Coaching has been an incredibly powerful tool for me. It has helped me to work through challenges and find an inner confidence I never knew I had. From a manager with a coaching style, to giving my clients 1 on 1 coaching session I have seen first-hand just how transformative this technique can be.
For those of you who don’t know what coaching is, it is essentially a conversation with another person where they ask you questions that help you to raise awareness of your situation and then decided how to take an action from it. It’s not about being told what to do by an “expert” but being given the time, space and structure to have those lightning bolt moments of realisation and figures things out yourself. If you aren’t convinced, here are my top 5 reasons why coaching is such a powerful tool
1) You get to say out loud things you’ve been too scared to admit to others or yourself
I want to quit my job, I don’t even like my career choice, I think I want to change direction completely. These are all things that we might not want to say to our friends and family (or even admit to ourselves) for fear of how they or we might react. A coaching relationship is a safe and confidential space where you can say exactly what you are thinking without judgement or repercussions. This is so important, because not saying what you need to, so that you can explore why you are feeling that way, can lead to frustrations and resentment. It is also often in saying what we feel that we haven’t been able to voice that we can find the greatest insight into what is really going on. Which leads me to…
2) Clarity on your thoughts and what is important to you
Saying something out loud and having it reflected back to you can really help you to take stock of a situation. In so many of the coaching sessions I’ve led, the person I’ve been coaching has said their issue was one thing, but by the end of the conversation they have realised that is something else that is really at the cause of the problem. A coach will ask you questions that will help you to see your situation from a different view point or challenge your thinking so that you end up with real clarity on what you want to do.
3) You find solutions that are unique to you
A coach doesn’t tell you what to do, they help you to figure out what it is that you want and need and how you are going to get it. They won’t tell you should be doing or what everyone else is doing to solve a similar problem, instead they will help you to figure out what is true for you. We are all unique with our own values and priorities and when we make decisions that are right for us then we are more likely to make changes that are going to last. Listening to what other people have done and making decisions based on what we think we should do, rather than what we truly believe, can lead to really bad decision making.
4) It’s empowering – you have all of the answers and the power to change your situation
For me, this has been the most impactful part of coaching, the realisation that I don’t need to rely on an “expert” to work through my problems and challenges, but with the support of a great coach I’ve realised that I am capable and confident and can figure things out. In the traditional work environment, we are taught that hierarchy and organisational structure matter, that those above us in the food chain know more, that we need a mentor who has done it before to impart their knowledge and wisdom. And whilst learning from those with more experience can be helpful, it hasn’t helped me to find my voice and speak up and put my ideas forward. What has helped is realising that I have something worth saying and finding the confidence to say it and I have done that through coaching.
5) Accountability to take action from your insights
A great coach will not only help you to figure out what it is you need to do, but they will help you to take action from your realisations. They will ask you what is going to stop you from doing what you need to do and help you to overcome any barriers. They can help you to set realistic goals and put a plan in place of how you will achieve them. A great coach will help you to confront your weaknesses and what has stopped you in the past and support you to find ways to make sure you do take action.
So that is why I love coaching so much. Personally, it has been a huge help to me to set big goals and dreams and go out there and achieve them. It has also changed me as a manger, and helped me to find a way to support and encourage my team without telling them what to do. This has led to improved confidence which in turn has made their work better, they feel empowered and motivated so they perform better. As a management coach, I’ve seen how an hours coaching session can unlock a problem that has been around for months and propel someone forward in their career. What are you currently stuck with at work? How could coaching help you work through that challenge?