“Getting a coach”
I’ve applied for a leadership position three times in our company and haven’t gotten it. I want to know if there’s something about me that is halting my ability to move up. I am thinking about getting a coach. What exactly does a coach do and what should I expect from them?
Dear Need Guidance:
There are all types of coaches. There are those who help you define your career direction and set goals. And coaches who help you get through a difficult time in your career or develop a job-hunting strategy.
Then, there is the type you’re talking about. The kind that focuses on one thing: to help you be the best you can be.
Most people don’t have the stomach for what this coach does-which is to learn about yourself. They help you see how you affect others who interact with you. They are painfully straight about what they notice about you and what gets in your way.
Since this coach has your best interests at heart, they say it like it is. They may follow you around and observe you in meetings. Afterwards, they’ll tell you how you came across. It’s not easy having someone watch your every move. It can be hard to hear what they have to say-which isn’t always pretty.
A coach will probably talk to people who know you to get a full picture of how you come across and affect them. Most people will never tell you this stuff to your face. Yet it can be the key to discovering what’s holding you back.
A good coach will help you understand things about yourself that you’re not even aware of. Such as when your buttons get pushed-and what those are, how you react and how your reaction affects everyone else.
For example, your buttons may get pushed when you feel you look stupid. To you, looking stupid is the worst thing in the world and you’ll go to great lengths not to look stupid.
So you’re in a meeting one day, one of your staff brings up something that you didn’t know about and you feel stupid. Watch out. You don’t even know it, but you react by being sarcastic and putting down the person. The person doesn’t know what hit him. He just knows he wants to crawl under the table. It gets quiet in the room and now nobody’s talking.
If your coach was in the room, later he or she would ask you if you noticed what took place and what was going through your mind when you got sarcastic. This is one way a good coach helps you see what you’re oblivious to.
Then, next time-and there will be a next time–you have a better chance of behaving differently and having a more productive impact on others. In other words, a good coach will help you become aware of your emotions and how they control you, so you can be in control of your emotions instead of the other way around.
This coach may offer tactical tips and strategies on how to be more effective in giving presentations, managing your time or getting along with people. But at the heart of the process is an honest look at who you are and how you are around other people-so that you’re authentic whether delivering a presentation or holding a conversation.
You also don’t have to be a CEO to get a coach. You do need to:
1. Genuinely want to be better at what you do.
2. Want to take responsibility for your success-not leave it up to chance.
3. Want to work on the issues you think (or you were told) are getting in your way.
4. Be willing to work closely with a trusted advisor who will hold you accountable for what you say you want and how you want to be.