There’s a topic on the mind of many a marketer these days, and yet no one seems to talk about: let’s talk about coaching.
Now look, I know what you’re thinking: “oh great, another expert telling me what to do in my job, when all I really want to do is be left alone…”
Well, as the world renowned scientist Dr Hubert Farnsworth says, “good news everyone!” because that’s not what we are here for today. Instead, we’re going to talk about coaching, and the importance of it. Not the importance of how to find a coach, because these days, everyone is a coach.
Jump online with your search engine of choice, type in “how to coach”, and a good 38 million results later, you’ll find advice from all manner of individuals that say they know how to coach, but are a little less lifelike and probably more sporting. In fact, the more I talk to people, to staff, to peers and managers, the more I find that no one is really clear as to why.
Why is it so difficult to find a coach? Why is it so hard to find someone who can help you to improve, to solidify your presence and skills, and make you more marketable in the long term?
From a business perspective, it’s what your managers want to hear, and your clients, too. Staff will also appreciate the help, as sometimes they just may be struggling or in a rut. That’s where coaching can help. That’s why coaching can help.
But that’s not why I coach.
In a previous role, a top performer had a coaching session booked in with me. Before our session, they asked the most important question: what will you teach?
“I’m the top performer on this campaign, so how am I going to learn anything with you?” they said, a question that might seem rude, but not to me. It’s a valid question, and this individual was used to people going through the motions with her, as she had already earned her position as a top performer. She had rarely been given anything of value, however, making her a little dubious of what she could learn.
And so we had our session, and she did learn something. But it wasn’t about products or techniques; rather, she learned things about herself. Our session was not about what she was doing that happened to be right or wrong, nor was it what she could be doing that was better. Instead, we focused on self assessment. It was about reinforcing positives in her approach, and having her ask the questions about herself to make sure she maintained drive and focus.
Our session shifted the dynamics of the coach-coachee relationship, and put her in the driver’s seat. She felt in control of her outcomes, her goals, and ultimately her result. And over the course of several more sessions, she became more engaged, and became an advocate for coaching, encouraging others and helping to lift performance across the team. Coaching made her even more of an asset to the business, and maintained her top seller status to the day I moved on, free to coach others in other workplaces. Since then, she has cultivated her positive outlook, maintained results, and has also started learning how to coach others as well.
For me, coaching is something I love, not because it’s a requirement of my role, but because I can help people to grow. I coach to find out what makes people tick, because I genuinely love watching people push themselves to achieve the definition of “more” I know they’re capable of.
Coaching isn’t so different from gardening. Rarely can you just plant a seed in the ground and watch it grow. Instead, the soil needs to be properly prepared with the right nutrients for the plant you wish to grow. Once planted, the seed needs to be nurtured, and with time. you can watch as it grows into something unique and beautiful.
Coaching is much like gardening, and no two plants or workers are the same. There will be similarities, but ultimately, they are different. You may even end up using the same techniques to nurture and inspire, but the ability to adapt and change is essential to ensure that each employee has the same opportunities to grow.
Too many coaches advertise “the perfect method” developed that “gets the results every time”, but that’s not realistic, and is without flexibility. In these situations, employees are forced to fit a mould of who they aren’t, and change in an unnatural rush, often pushed from business as they don’t fit.
You should coach because you love it, not because you have to do it, and you should be coached by someone who wants to see you grow, and who knows the opportunities you will make for yourself once that coaching is complete.
You don’t create a beautiful garden, full of incredible, unique plants, because you have to. You do it because you love doing it, because you love the journey, you love the element of chaos that naturally occurs in the process, because you love guiding the plants to become something beautifully individual.
Having a coach that is passionate about the journey will give you and your business more, and a coach with passion for what they do will bring you more gains overall, both personally and professionally, delivering the outcomes that you know your employees and business can achieve.
Engage your coaches, instil a passion for what they do no matter their overall role, and watch your business thrive professionally and culturally.