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Who you gonna call? Why you should have a coach on speed dial.

Who you gonna call? Why you should have a coach on speed dial.

by Guest contributor Paul Jenkins on February 1, 2013

Coaches help people get better. But they are not doctors.

Coaches help in crisis situations. But they are not rescuers.

Coaches help with anxiety, personal issues and possibly ghosts from the past. But they’re not therapists or ghostbusters.

So who you gonna call?

And why should you make that call now, sooner, rather than later?

@PaulJenkinsCo asks: Are the benefits of executive coaching fully accepted by business leaders?

Coaches help executives get better. And then better still. 

Wanting to be better isn’t a symptom of any complaint or weakness.

Elite performers are always searching for ways to get better. Even under the most thorough examination, there’s probably nothing wrong with you and no cure needed.

Whatever their specialism, elite performers, by their nature, believe in better. They are always looking for the better way, trying to beat their personal bests or do better with less.

The discovery that, in business leadership, the learning is never done is a key part of the initial diagnosis that can lead to greater personal efficiency and better business performance.

Coaches help executives take care of themselves and their own personal development – an  area that’s often overlooked by busy executives who usually concentrate on the needs of the business and of others around them before even thinking about themselves.

Continuous learning and development can help the treatment of current business issues and stop the pain of making mistakes that others have already learnt about the hard way.

And prevention – as we all know – is always better than cure.

Life at the top can be lonely, not to say stressful. So before you reach for a dose of Gaviscon or a glass of Sauvignon, pick up the phone and have a chat with an executive coach.

Coaches help executives in a crisis. But don’t wait for a crisis before you call. 

Leadership is about showing direction and facing up to business problems.

Obstacles, barriers and challenges are inevitable, and every executive sometimes faces tough situations that call for a bit of extra help.

A top executive coach will have a surprising range of interventions to offer that can help the business leader see the way through a crisis, organise his or her thinking or negotiate a settlement and resolve a conflict.

So it’s always tempting to parachute an executive coach into a crisis. But, remember, coaches aren’t rescuers. And for very good reasons.

Coaches are there to help executives improve their effectiveness and expand their  capacity to manage and lead. The coach does this by sharing specific tools, techniques and concepts that enable the executive to perform better.

In other words, the coach helps with the question of how you deal with a problem, rather than helping with the problem itself.

Executive coaches are helpful by nature. But it’s important that they resist the temptation to jump in and rescue or do things for their clients. In the long term, that wouldn’t help an individual client develop the ability to perform better – and it would certainly skew the executive/coach relationship.

Decision-makers make decisions, elite performers perform – and coaches coach. It’s what they do.

Coaches help executives manage anxiety. Before anxiety manages them.

The boundary between the roles of the therapist and the executive coach is often fuzzy.

In coaching, executives may reveal patterns of beliefs or behaviour that limit their personal effectiveness. The coach may challenge these patterns or offer a different perspective. But, unless the coach is clinically trained, he or she will always focus any interventions on normal behaviour and professional issues, rather than mental health problems.

Typically, coaching helps improve the way executives deal with current objectives – both business and personal. So coaches tend to be action-oriented; tasks in hand are given more prominence than past events.

Business leaders are intelligent people and they usually respond well to the tools and techniques their coaches are able to offer them. The framework of coaching helps executives clarify thinking, planning and goal-setting, which often helps them in managing any anxiety problems they may have.

In practice, working through the coaching process always leads to a few of those great “Ah-ha!” moments. When they strike, they may help lay a few ghosts to rest. That’s great, when it happens. But the prime objective is to improve leadership effectiveness and maybe smash a few business targets, not to bust ghosts.

So if something’s tough in the neighbourhood… who you gonna call?

@PaulJenkinsCo asks: Are the benefits of executive coaching fully accepted by business leaders?



Guest contributor Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is a coach, speaker and trainer who helps good, experienced people who are struggling to find work to get the job they want and deserve.

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