The best athletes in the world rely on coaches to make them better and to help them raise the bar to new levels of performance. The athlete and the coach collaborate to produce a far better outcome than the athlete can produce on his/her own. Why should executives be any different?
In a Fast Company blog post called “To Move Forward, First Let Go,” I offered “the toughest business to consult on is your own.” The same is true for executives. It’s hard to consult about (or coach) yourself. You are too close to your situation, you greatly benefit from different ideas and perspectives, and, as my mentor, Alan Weiss, offers, “you don’t want to breathe your own exhaust.”
When an individual engages with a coach, they acknowledge they can benefit from an outside perspective. They acknowledge they can’t possibly see everything the coach can. And, they acknowledge that candid input is needed to make them more effective. Let me give you an example.
I helped coach an executive about his content and how to deliver a presentation at an all-important global sales conference. The year prior, he had been ranked the worst speaker at the event. He didn’t want a repeat. I was able to help him better connect his message to his audience. The outcome? He was the highest-ranked speaker, a complete reversal of fortune for this terrific guy.
Could he have done it on his own? It’s doubtful. He didn’t know what to do differently. He didn’t know where to start. He only felt the pain and embarrassment of his prior presentation being the worst ranked.
Why do executives believe they can do it on their own? Is it to show how tough they are? Is it to prove how self-sufficient they can be? Is it to save money? If it’s to save money, ask yourself at the expense of what?
To make my business work, I mentored with some of the best people in the world. It took me a while to learn that getting another perspective was essential if I was going to make my business work. For over a year, my ego wouldn’t allow me to admit that I couldn’t do it alone—that I needed help. I reached a point where I knew I could not help myself as effectively as a coach could.
I had had to learn the hard way that being good at something didn’t translate into executives leaping for their checkbooks so we could do business together. That required different strategies and tactics than I had knew. I had to learn a lot. And, I needed my coaches pointing out how I could be more effective and what I needed to do differently.
If you are an executive and you aren’t getting the coaching, where will you be in 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years? Do you think you can raise your own bar? How will you take your personal performance and value-add to the next level?
Let me help you accelerate your growth—personal, professional, company, etc.–through change.
© 2014 Dave Gardner