There is lots of information readily available about the reasons why you should get a coach. Trust me, I’ve read it, I’ve written it, and I’ve shared it. However, a lot of the answers given are superficial. That’s not to say that they don’t have merit, simply that they give you basic answers that fail to delve into the more profound impacts of coaching.
They fail to capture the essence of why coaching matters.
If you’ve considered working with a coach or have been in a mentor position yourself, consider these ideas beyond promises of success and direction. Think about why coaching matters and why-- when it’s done well-- it can change someone’s life.
Development for Both Sides
Coaching does more than help the recipient develop themselves and advance their career; it helps the coach develop valuable skills that will allow them to make advances as well. Coaching is mutually beneficial to both parties. Also, this goes beyond hiring a professional coach. If you’re in a leadership role in the workplace and mentor other employees, the same mutual benefit applies. If you are someone who is getting coached, you can take notes on what worked well for you to pass along to your subordinates in future leadership positions. The coaching process creates a ripple effect, impacting people beyond the coach/coachee relationship.
Seeing the Forest Despite the Trees
Something that happens very often during a coaching session (or during the overall relationship) is the identification of an issue the client was never consciously aware of. When you have goals and live your life the same way on a daily basis, you sometimes become unable to see some of the barriers in your way. The bigger picture is lost on you, and you don’t even realize the cause of the problem.
Bringing in an outside viewpoint can help you identify barriers that you never realized existed. Sometimes, those barriers are simple to overcome once they’ve been identified and your dreams become that much more attainable. If this sounds like you, don’t sweat it. Even the best coaches often face this issue themselves. This is why the best coaches have coaches of their own.
When you’re someone’s coach or mentor, you’re connecting on a different level than someone experiences through other forms of learning. When you learn about something from a book (or from reading this article), you’re experiencing someone speaking to you through a one-way medium. The same applies when you watch a documentary. You may find out valuable information, but you don’t get to contribute to the conversation.
Teaching is a bit better. Teachers are incredible people who impart knowledge to many students and help shape their lives. You show what you’ve learned through assignments and tests. The teacher then provides feedback via a grade and comments. If you have a concern, you can schedule time to discuss. This is significantly better than simply reading a textbook. However, teachers are limited in their ability to keep the conversation going and to allow you to direct the path by the limitations of time and a curriculum, respectively.
In a coaching relationship, there is a constant loop of information sharing and feedback, creating an atmosphere of reciprocal learning. You are directing the path and can constantly move forward or learn more. You have responses from a human who is dedicated to your skill development, who isn’t expected to adhere to a set of standard rules and approaches. This creates unlimited potential.
All of this creates unlimited potential, and that is perhaps the crux of why coaching matters.
If you look beyond the many proven benefits to one’s business or life through coaching or the facts, figures, and quantitative data about growth, income, and skill development, you find that a strong coaching experience opens a lot of doors, both in your life and inside yourself. That’s why coaching matters.
Meredith Wailes is the president of Bloom Leadership, founder of SEED, and an advisor and builder of women who impact social change. Contact her via Bloomleaders.com or connect on LinkedIn to see how she can help you.