimes they were called by different names such as: Soothsayers, Wizards, Mentors, Handmaidens and Teachers. The concept to assimilate the wisdom of an experienced mentor and coach has been recorded as far back as Genesis; elders in the Temple. Even fictional heroes had coaches. Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan Kanobi, Batman had Albert. Those that embraced the wisdom of the ages from their coaches achieved higher positions more rapidly in life.
What is it that coaches offer that makes them so desirable to have around? Coaches have a resource of the practical wisdom we need when making tough decisions. Not necessarily any magic. They just have a way of stepping back and viewing the situation as if watching an instant replay or viewing down on the situation from afar. They have an uncanny talent to piece together the obvious, in a logical order so that all the smoke clears from the situation at hand.
Coaches accomplish this by getting you to recognize and respond to the tough questions. Those are the questions that you either avoid or are afraid to ask yourself. It is a frequently all too uncomfortable reality check for you to make on your own.
To Give and to Serve
Once a personal coach is hired, assigned or appointed, their primary function is to give and serve. If your coach is not dedicated to improving your success, start looking for another. The best coaches receive few accolades and attention. They provide guidance and support behind the scenes and do not try to take credit or steal the thunder from the coached. That is not their function.
You Can’t Train Coaching
I am not aware of any class you can take that will transform you into a great coach upon graduation. You see, you can’t teach wisdom. That can only be acquired from experience and utilizing that special God given talent; really caring about the person they are coaching. That is not to say their isn’t some session in the world of education that can’t teach you better listening skills or more effective questioning techniques. These are necessary tools for excellent coaching. It’s analogous to training a great chef. You can teach correct temperatures, proper pans to use and recipe’s, but we all know there is something special about the Great Chefs. Their love of flavors and pleasing other people is what makes them great. It’s similar with coaches. Great Coaches love to untangle challenging situations and they have an affinity for helping other people.
You might think coaching is for the little guy, the new recruit or the employee that needs special help. Certainly those people are candidates for coaching. However, the most exciting coaching takes place at the top. The best quarterbacks that lead the Super Bowl teams have a solid personal relationship with their coaches. A special understanding. The coach knows what makes that quarterback tick. He understands his talents, the team skills he has to work with, his emotional side, what motivates and demotivates him, etc.
The same applies to coaching business executives. When working with some of the major corporations in St. Louis (divisions of Anheuser Busch, Ralston, TWA, etc.), I have had the pleasure of coaching some of the executives. The challenges they face and the ramifications of the results, effect a lot of people. The coaching that takes place at this level, is the most enjoyable and rewarding as a coach.
That being said, the satisfaction that comes from coaching an individual sales person is a unique experience. Watching from the sidelines as your client accelerates in their sales success, (39%, then 50%, and then 100%) provides a special warmth and pride. It’s like a father watching his son achieve success as his own person with his own special talents, knowing that he has been a part of the molding process.
Take the Plunge
If you are serious about taking your career to the next level in ’99. Find an excellent coach, but only if you are ready for the reality check. This will frequently be an uncomfortable ride.