Are you ready for a business coach? 3 keys to a successful coaching relationship

Theo Etzel’s Management Matters

To determine if a business coach is a good fit for you or not, you must conduct an interview — with yourself. You have to move from the position of “I want to want to have a business coach.” To “I want to have a business coach.”

There is a big difference between those two statements. Only when you are ready to improve by going through the discomfort of personal change are you ready to take on this improvement model.

Get ready to have your flaws exposed and be the subject of straightforward conversation. These are conversations that people inside your company may want to have you but never will, and frankly, probably shouldn’t. As a third party, a business coach is fully equipped to handle this task. The question is, are you?

Part of being ready to start a business-coach relationship is having a clear understanding of the below concepts, which are key ingredients to making that relationship a fruitful and long-term one:

Values and ethics:
A business coach must share your values and moral compass, or the relationship is doomed from the beginning. That may sound like a simple and basic statement, but if a coach is encouraging you in one direction and that direction goes against your inner committee, stress and strife is what you can expect. There is a huge level of trust and confidentiality that is developed between you and your coach over a long period. Trust, which is a two-way street, cannot be compromised.

For a coaching process to be effective, you must be willing to be held accountable to tasks and deadlines for accomplishing goals that you set with your coach. You may be a very disciplined person, but sometimes things get in the way of even the best of intentions when it comes to meeting timeframes, at least in our own minds.

It is easier to rationalize a missed deadline in your own head than it should be for a coach to accept your excuse. This is where the added pressure of accountability comes in. It acts as a slight nudge to keep on task and be able to report your actions to someone else as accomplishments. This is especially true in the ever-present “not fun” things that are part of leading an organization. Sometimes it’s too easy to put those items on the back burner when the right and responsible thing to do is meet them head on, in a timely manner.

A business coach can help with strategy and timing of the unpleasant items on your to-do list. I also make a business coach available to my top-line management as it is just as helpful for them to gain her insight into issues with which they have to deal.

Not a sign of weakness:
We don’t always like to hear about our deficiencies. But what we like and what we need are sometimes two different things. Just as a batting coach points out what a ball player is doing wrong and what they need to focus on, so does a business coach point out things we are missing in our company and leadership.

Remember, seeking out a coach is not a sign of weakness. If that were true, very few star athletes would perform at the level they do. They need the honest feedback and assessment of their performance and the corrective measures that get them to the next level. I, for one, need this and know it has helped me in all aspects of my life and made me a better leader for my company.

Being better prepared to meet the challenges of our work makes our work a little easier and less stressful. When I can work smarter and not harder, that’s a good game plan in my eyes; and my business coach helps get me there.

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