When I first signed up for Twitter, one of my first observations was that there was an oversupply of coaches. These individuals promised that they could do everything from getting you a promotion to saving your marriage. As a people and culture leader, I always understood the value of coaching in achieving specific learning and leadership development objectives, but I didn’t get why someone would individually invest thousands of dollars into an ongoing relationship. After I gained experience consistently working with a coach and assigning coaches to others for various reasons, I am convinced that that every professional should hire one for at least six months. Here’s why:
- A coach will help you go outside your comfort zone: You may feel like you do this on your own or with the help of a mentor but the reality is that a coach offers a longer, more accountable, look in the mirror. A weekly meeting with a coach offers you a chance to build a true personal relationship. You will begin to understand your personal limitations and how to move things forward as you bond with your coach.
- You may gain a lifelong professional relationship filled with mutual benefits: My coach and I have built an amazing relationship and I often ask for his input on critical decisions outside the traditional scope of the relationship. I can say the same thing for my peer coaching relationships. Whether it’s been myself in the relationship or others, often I see a lifelong, fruitful, relationship built. As the relationship matures, it becomes less one-sided and more mutually beneficial.
- A coach will help you generate new ideas: You don’t have to have looming issue to enter a coaching relationship. Sometimes, you may simply want a proactive look at your life. A coach helps you tap into such implicit needs. Some coaches may even help you come up with new ideas to apply to your personal life. In fact, according to an HBR study , 76% of coaches help clients with personal issues even though that was not the original reason for the relationship.
- The right coach will provide a monumental career development experience that dwarfs any professional development program. Many times, we think it’s time to get a coach when we are facing a career change or entering a professional development program but again, that assumes something is wrong or that a coaching relationship is transactional not ongoing. It needs to be a little bit of both. Programs are finite but coaching relationships are a life-long alternative.
This is not an advertisement nor am I saying that you need to go out and pay thousands of dollars for a coach. However, instead of blindly spending that money exclusively on coursework, consider getting a coach. The key is to find this individual organically. In fact, to get started, you may want to ask a colleague to enter into a peer coaching relationship with you and see how that goes. Then you can reap all the benefits without getting lost in a $1 billion dollar industry.