What is so special about Coaching, and Why would I want it....
When first asked if I wanted an executive coach, my initial reaction was, Why? Is there something I need to change? Am I not a good enough leader? Do I need help to be successful in my role?
What I didn’t realize was that I was being offered a coach because I was performing well and was recognized as an inspirational leader. Although historically, there have been mixed opinions on the value of the coaching process outside of sport, and many thought that coaching was only used to solve problems or as a last resort to an HR issue, which is highly inaccurate and couldn’t be more wrong! It is a process that helps you reach the next level and ultimately success in your work or personal life, more often than not, creating a positive impact on both.
Choosing a coaching partner that you can establish a trusting and comfortable rapport with, is a critical step. I was fortunate to have felt an immediate connection on my first call with my potential coach. We aligned on so many levels, she was extremely experienced in the areas I wanted to focus on, and she inspired trust and collaboration between us in a short space of time.
I would offer some advice here – Please do not rush the process of researching, reviewing and speaking with potential coaching partners. Spend time with each, ask questions, trust your gut instincts, think through whether this is someone you could open up to, that you could trust, and that you feel you have a foundational connection with.
I have to say that I was still slightly skeptical of how this “coaching” would help me in my leadership career, never mind in my life…. How wrong could I have been!
During our first official session, my coach asked me some seemingly simple questions…. you can read what these questions were, how these sent me into a complete tailspin, and how I dealt with this, in an earlier blog https://www.saorsacc.com/post/the-restless-filly-an-urge-to-jump
This was truly the start of an incredible journey for me – one that at times would be insightful, emotional, thought provoking, freeing, eye opening, creative... I could go on for hours describing my adventure, but I think you get the picture :o)
I’d never had a confidential thinking partner before - someone I could trust to open up to about my hopes, dreams and aspirations, the leadership challenges I faced, my concerns and fears. One of the biggest discoveries for me, was the return of my curiosity. I had always been a curious child and young adult, questioning everything, as I wanted to fully understand the world around me. But as I got older, I became much more cautious and aware of the tensions that can be caused when you’re too curious and I therefore often stifled my curiosity. With my returning inquisitiveness, the questions that I was now asking myself, made me think much more deeply, peeling back the many protective layers that I had grown through years of working in leadership, enabling me to find the real me again.
After an extremely comprehensive 360 assessment (of which I had completed many before), for the first time ever I listened to the positive attributes that my co-workers, colleagues and direct reports had listed, instead of immediately looking to find where I was going wrong, what I needed to improve – all the negative elements that always easily consumed me.
Spending time working through the report with my coach, in its entirety - warts and all, was invaluable to me. As an unbiased compiler of the information (my coach was external to the company I was working for, and we had never met before I started my coaching adventure), she had interviewed a considerable number of people in my work sphere, assembled their feedback, assimilated the information and produced a rather lengthy report. We discussed all the feedback, which I was encouraged to accept (I was a little speechless at how many and how positive the comments were...and I’m not often lost for words :o). We then moved on to the process of defining what we would choose to focus on, and created an action plan and goals to support. Over the coming months, my coach taught me how to be present in the moment, to look more closely and dig deeper to truly understand what I really wanted to accomplish in my career and my life. To accept the value of the things that I was naturally gifted at, and how to work through the elements that challenged me. For me personally, it helped me understand a little more about what drives me, inspires me, scares me, calms me, defines me…. opening up a whole new world to me. One in which I don't have to feign confidence, as I am confident and one in which I can finally be comfortable in my own skin…. something most people thought I was, when in fact I was absolutely not!
Now, coaching is not an elixir to all your career and life challenges and woes.
It take some work - You need to be willing to be fully engaged with your coach. A great coach will listen to you, help you get to the root source of your challenges, inspire you, motivate you, be your sounding board, confidante and cheerleader – You have to commit to the process, ask yourself the questions, dig deep, know that at times it can be uncomfortable, but the end results are so worth it. You will discover your true, authentic self and how to go about realizing your career and life goals.
During my coaching journey, my master coach suggested that I may want to consider coaching others, as she thought me to be gifted in this area. On realizing I had been coaching and mentoring as part of my leadership roles and to friends and colleagues for many years, I decided that maybe it was time to formalize this. I joined the phenomenal Healthcare Coaching Institute and not only found an excellent course that equipped me for my coaching career, but also provided me with a wonderful network of incredibly talented individuals – both faculty and students, that are an invaluable resource to me and that have become my friends.
People often wonder why coaches are so motivated and inspired to coach others…..
the simple answer is, that we know that good, professional coaching can change lives for the better, that it provides the support to enable you to be highly successful in both your career and your personal life – and that it works!!!
If you are interested in learning more about coaching offerings, please go to https://www.saorsacc.com/ or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org