• Aaron Styles

10 Situations Where a Professional Coach Can Help

I can't imagine that many people wake up in the morning and think, "I really need a Professional coach." We rarely think we might need a coach to help us be more effective professionals, either as individuals or as a team, yet we aren't surprised that every single sports team as well as individual athletes have coaches. One reason is that few people know what kinds of problems Professional Coaches can help address. So with that in mind, here is a list of 10 situations where a Professional Coach can help.

1. The Law of The Lid - According to author John Maxwell, the effectiveness of a leader can never be greater than the leadership ability of that leader. Thus, to increase effectiveness, one needs to increase leadership ability. We see it in small- to medium-sized businesses all the time as they grow to a certain level then plateau off. This is because they hit the lid of the leadership ability of the founder. A good coach can help an executive identify and address leadership weaknesses that limit executive effectiveness.

2. Improve Interpersonal Skills - Have you ever encountered a person in a position of leadership who was excellent technically, but had serious weaknesses in terms of interpersonal skills? This is a serious problem because it can result in a loss of talent, lower production, loss of creative ideas, loss of reputation, loss of customers and other problems. Effective coaching helps a technically high performer develop the interpersonal skills necessary to be a truly superstar performer.

3. Team Building - Putting a group of people together in the same space creates a collection, not necessarily a team. Getting them working together effectively requires interpersonal skills, leadership, facilitation skills, change management skills, problem-solving skills, and coaching skills. It requires a balance between tolerance for the viewpoints of others with a drive to meet team objectives. The ability to move individuals along the continuum from dependence to independence to inter-dependence is also needed. It should not be surprising when a leader and/or team lacks one or more of these and needs some help. Coaches can help lead a team through any of the well-known forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning phases of development.

4. Individual Development Needs - Many companies create Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for their professional employees on an annual basis. Often, these plans consist of sending employees to a few expensive one-week, out-of-town training seminars. These can be hit-or-miss in terms of producing measurable results. Many turn out to be boondoggles that benefit the individual and the company very little. By engaging a Coach to help a professional to improve in a specific area, the same investment can be targeted to achieve results in a measurable way through a partnership between the Coach, the client and the client's supervisor.

5. Improve Self-Awareness - Using a variety of assessment tools, coaches can help client's gain improved insights into self-awareness. Areas of awareness may include personality, change style, learning style, leadership approach, people skills, and a host of other areas. Additionally, through the coaching process (addressing the client's cognitive process), coaches identify and address cognitive errors such as distorted thinking styles, erroneous types of thinking, irrational thoughts and cognitive biases.

6. Gain New Perspectives - Most of us think we see things pretty clearly. This can make us relatively blind to the perspectives of others. It is natural. By receiving coaching, we become open to new thinking. Depending on the person, the following may be examples of new perspectives:

  • I may be contributing to the problem.

  • I have some information, others have other information.

  • People may disagree with me and still have pure motives.

  • I don't necessarily have to have all the answers.

  • The barriers I see may not be as forbidding as I imagine. Conversely, the situation may not be as rosy as I perceive.

  • I may not have considered all factors. Conversely, I may be over-analyzing.

  • I may be living too much in the past (focused too much on past successes or failures).

  • I may be distracted and not properly focused with my attention or my time.

7. Change Management - Anyone who has been in a position of leadership for a significant amount of time has had to lead their team or organization through significant change. Unfortunately, few organizations focus on change management and how culture and organization must change when technical changes are being carried out. Sometimes this can produce disastrous results. Coaching can help leaders and their teams assess change styles, attitudes toward change, desirable leadership competencies, and the change management process that is needed to support the traditional project management process.

8. Cultural Development - Culture is defined by the behavior of the people in an organization. Management expectations drive the behavior of people. Those expectations are communicated by what management checks, not by what management says. How leaders think drives their expectations, which drives what they check. Coaching can help leaders sort out their thinking so that they get their expectations aligned to the outcomes they desire.

9. Improved Wellness - Wellness is an oft-overlooked aspect of leadership competency. It can be understood in terms of the following five aspects, in alphabetical order: (a) Cognitive, (b) Emotional, (c) Physical, (d) Social, and (e) Spiritual. Consider: How effective is an unwell leader going to be, really? Coaching can help detect and address imbalance or dysfunction in one or more of these areas.

10. Problem-Solving - Problem-solving is at the core of Operational Excellence. No organization can achieve sustained excellence without building competence in this area. And no leader can lead an organization to excellence without building personal competence in this area. Problem-solving is first and foremost a cognitive process. It begins with how we think about problems: Are they opportunities to exploit or embarrassments to hide? Then we must think correctly about how we define problems and think correctly about how we execute cause analysis. Otherwise, our efforts will be largely ineffective. Coaching can be of immense value here to help create the kind of healthy cognitive process that leads to sound problem-solving.

Where could you or your team benefit from coaching? Contact Pathfinder to schedule a no cost, not obligation initial consultation to get started.


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