Executive coaching can help achieve higher performance and greater personal satisfaction at work. In order to reap the benefits of coaching be prepared to fully engage in the process. Coaching requires a substantial investment of time and effort, so before you make the commitment, ask yourself , “Am I ready to be coached?”
There are certain core characteristics that differentiate leaders who evolve through coaching from those who don’t. It’s normal to feel both excitement and trepidation when deciding to work with an executive coach. Start by assessing the degree to which you have these characteristics, then discuss which are the most challenging for you. You may mutually decide that it’s not the right time to proceed. More likely, it will help you develop a stronger relationship and a deeper awareness of how to meaningfully develop as a leader through coaching.
Tolerance for discomfort. Successful coaching requires you to be proactive in embracing new ways of perceiving and acting. In doing so, you will likely experience fear or emotional blocks about new realizations and realities.
Openness to experimentation. Trying something new means taking risks, and experiments with new behaviors may not work the first time. You have to try out new ideas and actions, fail, learn, and try again.
Ability to look beyond the rational. Behavior is not rational — it’s driven by emotions like fear, anger, and pride. Just because you “know” what to do doesn’t mean that you’ll act accordingly. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your own behaviors and relationships if you explore their emotional dimensions.
Willingness to take responsibility. It’s hard to change if you don’t believe you have the power to shape your future. Blaming the organization, the boss, too many responsibilities, and so on will block you from growth. You have to hold yourself accountable for making progress.
Capacity for forgiveness. Even if you feel you’ve been mistreated, it’s essential to make peace with the past and channel your energy into progress. You must be willing to forgive and move on.
Self-discipline. Somewhat counterintuitively, your development as a leader will likely require you to let go of ways of thinking and behaving that helped make you successful in the past and be prepared to live with the consequences. It may be hard for others to accept changes in your personal or work relationships.
Ability to ask for support. Finally, you must be engaged with other potential supporters, not just your coach, throughout the coaching process. You are accountable for change, but you will develop faster if you make yourself vulnerable to others (judiciously), including your boss, peers, and even direct reports. Share goals, ask for advice, listen with curiosity, and most critically, accept and act on the constructive feedback you receive.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen – Micheal Jordan”