Having worked as a leadership coach and facilitator for many years now, I am repeatedly asked the question “why use a coach?”. While the political answer is “it depends on the circumstances,” it is critical to remember that people only ever coaches when they want to change something or address a specific challenge(s).
These challenges usually present across a wide spectrum of issues. However, the common theme across these issues, is the need to change something.
Accordingly, the following five key questions require consideration before deciding whether to use a coach to help you with a particular challenge(s).
1. How valuable is this person’s performance to the organisation?
The more valuable they are to the organization, the more imperative it is the organisation helps them address those specific challenges identified. Failure to promptly address these challenges can have costly impacts both on the person concerned and organization and its people.
2. What is the specific challenge(s) the person is facing right now?
Is it a people problem, a relationship problem, a communications issue, or a change management issue which is presenting the challenge? The longer you procrastinate on addressing any challenge, the more embedded it becomes and the harder it is to change.
3. How willing will the person be to work with a leadership coach?
People need to be open to change. They need to accept the role of a coach as a catalyst and they need to embrace the agreed plan of action that they, as a partnership, will develop with their coach.
4. What alternatives to coaching are available?
Rather than coaching, there are other appropriate interventions including high-level training, facilitation, mentoring, reading, job-rotation, or job secondments.
5. Are key people in the organisation willing to support this person to grow and change?
Like any effective intervention, coaching requires top level support both in terms of time and money. However, the benefits of effective coaching are far greater than the initial investment in terms of long-term return.
In summary, coaching as an intervention, is about facilitating change, and acting as the accountability partner in a one-to-one relationship with the coachee. The truth is, almost everyone, at some stage in their careers, could do with the confidential ear of a trusted partner to help them plan a strategy to address some particular challenge(s).
If you are facing some challenges that are holding you back, you should consider investing in yourself by working with a qualified coach to help you share the journey and expedite that change.