I attended an event last month in Brookline, Massachusetts, where Jane Fonda was being honored for her work in film. She was kind enough to stay for a Q&A session after the screening of her new film, Youth.
Jane told the audience that she recently hired an acting coach, as she believes one should never stop learning. That got me thinking. Here’s this woman, who is 78 years old and the best in her class, and she’s still looking to improve. How about you? Have you stopped growing professionally, or have you simply given up?
Why now is the time to work with a coach
Here are some of the most vital times to consider working with a coach:
- You know you can be better at what you do. You just don’t know how to make that happen.
- You are preparing yourself for a promotion.
- You’ve just been promoted and you want to be sure your first ninety-days aren’t your last ninety-days.
- You need to adjust quickly to a new circumstance.
- Your work life has taken over your entire life.
- You have employees you find challenging to manage.
- You find yourself working for a difficult boss.
- You have a performance weakness that, left unattended, could
spread and negatively impact other areas of your performance.
When coaching works best and when it doesn’t
In my business, there are many times when I’m simply assigned to someone and told to go coach. I always turn down these requests, as they are not in my client’s best interest. Those who are forced to work on behavior changes never do.
I have the most success when the person I am working with is invested in the relationship. He or she may want to smooth out a few edges, or may want to ensure their recent promotion isn’t their last promotion. What they all have in common is their desire to keep learning—much like Jane.
Here’s what coaching isn’t
Coaching isn’t something you do to someone. You don’t coach them and then miraculously they transition into the person you want them to be. Those who are being coached need time to let things marinate. They need to incorporate the behavior changes into their daily routines and throw old baggage off the train. They must rinse and repeat until new behaviors become ingrained.
Coaching isn’t meant to save someone who should have been released a long time ago. If you are bringing in a coach at this point in the game, then you already know what you need to do. Hire this person for yourself.
“I have had the opportunity to work with Roberta Matuson on ‘fast track’ coaching. Her candid, succinct, and concise approach provided positive reinforcement toward my professional goals.”
VP of Food Acquisition and Supply Chain
The Greater Boston Food Bank