Four reasons why a good coach can put you on track for success
I'm in Florida this week - providing presentation coaching with a new chief executive client and shooting a series of communications training videos aimed specifically at IT professionals.
These two endeavours are connected, as my new client happens to be CEO of the training organisation ITProTV. Tim Broom and his team are dedicated to bringing "personality to information" through programming that's more engaging chat-show style than a dry, vocational lecture on camera. The success of this model is proven by their growth. They're on a trajectory to become a $35m company in just a few short years since launch.
When you're growing a business, it takes a quality product or service, a great team and a mighty dose of persistence and energy. Running out of those last two ingredients may be enough for an otherwise strong concept to sputter and collapse.
And, in my experience, the refuelling station for those is found through the support of a coach. Tim exemplified this point as he shared with me that in addition to the communications coaching I'm providing he and his leadership team also work with a variety of executive and business coaches.
They find such coaching relationships beneficial and so, too, do Sinead Quealy and Colette Bannon. I recently had the delightful privilege of meeting them at a Waterford National Women's Enterprise Day event at which I gave the keynote address. Before I spoke, Sinead and three other entrepreneurs took part in a panel.
I was fascinated by each of the panellists' stories, particularly when Sinead, as managing director and co-founder of Virtual Vet, a data collection service for agri-food and animal health industries, spoke glowingly about how she "couldn't do it without Colette".
I looked over at the woman Sinead was pointing to from the stage and saw another woman beaming from her seat at the front table. There was a clear connection between these two people. Why couldn't Sinead 'do it without Colette'? I had to know. I asked them to explain. In their story, I think you'll find some practical reasons why you too, depending on where you are in your career or your business, may decide to hire a coach.
1 A coach is trustworthy
Sinead met Colette during college days in UCC Cork, when Sinead roomed with Colette's sister. Later, after moving to Waterford in 2003, Sinead became roomies with Colette in Dungarvan and "we've been friends and cheerleaders ever since". "In those 15 years, we've each gotten married, had daughters, built homes and started our own businesses."
Interestingly, the business that Colette started was business coaching. When Sinead and her husband Patrick began planning to launch Virtual Vet, she turned to her friend in a professional capacity.
"Because she knows me so well, there is no need for preamble. I trust her questions and she knows when to drill deeper on my answers."
2 A coach provides neutral, outside perspective
When you're tasked with envisioning the future growth of your career or your own company, it is nearly impossible to be objective. Being surrounded and absorbed by the details, the issues, the responsibilities and your own personal emotions often act as obstacles.
"Sinead is brimming with all the qualities needed for entrepreneurial success, but sometimes, she needs a gentle jolt in perspective and 'ta-dah' she is refocused and once again making progress on her mission", Colette explains as she describes her friend and client.
"These pressures can take from the central goal of meeting the need that the company was set up to do. Strengths-based, solutions-focused coaching works very well."
3 A coach helps you organise your thoughts and ideas
Sinead says in the very early days, when she was drained and, "afraid I was failing before I even really began, a coaching session with Colette allowed me to clarify and organise my thoughts to stop panicking and to extend the completely ridiculous time limits I had placed on myself".
More recently, before making an important review call with a client, Sinead reached out to Colette for help sorting out wording and communications before the meeting. "Within 45 minutes I had the perfect phrases to build further business. The process of talking out loud to someone is vital. How I say things is as important as what I am saying because if I don't say it right, it won't make proper impact."
4 A coach helps you keep going
"If you run a company and you don't have an executive coach, get one" advises Sinead. "I can so clearly see the value of coaching to my performance as a company owner. It can be a lonely place, and while I have great family support, an excellent board of directors and a hard-working and focused team, sometimes I need to be able to talk through the pressures and fears and doubts with someone that is not connected to the day-to-day running of the business."
While you're focusing on your business and its performance, it's beneficial to hire someone else to focus on you and your performance. Why? Because, as Sinead so aptly put it: "If I can't function right, the company can't function right."
Hiring the right coaches can help you find clarity on your communications and yourself.
- Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon. Write to Gina care of SundayBusiness@independent.ie
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