© Paul Slater and Reflect & Lead, 2016.
People work with coaches for many reasons. Some do so in times when they are looking for a change of direction, perhaps in their professional lives, perhaps as part of a career move plan. Others will work with coaches as part of development programmes for junior or more established professionals. Others still will chose to work with a coach to provide them with the objective and independent discussions and challenge they believe they can’t get in the workplace.
And it’s that last point about objective and independent discussions that is key regardless of the reasoning behind working with a coach. Leaders and managers are often encouraged to develop a coach-like style and develop their own coaching skills. A manager on mine many years ago described me as having a coach-like style before I ever even considered that I might be coaching people.
While managers can develop excellent coaching skills and use them with their team there is always the need to “get the job done”. It’s only natural that this might take precedence in their thoughts. So those coaching discussions may not be as independent as they might be. In larger organisations where junior professionals are teamed with experienced mentors the objectivity and independence can be stronger. But there’s still that overarching “corporate need” of ensuring a cultural fit for the future.
So if the instances around which someone might decide to work with a coach surround changes, transformations or the potential for a future change does that mean that only “high potentials” and people on the move should look for coaching? Of course not. There is much written on how everyone should be pushing for something new, bigger and better in their professional and personal lives. If we are to believe such talk then everyone else is to be discounted, in a professional sense at least. What rubbish!
Anyone experienced in working in teams (in working even) knows that having team members who just get on with their work is what delivers success. Just because this group (the majority in any workforce I would contend) aren’t pushing for new jobs, promotions and rewards doesn’t mean they should be ignored, which they often are. The stability and experience they bring is often so under-rated, staying under the radar getting on with their work.
So would these people who form the backbone of any business benefit from working with a coach? Why wouldn’t they? Because someone is in a stable position at work doesn’t mean that will always be the case or was the case previously. Ambitious managers often over-look such individuals while they focus on others who are like them.
Coaching can unlock the inherent talents and motivations in anyone and none more so than in people others assume are content in their humdrum routine.
That’s not to say that coaching should be imposed on everyone, that doesn’t make sense. But an explanation of what coaching really is and the opportunity to explore possibilities for those who might not normally look at coaching can lead to benefits all round. And those to benefit are the individual, team, manager and business – and that’s just considering the working part of someone’s existence.
Nothing remains the same, change is all around us. That applies to all aspects of our professional and personal lives. The ability to prepare ourselves for such changes has always existed and always will. With coaching we can better prepare ourselves for a future and proactively make strides to develop the future that we want rather than one we have to accept.
So coaching enables us to free up our thinking and facilitate our future planning processes. It has no agenda other than for us as individuals to be successful going forward. The knock-on effects on those around us and those we work with and for can only be positive – whether we are a “high-potential” or not.