Over the course of my lifetime, I have experienced coaching in many forms. At a very early age, I had music coaches for piano, flute, and choir. Later in school, I had coaches in athletics for volleyball, basketball, and track. And, throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to have access to great coaches at nearly every level. However, not everyone has that opportunity and not every company provides it. What a missed opportunity! Everybody needs a coach – that is, if you want them to be as good as they can be.
Coaches provide powerful opportunities for growth. They can:
- Provide additional perspective or a different point of view on a situation
- Challenge assumptions or biases that may not be obvious
- Facilitate self-discovery by helping the performer reflect on what might have been done differently or how to achieve a different outcome
- Provide observations and data that often go unnoticed by the performer
- Help the performer explore new avenues for growth
- Recognize and reinforce positive accomplishments
In many professions, leaders and performers at the highest levels have coaches. Oprah Winfrey has a coach. Bill Gates has a coach. Jordan Spieth has a coach. Why? Because they know they have not yet achieved what they can become. But why is coaching in most organizations restricted to just the highest levels of professionals? What about helping every employee be the most they can be? What are we doing to promote growth at every level? Great organizations not only provide coaching to their leaders, they also ensure that all team members have some form of coaching. How? They equip their Managers to be great coaches. Moreover, they don’t promote people into leadership or management roles if they don’t have the raw talent to coach.
Coaching is a significant lever to influence not just individual performance, but also organizational performance. In every case where I was coached, I got better and that helped me contribute in a much more effective way, so the team got better. An organization that has coaching embedded in its DNA is also better equipped to deal with change, combat mediocrity and complacency, and promote future growth. Consider yourself, your organization and its people. How are you harnessing the power of coaching?