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It’s interesting to see that the top-earning athletes and entertainers use coaches to improve performance, while few businesspeople seem to. And yet, there is increasing evidence to show that it is just as important for leaders to work with coaches as it is for athletes and entertainers.

Bob Nardelli, who rose from a modest background to lead some of America’s largest organisations was a firm believer in the advantages of coaching – likely from his time as a sportsman at college.

All top athletes use coaches, as do most top entertainers, and yet, despite the loneliness most executives feel “at the top” and the lack of people with whom they can talk, very few utilise coaches.

Is this because they are concerned about being seen as inadequate in some way for using a coach, or do they simply believe they have it all worked out themselves?

In my case while in the ‘C-suite” (or even leading to it) I never used a coach because I, quite honestly, didn’t think I needed one – I was doing well and able to sort things out for myself. After all, I led a business from sales of $5 million per annum to $500 million per annum and record levels of profitability for my industry. In fact, many on my team spent time with me looking for help – informal coaching if you like – and I was happy to do this.

It has only really become apparent during the past few months, after starting on a coaching course to enhance my skills in this area, how much I might have benefitted from using a coach in my executive days. I’m sure that doing so would have reduced stress, made me even more effective and helped my team, too, as I could have passed on some additional skills.

A good executive coach helps you cut through the ‘clutter’ and focus on what really matters in achieving your goals – clarifying the issues of urgent and important. The coach will hold you accountable (something often missing from an executive’s day-to-day interactions) and to identify and leverage your existing strengths to optimise performance. Good coaches will help you understand yourself better and see those around you more clearly – cutting through any subjectivity you might have developed.

Just as an athlete’s coach will work with them to run faster, jump higher, tackle better, or whatever is needed for a particular athlete to excel in their sport, so an executive coach will work with the executive to ensure better personal, team and overall business performance. It really is not just good for the business, but a useful benefit that a business can provide to retain its top staff, too – something increasingly important in this time of The Great Resignation.

 

If you’d like to find out more, book a no-obligation 30-minute session with me here, and let’s talk about whether, and where, I might be able to help you.

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