Coach: Change Catalyst

The word Coach is not new to anyone. We all have personal experiences with a Coach at one time or another.

The Coach was my friend’s father when I played Baseball and Hockey when I was 9 years old.
When I was 16, my Basketball Coach was closer to my age yet I still respected him since he was helping us work together and win.

Later it was my turn to Coach my sons at Hockey (it was better than sitting in a cold arena and waiting for an hour to pass). As it turns out those Coaching moments for me were some the most exhilarating and the most cherished for 2 reasons:

First, I was helping a bunch of 8-9 year olds play, have fun and work as a team.
Second, for that one hour I was focused on the game or practice, showing them their positions and how to score goals. I noticed that I was able to forget about my problems, issues and life for a while. What a cool experience that was -I highly recommend it!

As an Executive I needed to coach my staff and mentor since this is part and parcel of the job when you lead people.

Given my passion to help people and seek peak performance, I always considered myself a Coach. Recently however I got a much clearer view of what Coaching really means. In other words, I ‘got it ‘.
Change… Coaching implies a change. A Coach facilitates change.

You use a Coach to change something about your leadership style because:

1) You realize that you need to change,
2) You realize that you want to change,
3) You need help to make that change.

Changing is not easy. In fact a lot of us resist change. Changing makes you uncomfortable, uneasy and it’s a bit disorienting.

So why do people change or better still recognize that they have to change? Why is this a big deal?

A great book on Coaching and the need to change was written by Marshall Goldsmith and it’s called ‘What got you here won’t get you there’. The title is straightforward. If you are where you are today in your current position, you most probably got there because of your skills, hard work, the right environment, a nice break or even luck.

However as you strive to get to the next level you may have noticed that you are not reaching that new promotion or you are being bypassed. Why is this?
Perhaps the very reason that you got you there in the first place is preventing you from getting where you want to be.

This is where change comes in. The Coach can highlight your weaknesses and less than optimal behavior since it is virtually impossible to assess one’s behavior or style objectively and identify the reasons our career is on ‘stand by’. The Coach will identify areas that you need to change.

The good news is as adults, we can change. Our brains have enough neuroplasticity; in other words we can change the way we interact with people even if we’ve been leading in a certain way for many years. The brain can change, therefore we can change.

Goldsmith talks about 20 behaviors that are holding you back and perhaps alienating your peers, staff and clients. A few examples are ‘Playing favorites’, ‘Interrupting staff by not letting them speak and ‘Punishing the messenger’. These are all examples of where the Coach can help recognize these behaviors, re-wire your thinking and help you change.
Caution: Change requires commitment and time.

Given that we are all aware of the pace in which events and conditions are moving (markets, products, clients, competitors) and that ‘change’ is really the only constant that we can predict, isn’t it time that you give yourself a reality check to see what you need to change in order to adapt ?

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