People often wonder if they need a leadership coach. My answer is always yes. If you want to achieve great things, you can only do so much on your own. Whatever your abilities and circumstances, it takes support and guidance to get the most out of them.
A coaching relationship can be challenging, and even difficult at times, but the payoff is great. Virtually every successful person—not only in business but in sports, politics, entertainment and a host of other fields—has had the benefit of some form of coaching. When you’re ready to get started, here are seven ways to ensure you get the most of your leadership coach.
Make time. For coaching to be effective, you need to commit to at least a year. It may seem like a long time now, but it will fly quickly. And for coaching to be the most effective, you’ll need to carve out a little bit of time on a daily basis. That requires that you become strategic with managing your time and that you make coaching a consistent priority. Set your sessions for the same time every week so they’re automatically built into your schedule. If you want results, you have to devote some time.
Put in the effort. Think of what you want to accomplish. Make a list, create goals and then put in the effort, because you are the one who is going to be driving this process. Unlike most other learning and development processes, you are responsible for setting your own learning objectives, crafting session agendas and structuring the coaching schedule. This is your show, and you need to take charge.
Do the work. As a leader, it is important that you challenge yourself to advance to a new level as a leader. Don’t waste this opportunity by settling for minor changes and fine-tuning what you’re already doing. Make yourself uncomfortable. Take on the challenge and picture a better version of yourself as a leader, and allow it to excite and scare you at the same time. Expect great things from yourself and the process.
Accept feedback. An important part of growth lies in taking in the perspective of others—especially the things we have a hard time hearing. I ask my clients to select six to seven people who work with them regularly and ask them how they could improve as a leader. Once you’ve solicited feedback, you can use it to work with your coach on developing goals. Always treat feedback, good or critical, as a gift.
Embrace the rocky road. If your coach is good they will take you down some difficult roads. Especially if you’re making significant changes, prepare yourself for rigorous self-assessment, learning and development. Think about what you are willing to invest, risk and sacrifice to become a better leader, and recognize that it’s the challenging path that leads to where you want to be.
Take one step at a time. When things become challenging, concentrate on taking one step at a time. Work with your coach on a single specific action that will advance your leadership in some way and commit to completing it before the next session. That may mean experimenting with a new practice, having a difficult conversation, redesigning how you invest your time, restructuring your personal strategies or acquiring a necessary resource. Even a single step is progress, and they add up quickly over time.
Acknowledge results. Assess the results of your coaching with the only valid measure of leadership: the impact that you have on others. Remember that it’s not about being liked or being the smartest leader. Observe how people act around you; listen to how they speak to you; learn what they do when you are not around. You know your leadership is working when others can emulate you and do great work on their own. If you see you have empowered and motivated them to bring their best, you’re becoming a great leader
Remember, this process is about you. You will get the results you want only if you commit and take responsibility for who you are and how much you are willing to do. Don’t bother waste time trying to impress your coach—they already know how talented and competent you are, but they also see the potential of who you can become.
Lead from within: A great leadership coach will challenge you, encourage you, confront you, affirm you and provoke you. Your coach is always in service of your growth, evolution and development as a leader and a person.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.