I was talking to one of my executive clients recently about a female leader on his team. After approaching her about working with a coach, she wasn’t quite sure how to take his recommendation. But to him, a successful executive who had experienced the benefits of coaching firsthand (and also an avid golfer!), it made perfect sense.
“The best athletes in the world have coaches. How do you expect to compete in The Masters without a coach?” – CEO
He isn’t the first to use a sports analogy when it comes to leadership coaching.
The Masters is one of the most prestigious demonstrations of mental and physical strength in the world and my client knows that the right coaching relationship is what his team member needs to be ready to compete. Whether you are a sports fan or not, it is not that hard to draw parallels between elite sports athletes and the elite athletes in the boardroom.
Building on the analogy further…
To the world’s top golfers, a trusted coach is invaluable. Expectations are high and their performance is played out on the television every weekend. The coach is their motivator, accountability partner, sometimes consultant and often advisor on the fickle game of golf.
Just like high performing athletes, high performing business leaders can also benefit from having a coach. This is especially the case today as leaders face volatile and uncertain times and are relied upon by their teams and organizations to tackle problems no one ever anticipated.
More and more CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners and managers are hiring executive coaches, not just for advice on business strategy, but to develop new skills – like interpersonal relationships, authentic leadership, listening and empathy. Leaders can no longer rely solely on proven game play to drive results and achieve success today.
They must continue to up their game…question the status quo and be effectively challenged to go beyond what they have always done and what they even think is possible.
We have heard the saying – “a bad attitude is worse than a bad swing” – so no surprise that the best golfers use their coaching sessions to improve their swing and mental fitness most.
For leaders, these 5 skills and professional goals are consistently in focus with a coach:
- Self-awareness: Doing the work to have a thorough understanding of your values, needs, strengths & weaknesses and using this self-knowledge to monitor thoughts, emotions and beliefs.
- Communication: One of the most important skills in managing change & uncertainty, it is the technique of exchanging ideas and sharing messages & information that is effective and clear.
- Impact and influence: Using tools and leadership styles, like collaboration, negotiation and emotional intelligence to influence & inspire excellence in your team and the work they execute.
- Goal setting: In business and life, knowing what you are aiming for, setting specific and measurable targets and celebrating milestones along the way.
- Coaching & Developing Others: Growing and developing your people – being intentional in engaging, connecting and motivating – to produce exponential results in your organization.
So are you an amateur or a PRO?
The pros on the course maximize their chance of success by placing the ball in the right position, knowing the course and focusing on the skills that prepare them best for the winning shot.
Similarly, the pros in business are intentional in their personal development and in improving their skills – like the ones above –so they can take their leadership game to the next level.
Whether you are preparing to compete in The Masters or the US Women’s Open, men and women’s leadership development is enhanced greatly with the support of a coach.
If you are looking to improve your personal and professional performance, job satisfaction and ultimately, increase the effectiveness of your team and the outcomes of your organization, then you are a pro, and a trusted and valued coach is for you.