As a number of our members ask us for guidance on how to choose a career coach, we’re sharing this article on just that. At key points in our careers, we can benefit greatly from the independent perspective of a trained professional. Someone who can ask probing questions about our ambitions and circumstances, who can empathise with and support us (perhaps acting as a sounding board), and who can challenge us to think bigger and reach higher.
Choosing a suitable professional guide can be daunting, and we may resort to relying on word-of-mouth referrals, or simply opt for the coach preferred by our employer, even if there is a nagging doubt about just how independent their advice will be. Irrespective of how you select your shortlist of potential coaches, it is important that there is a personal connection, as you will be likely to explore together areas which need a high degree of trust as you work to transform yourself and boost your career success. For this reason, many coaches focus initially on testing chemistry with potential proteges. By the nature of their chosen career, coaches are likely to be more in tune with their intuition and feelings, and care about getting to know their proteges, empathising with their career struggles. They provide a safe space to discuss challenges, and offer their attention and guidance through difficult personal reflection.
Moyra Mackie, a coach and organisational consultant, sets out that a “coach should be there to simply ask great questions, to listen, to summarise, to push and to support”, and warns against those who offer advice that tries to push you towards a specific answer by saying ‘if I were you’ or asking ‘why don’t you do this?’.
We’ve based this post on a LinkedIn article written by Moyra where she shares questions to ask a coach you’re considering. While some people primarily consider the cost of the coach (and whether they are committed to this cost even if over time they realise the coaching relationship isn’t working), others focus on the coaching process, including how it works. As Moyra presents, there are other far broader questions to think about or ask when narrowing your shortlist, ones that will improve your selection and make your transformation together more successful. Read more to explore these tips.
Following our previous post, which shared Rich Cooper’s advice for aspiring leaders, we now share a useful video for those moving from managing their own output to managing others i.e. achieving output through others. As Dr Axel Zein puts it: “The day you become a manager, your job changes totally. When you’re an employee, your performance is defined by your own work… The day you become a manager, you realise that your performance is defined by the work that others are doing: your team… it’s about what they’re doing.. [and] what they need”.
In his 16 minute talk, Axel uses the analogy of team sports, and draws parallels to business: “...The players on the field... are the ones working. There’s a team manager, there’s a clear goal to win the game, and there’s a clear strategy on how to win the game. It’s the same in business”.
You have to get the right team together, you have to create a high-performance culture, you have to make them more productive, and you have to create an environment where people just love to work and love to give their best… It is mostly about growing others.”
Read more to watch Axel’s TEDx talk (including how leadership is about serving others, making it a totally different job than being an individual contributor), and see the five topics from sports he connects to managing others in a business environment. We then share other ideas for developing your managerial skills and being seen as a leader within your business.