By Mandeep Singh, MCC
So, I’ve been coaching for close to 20 years now, and here are the common benefits I have seen people get for themselves through the process:
- Space and time to just think, period. Most of us are so busy, and juggling so many balls simultaneously, that having the opportunity to pause and reflect often seems like a stretch goal. Trade secret here, but 90% of what a good Coach does is she or he just shows up, and listens. When I am trying to think through something, I typically have three choices: ONE, think it out in my own head by myself; TWO, create quiet time and space and try and write it all out for myself; THREE, find a friend I trust, and try and talk it through with them, and hope and pray they’ll just listen to me, and not try to solve my problem for me! Just the other day, a great coach friend and I were talking about the clients we had had the most impact with: people who had completely transformed. Apparently, his very best client said to him one day, “Steve, I know you must be a brilliant coach. For me, though, this is the only hour I have in my entire month, where I can just sit down and think about my business …!” Yup – most of the work was being done by the client; Steve was providing the contained time and space for the client to just … think.
- Tactical results. So, I have time to just think. What can I do with it? I have a burning problem on my hands; I talk through it with my Coach. I become clearer about the issues involved in the situation. I come up with important next steps; I drop a ton of my angst; I go ahead and take my action steps, and overall, my day to day results are better.
- Strategic Goals. Over time, my day-to-day stuff seems to be largely under control. Issues still crop up regularly, sometimes in crazy bursts, but there is a certain rhythm to it, so it feels manageable. I’m now beginning to have time to think strategically and look at the bigger picture.
Or, heck NO – are you kidding? – the fire creating industry has decided to make me its special friend, and there is no respite in sight. And, reluctantly, I begin to realize that with no cavalry charging to my aid, if I’m going to
get ahead of these fires, I’m going to have to be the one to decide which balls I’m willing to let drop, and the considered choices I’m willing to experiment with to change the status quo.
In either case, I begin to direct my time and energy into clarifying what’s important, what my priorities are, what my next action steps need to be. Worth its weight in gold right there.
- Transformation. Well, while all of the above is going on, you’ll notice that the Client’s focus has been first on the problems they want to solve, and next, the legacy they want to create. In both cases, the focus is out in the world – what I want to create out there. They issue from the worldview I hold. The true power of Coaching actually belongs in this domain. While my client is busy with the content of his or her challenges, I can, at key points during the coaching process, bring their attention to how they are approaching their challenges. What is their sense making process? What are their values? What’s important for them to create in the world? What do they do effortlessly and brilliantly, stuff they’ve taken for granted all their lives (“But everybody can do that!”) What reliably triggers them, sending them into a tailspin of lost time, energy, and composure – predictable side-tracks of not just lost time and opportunity, but a dark hole to recover from, both in terms of a return to their desired focus, and the repair work required to mend the relationships they have strained in the meantime. Even as they create all of this, who do they want to be? What do they want to create for the people whose lives they touch every day? All of this reflection interweaved seamlessly into today’s conversation, dealing with today’s challenge, taking, what, 10 to 20 percent of the time the client and I spend together?
As we explore this territory, the first step is that self-awareness begins to grow. Only after I begin to see myself as the process that engages the content of my challenges, do I have the ability to deliberately make changes to how I show up. As I engage those efforts, surprising patterns show up which appear completely irrational, and yet … there they are! I am startled: “What the heck just happened there?” It’s almost as if I’ve reverted to being a kid in the moment, and, for example, I just took my ball and went home. You get the picture.
Now, finally, I have the possibility of tying everything together: My purpose, my values, my desires, my skills, what I will and will not do. And begin to strengthen my key relationships and networks so that I can influence the external systems of which I am part – with lower risk and higher levels of collaboration – to create win-win-win outcomes, aligned with my values and Purpose.
Not bad for an investment of a couple of hours of your time every other week, right? And, any number of studies have estimated that the ROI on coaching is five to seven times the organization’s investment. And that doesn’t even count the intangibles of improved morale, stronger relationships, and the strengthening of the organization’s ability to innovate.
At Arden, we have a bench of excellent coaches, if you’ll allow me to brag a little – so do reach out if you’re intrigued, to explore how we can contribute to your success. And, if it’s me personally you would like to speak with, just indicate as much. Speak with Mandeep.
In any case, here’s wishing you much joy and success in your continuing journey as a Leader!