Here’s an important asset to help you improve your skills and performance
Almost every top sports team or sports star has at least one of them. As do many CEOs, managers and business owners. What do they have? A coach.
Why a coach? It’s simple. Coaches help individuals and teams to accelerate performance and get better results. And, the best coaches, sometimes referred to as super coaches, use their skills to transform their players into superstars and champions.
In the business world coaches are known mainly as business, executive or high performance coaches, while the term “business mentor” is also used. Nonetheless, provided he or she has the right expertise and skill set, a good coach can help you to:
- Develop effective strategies and plans
- Solve critical performance issues and problems
- Build stronger relationships of trust
- Overcome obstacles and setbacks
- Develop your skill base and talents
- Achieve an important personal goal
- Improve sales and marketing processes
Where do you find a good business and executive coach? That’s a challenge because the fact is, excellent coaches are few and far between. Put another way, there are a lot of unqualified, poorly skilled and inexperienced people calling themselves coaches.
Some people think that buying a coaching franchise, attending seminars or being a member of a coaching association automatically makes them a good coach. Wrong!
And, there are so many varying definitions as to what a coach actually is and does, it can become quite confusing.
So what is coaching? Quite simply, coaching is a process of improving skills and performance. It involves a coach, which is the person doing the coaching…as well as the coachee/s, who are the individuals being coached.
How to find a good coach? If you’re looking to hire a business or executive coach to help you improve business and personal performance, I recommend you do the following:
1. Look to the field of sports coaching for some guidelines. In other words, consider the attributes of the top sports coaches and apply these as criteria.
2. Identify a coach who uses robust performance improvement models and tools that are proven to get results.
3. Be clear about the skills and performance areas you want to improve in.
4. Hire a coach who “walks the talk” and “practices what he/she preaches” in the skill areas you want to improve in. Put simply, the coach needs to have significant experience and a strong track record.
Attributes of top coaches
There are coaches and then there are super coaches. And the super coaches out-coach their less successful counterparts by significant margins.
Now I don’t make this observation lightly. You see, for well over twenty years I’ve studied and applied the principles and practices of high performance coaching and development. Indeed, in 1981 I was one of the first group of students to complete the Certificate in Recreational Leadership course, which pioneered many of the leadership development and coaching programs offered by tertiary institutions today.
Furthermore, in my coaching career I’ve constantly developed my skills as a championship-winning sports/fitness coach, life skills mentor and youth leader. And I’ve also applied these same skills as a professional coach, well before the business and executive coaching industries became popular. I’ve worked with high-performance athletes, CEOs and some of the country’s most respected business owners.
As part of my interest in coaching I’ve studied the careers of some of the world’s greatest sports coaches including Graham Henry (Rugby), Phil Jackson (Basketball), Wayne Bennett (Rugby League), Hank Haney (Tiger Woods’ former golf coach) and Sir Alex Ferguson (Football). Now while these coaches differ in many ways, they have some common coaching attributes.
Based on my research I’ve identified the top attributes of super coaches, and these form my Super Coach attributes. By way of explanation, the super coach attributes are:
Highly skilled strategists. Top sports coaches do their homework. They study the opposition. They survey competitive conditions. They analyze with a vengeance. As an example, Graham Henry, one of the world’s top rugby coaches, is renowned for watching rugby videos for hours on end…trying to glean useful bits and pieces of information from his analysis. Actually, when it comes to doing their homework, all top sports coaches can often be obsessively fastidious….gleaning insights, working out strategies and solving problems.
From their analysis top coaches then develop the game plans (strategies, tactics and solutions) that give their teams a winning edge. Key point. Find a coach who is an outstanding strategist.
Technical expertise. Top sports coaches have tons of knowledge and expertise residing in their brains, built upon their accumulated experience and learning. They intimately understand the sports they coach and most have played their sports to a high level. Key point. Like top sports coaches, the best business and executive coaches are very knowledgeable – both experientially and theoretically – and have demonstrable track records in applying that knowledge. In other words, they walk the talk. So find a coach with high levels of technical expertise and a track record to boot.
Strong Soft/Life skills. No point having tons of technical ability, but lacking the all-important soft/life skills. According to Wikipedia, “Soft skills is a sociological term relating to a person’s ‘EQ’ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.” (source: Wikipedia). Soft skills also include an ability to influence and teach others effectively.
Super Coaches know how to bring out the best in individuals and teams, have an excellent understanding of human behavior and psychology, and are great listeners and sounding boards. So in a nutshell, soft skills are those skills that refer to our ability to manage ourselves and to influence and get on well with others. Key point. Find a coach with strong soft skills.
Excellent “Game Sense” trainer and teacher. Super coaches understand and apply the principle of “Game Sense” to their coaching. Game sense is a sports coaching principle and methodology whereby coaching and training closely replicate actual game conditions. Key point. Find a coach who understands and knows how to apply the principle of “Game Sense” to learning and skill development.
Excellent at building a high-performance environment and team culture. Top sports coaches are excellent at creating an environment and culture where high-performance is valued and sought after. And they understand the role that structure and processes play in building this culture. Key point. Find a coach who knows how to build a high-performance culture.
In order to help a client achieve better results, my view is that business and executive coaches should have the skills and attributes outlined above.
Robust high performance tools and models
In addition to identifying a coach with the attributes outlined above, you need to learn about the tools and models that coach uses in his or her work. Think of these as the coaching equivalent to a plumber’s or architect’s toolkit. It includes the coach’s models, frameworks and approach to improving a client’s situation.
The actual coaching approach we use follows the Blended Performance Coaching model, illustrated here:
The Blended Performance Coaching model integrates elements of high-level sports coaching with apprenticeships and traditional learning. Traditional class-based learning makes up only a small component of the coaching, with most of the coaching having a high practical component.
As shown the model highlights the two key people in a coaching initiative or session – the coach and the coachee. The ultimate objective of a coaching program is to get the learner up to a high skill level. And to do that the coach uses a variety of techniques including active coaching, modelling and game sense training.
Introducing Strategic Coaching
Inherent in this approach is the view that business and executive coaching consists of a number of approaches to help a client improve performance. Therefore coaching can include such interventions as consulting, mentoring and training. Coaching is offered in two streams:
- Business performance
- Personal performance
Here is a brief overview of both streams.
Business coaching focuses on helping you apply the Strategic Growth Blueprint:
You are coached to apply the blueprint to your business, with a focus on improving each of the 12 steps outlined above.
Executive and high performance coaching
Executive coaching focuses on helping you and team members improve performance in the Strategic High Performance skills outlined below.
These are the most important skills that help us to live successful and productive work and personal lives.
The very best in coaching
The late Paul J.Meyer, one of the world’s top personal development authors and speakers once stated that “The best investment you can make is an investment in YOU!” He’s right on the money.
With this coaching service you will learn critical skills designed to help you improve business and personal performance. You will also be taught how to better balance work, family and self, so that your overall performance is much more balanced.
In sports, good coaching can do much to improve an athlete’s skill levels. The same principle applies to business and executive coaching. Simply, good business and executive coaching will improve your business skills and those of your team members.
For more information on how to get the best out of a coaching relationship call 09 534 9417. Also, ask for a free copy of Why Coaching Sucks, a special report on the business and executive coaching industry.