You arrive for your first personal training lesson and the very fit, sculpted trainer takes one look at you and says “you aren’t in very good shape”, maybe I should do the workout for you? You look at her and think “sweet…I’ll just sit back, drink my latte and watch” but then it dawns on you, that would defeat the whole purpose of hiring a personal trainer. I know this example is ludicrous, but then again, so is hiring a business coach if you have no intention of putting forth effort and doing any work.
I read several articles on LinkedIn last week that were on “coaching the uncoachable”. Here’s my view on that one. You don’t need advice on HOW to, just say NO. You can’t coach someone against their will and expect to be successful. Period.
As leaders, we are hard wired to solve problems. In the corporate world where I came from, employees would come into my office all the time bringing their problems and wanting me to fix them. I was thrilled that they trusted me enough to ask and honestly, solving problems and helping others definitely gives you a sense of satisfaction. At first, anyway. Then as days and weeks go by, you find yourself caring and feeding for more and more monkeys and feeling over-burdened. The answer for them to take their monkey back is — coaching. However, it will only work, if the employee buys-in. People will learn far more and be committed if they come up with the answers. They have to “own it”. I’ve found that business leaders and owners almost always have the answers within them; its my job to ask the right questions to bring them to the surface.
A client that I have been working with for the past few months just recently gave me some feedback. She wrote, “the ideas and accountability that [Sandy] provides have been a significant blessing to my business.” One of the biggest reasons she wanted me to be her coach, was so that I could hold her accountable to reach her goals NOT do the work for her. Every week since our relationship began, she has been prepared for our sessions, done her homework in advance and followed up on her action items. That is my ideal client, not a business owner who wants me to do all the work for them or an employee whose boss insisted that they needed coaching because they were having “performance problems”. Coaching sometimes gets a bad wrap for that reason, when in fact, the high performers benefit the most because they are committed and take action to grow and improve themselves and their business.
Ralph Nader said, the job of a leader is to create more leaders. We can’t do that by doing the work FOR them. However, we can teach them how to do it for themselves, thus creating a more sustainable future for business.