What is a coach? It is essentially a person trained to help people improve their lives in specific ways. A coach knows how to help you improve your business, become a better leader, or meet personal goals. In its purest form, coaching is a means of receiving truth to help you grow wiser, or more skilled in living: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life (Proverbs 19:20).” Below are some of the major aspects of coaching that benefit leaders:
Advocacy. A coach is for you. His role is to help you get where you want to go. He is an advocate – someone who is on your side. The coach wants your best, and your best alone. I recently told an executive I was working with, “I know you are concerned about the other members of your team. But I am primarily focused on your improvement. And we can help them get their own coach.” He needed to know that rain or shine, in success or struggle, he had someone who was focused on him and his own best practices. In its purest form, coaching is a means of receiving truth to help you grow wiser, or more skilled in living: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life (Proverbs 19:20).” Below are some of the major aspects of coaching that benefit leaders:
A structure. The coach has an structure she has studied and is competent in. She has a philosophy of improvement. She knows what leaders need to do, and how to provide the resources they need to be successful. This structure is what distinguishes coaching from friendship, support and encouragement. Friends won’t usually ask you to report back to them on a homework assignment, but a coach will. She operates much like a football coach; designing the plays that will help you to win the game. She knows what to anticipate, and what the outcome likely will be.
Individual understanding. The best coaches are very good listeners. They know that real success doesn’t come from a cookie-cutter approach, but from an individualized understanding. While the overall coaching structure may apply to all clients, a good coach actively listens to you and understands your individual situation and context. He tailors the approach to you, rather than tailoring you to the approach. He also digs beneath the surface. He knows that “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5).” He gets to the underlying themes that are either holding you back, or needing to be developed.
A process orientation.
Achieving lasting change and improvement takes time, so don’t expect instant results. A coach understands the process, and uses it for your betterment. Together you develop the path, set the incremental goals, deal with the obstacles, and keep things accountable. Your coach keeps you in the process of life, leadership change and personal growth.
Coaching can help you make the changes you want to see; it can also help you make the changes you haven’t yet recognized, but need to. Best wishes on the process. God bless you.