An Olympic Athlete Needs a Coach. So Do You.

In the sports world, the better you are at your sport, the better your coach has to be too. Those who work with beginners don’t expect to coach at world competitions. Athletes find new coaches with higher qualifications and more relevant experience as they progress.

So, are you better at your job that that gold medallist is at their sport? Probably not, right?

I simply do not understand why so many leaders with very challenging roles think that having a coach, or even admitting they want a coach, is a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength! It’s a way of getting from good to great faster. It’s an effective way of helping your organization thrive.

In much of the corporate world, getting a leadership coach is a strong indication that your bosses think you have potential for senior leadership. No one can be excellent at everything, so everyone needs to improve how they deal with gaps. 

Coaches help clients learn to hire to complement not duplicate their skills within the management team and get better at delegating responsibility not just tasks. They help them learn how to better present themselves, to get perceived as a leader, or keep their focus on what really matters even while putting out daily fires. Maybe it’s thinking through an evolving situation and making the best possible decisions. Even better, coaches do this with full confidentiality, even if the organization is paying.

In the not-for-profit sector, it’s much less common to support executive coaching. Money is often scarceā€”so let’s just let everyone muddle through without help. But that means resources may be used inefficiently and results are poorer. Does that seem wise?

Especially for executives taking on new or significantly expanded roles, the support of a coach can make the difference between success and departure. Between good health and burn-out. Between preparing their organization for the future or running into the ground.

There are many kinds of coaching out there. Do you want to focus on success in your current role, your career, your whole life? Figure out what you want, and what your organization would see as a benefit. Go to your senior manager, or the board if you are the CEO or Executive Director, to make your case for investment in a coach. 

You will need to commit time to this – maybe 90 minutes every two weeks? – and have others understand that you are unavailable during those sessions. They are usually virtual. The busiest people seem to find the most value in setting the time aside!

Your investment in coaching may put your organization or department on top of the podium in terms of mission impact and effectiveness.

Disclaimer: I coach a few new or Interim NFP leaders a year. That’s a tiny niche; most readers of this blog will want a different kind of coach.

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