Coaching is a powerful technique for helping someone unlock the potential inside of themselves. It can be very empowering, motivating and inspiring for the person being coached. It can also be rewarding for a leader. Whether you are the person coaching them, or an external or you’re doing pincer coaching. Seeing an employee grow in confidence and be able to handle challenges in work in a proactive way is one benefit. The other benefit is that it often frees up your time to focus on bigger things, so you’re both making a larger contribution.
Aside from the confusion over coaching versus mentoring here are the most common myths I’ve heard in my time which means that you’ll get none of the above benefits.
Myth 1 – Coaching is only for those with performance issues. It’s a last ditch attempt to sort them out.
Having this mindset when you’re coaching is guaranteeing disaster. Who wants to open up and share with someone who views them this way? And if the leader says ‘hey you need some coaching, I’ve got you one’, but this is the message behind the reason for having one, it’s not a great start to the sessions either.
I’ve been coaching now for 20 years, and some people did arrive having been given this message, either spelt out or inferred. And yet every single person I’ve coached has already experienced success. Those that start out having got this unhelpful message, well we have a few hurdles to get over. Usually, it is about reconnecting them to the success they have experienced and then moving forward.
In other cases, the individual actively seeks out a coach. They are also successful, and they want even more from their work, career, business, leadership – they’re just not totally sure how to get it. What’s more, they’re not deluding themselves into thinking they have to figure this out all by themselves.
I’ve also met people who no longer enjoyed their job, who perhaps had become disillusioned and found the support and structure of coaching got them back on track quickly, and they tasted success once again.
By the way, this myth’s sister rides under the banner of “you’re broken, and I can fix you.” Yikes, run…..
Myth 2 – You can coach anyone, whether they like it or not.
Yes, you can coach anyone and first they have to want to change, to go for their goal. If they don’t have a well-defined goal, by all means, help them to define one. That said if someone is happy with their life, no matter what your view is as to what’s possible, respect them. When you remove choice, you disempower.
That said, if you’re their leader and you know that if nothing changes, they won’t be able to do their role in the future, then you do have to explain the consequences and impact further down the line of their choice not to change.
Oh, and let’s not forget, even if they have a goal, they also have to trust you enough to open up and be honest.
Myth 3 – Anyone can coach, it’s just asking a few questions.
Coaching is about asking questions. The skill here is in asking the right question, the one that’s going to help your coachee unlock the secret within themselves. It’s about switching off all mind reading abilities; and knowing which wave to ride. It’s also about knowing the depth of question to ask, e.g. is this a behaviour question, a skill question, an identity question etc. Lastly there is the very important active listening and a few other skills too.
Myth 4 – Coaching is expensive.
Compared to what? Imagine having the career and life you want, doing the things you love, being who you know you truly can be? And all this more easily and effortlessly than before. How many people do you know deal with life through alcohol, drugs and foodstuff? If you don’t achieve your goal, what will it continue to cost you emotionally, physically as well as financially?
Myth 5 – Coaching takes a long time.
I’ve heard leaders say it’s so much easier just to tell them what to do, that they’re so busy currently they don’t have the time to run a coaching session or even have a coaching conversation. And if they keep this thought approach up, then nothing will ever change.
Coaching takes as long as it takes. Loosely speaking it depends on the size of the gap between where they are right now and where they want to be. However, when you coach you don’t have to coach them to the end. Sometimes the value you add is at the beginning, or the earlier phase of their outcome, helping them build momentum. It might be a goal that could take a year to achieve. However, you might only be required for the first 4-6 months. In which case it takes very little time.
I have coaching clients who have a knotty problem. They tell me they go to pick up the phone to run something past me and as they’re about to dial, the question I’ll ask them pops into their head and voila… the knot begins to unravel, and no call was made. In this case, I have an ongoing coaching relationship with them. The side benefit of the coaching is you do learn how to think differently and so only need your coach for meatier, more complex stuff.
I also have clients who see me for ½ a day, and that’s enough to get the traction and momentum they need.
Coaching is powerful when used right and without subscribing to these myths. Where could it take you?
About blue pea POD
At blue pea POD, we are in the business of enabling leaders and organisations understand who they are, their identity and purpose, creating the profitable future they desire now.
Blue Pea POD works internationally with a client base that includes the FMCG, Retail, and Pharmaceuticals sectors. You can subscribe to our podcast here and then if you would like to find out more about how we can help you get in contact here. Or call +44(0) 845 123 1280