Put me in coach!

I’m aware of the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Masters but I do not live and die for them.  I do have a tremendous appreciation for the athletes and coaches that lead their teams to the final competitions each year though.

The need for a good coach can be applied to any organization. Coaching is a lifelong need and even top athletes, as well as top leaders, need a good coach. Even the brightest of star athletes have coaches. I know this because it was big news last year when Tiger Wood’s coach, Hank Haney, infamously quit coaching Tiger via text message. And the most successful CEOs, from the largest business or organization to the smallest all have coaches. Some of these relationships are formal, some are informal. Coaches look at where we currently are in our business or organizations and where we want to go. Then they help us build a path to get there. There’s no way for any of us — no matter how smart we are — to know absolutely everything about every aspect of our business. Coaches can help us see the big picture, and help fill those gaps in our knowledge. If you’re not an expert in Human Resources, or Accounting and Finance, or Sales, or Marketing, there’s someone out there who can help you. And there’s no shame in admitting that you can’t possibly learn it all. Our world is too complex and the best leaders are the ones smart enough to know they need to surround themselves with the best advisors.

How do you find a coach? Just like you’d find any other service provider. Ask your colleagues and other business leaders for referrals. Check the internet for business coaches in your area. Interview prospective candidates. Ask probing questions to learn more about their leadership style, skills, areas of specialization, experience, successes (and failures!), as well as what they expect from a coaching relationship. Check their references, both the ones they provide, and the ones they may not but that you can discern from their conversation. Try them out for awhile, then measure how the new relationship is working. If not, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. But the first step is admitting that having a coach just might pump new life into you’re your team and organization.

Join the discussion! How has a coach changed your business for the better (or the worse)? What advice would you pass on to another business leader when it comes to finding or using a coach?

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