I’m an executive coach to a number of leaders who are making significant strides and rapidly advancing their careers forward, and I can honestly tell you that coaching isn’t for everyone. Here’s why.
You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped. People think I’m crazy when I turn down coaching assignments that appear to be easy money in the bank. I do this because it’s clear to me that the potential client really has no interest in being helped. Here’s what the client will say during our initial meeting, “My boss tells me that I have to do this or I’ll lose my job.” This is said with the same amount of enthusiasm that a child has when you tell him he can’t play with his friends because he has to go to piano lessons. My response? “We’re done here.”
To be effective, coaching has to be a pull and not a push. By that I mean, the employee you are coaching needs to be the person who is asking for the help. It’s not something that can be forced upon someone.
Coaching certificates are just that. Have you ever wondered who certifies the certifiers? I do. I see former physical therapists or athletes become business coaches, having attended a “coaching university.” I ask you, would you seriously consider jumping out of a plane with someone who went to parachute jumping university, yet has never personally jumped out of a plane? I wouldn’t if my life depended on it. Come to think of it, it actually would!
At a young age, I was suddenly in charge. I know what it’s like to be tossed into management with little more than a prayer. I’ve also personally been in the C-suite for a number of years, and understand the politically-charged arena that has ended many a career. Can your current coach say the same? If not, then maybe it’s time to engage someone who has actually been where you want to go.
Coaching shouldn’t last forever. I’ve heard of situations where coaching relationships last longer than some marriages. That’s not coaching. That’s dependency.
My work with coaching clients ranges from six months to one year. Of course each situation is different. However, if we aren’t seeing progress, additional years certainly aren’t going to make one iota of difference. In those situations, it’s best to cut the cord!
Your coach is not your friend. I’ve been passed over for coaching assignments because someone thinks I’m too direct for the person being coached. This is said to me, right after I’m told that the person beats around the bush and needs to stop this behavior. I chuckle about this, knowing I’m exactly what this person needs.
I’m not here to be friends with my clients. I’m here to help them grow. There will be times when they may feel a bit uncomfortable. That’s okay, for without discomfort, there is no growth.
"Roberta has been a tremendous mentor and coach to me over the past year. She has partnered with me on multiple professional development fronts, as well as helping me through some very challenging situations. I found Roberta to be wise counsel!"
– Allison DiSiena, VP of Recruiting, Marketing, Interactive and Creative Services Division, 24 Seven Inc.