The mindset for coaching

Reading time: 3 minutes

We help people improve what they do. That’s our business. We love it and are passionate about helping people – whatever their performance arena – get better, do what they’re truly capable of, and be ready to execute the performance they want and need to deliver, whatever the conditions and circumstances.

And much of this we do through coaching. We’re coaches, working with people to help them be better.

One of the funny (funny curious not funny haha) things we encounter is the view of coaching in the business world. People are – typically, and I’m generalising here –  a bit sceptical or wary of a coach or coaching, not sure it’d be of any use, or downright resistant to it. There’s a weird attitude towards coaching going on. Coaching can also be seen as one person doing something to someone else.

From a background in high performance sport, I find it pretty bizarre and very perplexing. I haven’t worked with many elite performers in that world who don’t have a coach – or indeed a team of coaches covering different aspects of their performance. I haven’t worked with ANY who think they don’t need a coach. The same is true in other performance environments.

I started thinking about what it says or means if you don’t think you need a coach or take the opportunity to work with one.  It might mean one or more of the following:

  • I’m not that interested in how I perform at work. I come in, do my job, get through the day, and go home. I don’t really care about how well I do things
  • I’m not particularly interested in getting better. I’m as good as I can be, there’s nothing I can improve on here. I’m the finished product
  • I’ve done lots of self-development, am pretty self aware and at this stage in my career, I’m not sure I’m interested in developing any more.
  • I’ve had negative experiences of coaching where someone has been trying to get me to do something that wouldn’t have helped me
  • I’m doing a good job and fulfilling what’s expected of me, and to be honest aren’t that motivated in investing more time and energy to improve what I’m doing. It’s just not that important to me. Other things in life are more important.
  • I’m really not sure how a coach can help me. While I’m interested in doing a better job and improving, I don’t know how a coach can help me do that.
  • I don’t think the coach on offer has the ability to help me be better. I want to improve and would love to work with a coach, but not sure this one can help me.

Now, some of these are perfectly plausible and valid reasons, so if you read this list and think, “yep, that’s me”, it’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. It’s just a thing.

But if you’re in a performance environment and there’s an expectation that you’ll be continually working on your performance, you might want to check in on your attitude OR whether that environment is right for you. If you’re a leader, we’d suggest you check in your attitude too. A leader who isn’t interested in improving what they do, getting better at leading people, or driving performance by role modelling a desire to improve isn’t much of a leader in our book.

If you fit into the second last category – the one where you do want to improve but aren’t sure how a coach can help – it’s pretty easy to unconfuse yourself here. And if you fit into the last category, be a bit more proactive and either give the coach a chance or find a better one for you.

There aren’t many top performers in the world of sport or other performance arenas that don’t have a coach (or indeed team of coaches). That’s interesting stuff – people who are already world class at what they do wouldn’t dream of not having a coach. So if you don’t think you want or need one, or aren’t taking the opportunity to have a coach, what does that say about you?