Twice over the past month I was reminded of something so basic and yet so profound I though it important enough to share. Professional Coaches are not meant to be primarily your cheerleader. We are meant to be pushy, insistent, blunt, and supportive. Sometimes this also includes cheering you on, of course.
In the first instance of being reminded of this truth I was working with a client that was having a tough time getting people to listen to him in his leadership position for his firm. He listed all the reasons why this was still occurring and since this was the second time we had discussed this topic I asked him what he had done to initiate change since we spoke a month previous. After a long minute to think, he stated he had not done much of anything. Part of me wanted to say “That’s OK Richard (not his real name), let’s begin now” and let him off the hook. This would have been a relief to him and easy for me. The truth was he needed to be reminded that change in an organization happens on a granular level in us before it can ever show up in a culture. If he was not committed to those changes how then can anyone else be, including his coach? When I then asked him if this was a priority and if not then what was, he admitted it was still number one on the list and he had let other things get him off track. He thanked me for pushing back and forcing him to get back on track for his goals and not letting him off easily.
The second instance happened in a session with one of my coaches “not being a cheerleader” for me. For the record I work with between 3-5 coaches in different areas of my life at any given time. This was with my Executive Coach, Drayton.
I have been a little on the overwhelmed side lately in my life and business. I had mentioned this to Drayton and he simply said “So what does that mean?” I explained it to him and instead of sympathizing with me he and I spent the next 3/4 of an hour going over my calendar, my fee structure and putting fine points on where my time spent best served my ultimate business and life goals. He asked me to write and action plan and get it to him in a week. That was much more beneficial than if he had just said “Well you will be fine, hang in there and do your best.” These type messages come from your Mom, or close friends and family in a casual discussion about life happenings. Coaching is never meant to be casual. It is meant to consistently push us forward to the lives and business goals we desire, period.
Now, I acknowledge, there are many ways of getting there and each circumstance presents a different situation. That variety is one of the many things I enjoy about coaching! Sometimes my coaches cheer for me but by no means are they leading the cheers trying to get me to come along side. It is my job to give my coaches something to cheer about. Success can then be measured in the progress toward what I really say I want in my life and business to actually look like, not just the rah-rah.
Scott Sadler is an Executive Coach working with medium to large companies across the country in leadership development with a special focus on the Millennial generation in business. His guidebook “Developing Successful Millennial Leaders” is now available.