Should I Get a Coach?
The timing has never been better for self-reflection, professional development and a little guidance through the uncharted times still ahead.
The last eighteen months were a test for all leaders, and many pulled it off well. But as companies reset and introduce hybrid work models, few leaders have the toolkit or the skill set to manage this way. And very few realize that the expectations of their leadership have reset as well.
Through company surveys and individual assessments, we’re seeing the trends and gaps emerge from the pandemic work styles. Efficiency came through, but so did a drop in impact and alignment with culture and overall inspiration from leaders. Many leaders are surprised to see that employees aren’t as attached to their teams or as aligned to their strategies. Many got too focused on the day-to-day detail and lost some momentum and focus on connecting the bigger picture for their teams.
The shortage of talent doesn’t help because while you may not talk to every employee every day, someone does. Through LinkedIn, social media and online ads, there are constant offers and opportunities put in front of employees to entice them to look around.
A recent survey by Pew Foundation showed that while 65% of employees were happy in their roles, up to 80% said they would consider another opportunity. It’s testing the waters. And it’s all a part of the reset we’re in now and will continue to be in for months to come. Most leaders are trying to juggle all of it.
So yes, the timing has never been better to engage with a coach.
Finding the right coach is an important part of the decision to hire one. As coaching has increased by more than 20% in the last year, there is some confusion about who to hire for what. When we start an engagement, we always ask if the leader had prior experience with a coach. And when they have worked with another coach, we ask them to rate the experience. The collective response is average, and that’s disappointing. It’s a signal that the leader didn’t get what they needed or didn’t take the time to leverage the engagement. A coaching experience should be one of the most valuable tools a leader gets, and that’s why it’s important to understand what you’re asking the coach to deliver.
The term “executive coach” has become a generic one and covers a lot of coaches who do very different things. Some executive coaches are generalists, and they combine their experience with coaching certification that gives them a process for covering a broad range of topics. The best ones have tailored their approach and can tell you how they plan to lead you through an engagement. Many coaches are aligned to companies, and they work with teams of leaders in support of business strategy more so than individual skills.
There are coaches who support sales, marketing, technology, finance and just about any function within a company. All are leveraging their experience to help you accelerate yours.
Communication coaching is distinctly different. Working on someone’s brand and influence within a company takes more than experience. An executive coach who has had experience leading a company and galvanizing employees can’t give you that skill. They can only give you that advice. And that may be what leads to disappointing results from an engagement.
To improve communication impact, you need someone who has experience AND expertise. You need more than advice. You need skills coaching and support to develop new habits and intentional choices that change the way you approach communication. It takes true expertise to work on body, voice and connection. And it takes proven tools to help you simplify your approach.
So, choose a coach wisely and determine if you’re looking for advice or skill development. Ask about both the experience of the coach and the deeper expertise in the area that you want to improve. Once you’ve found a coach with the right expertise and chemistry for you, you can get much more than an average experience.
In the year ahead, coaching can help you:
- Consider your brand and how well you’re gaining visibility amidst company momentum and endless opportunity.
- Evaluate your impact as a communicator and support your adjustment to a different way of leading a hybrid team.
- Leverage the lifespan of a project by adding a compelling storyline and key soundbites that make the direction memorable and sustainable over a period of time.
- Lead a young team to a high-performing team with expanded responsibilities and broader scope.
This year, it will be the difference in leaders who can shift from competent communicators to compelling ones.
It’s already an unprecedented year, and the expectations of leaders will continue to reset. You should take advantage of every opportunity offered to step up and speak out. And we’d like to help you succeed at it.
Call us when you need us!