Achieve Your Potential
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Achieve Your Potential with a Coach

No sports team has won a championship without a coach. We’re in the season of NBA playoffs and the Stanley Cup finals. Notice all the cut-away images of the coaches? The players (clients) are at their work, but the coaches are pushing the players to their peak performance.

In the non-sporting world, the International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” In my book, The Promise of Potential, I highlight that coaches are your partners in power. This means that coaches harness and amplify your own power. Coaching is a partnership where clients define the goals and the coach guides them through the process of achievement. It's a power alliance by design.

There are many different types: executive, performance, career, business, entrepreneurial, skills and personal life coaching. The foundation of each coach-client partnership is in the value placed on the individual’s life experience and goals. It is a very integrated process. At its best, the client sets the agenda and the coach facilitates attainment.

Individual coaching differs from sports coaching a sports coach is the undisputed leader. The one being coached is often distant in knowledge and experience. Individual coaching, however, "fields" coaches that are more likely to have less specific talent, knowledge and experience in their client’s focus area—but the individual coach is an expert in getting coached individuals to their goals. No matter what the specific goals are, the client and the coach need to be working closely together.

Some ask, “Why do people hire coaches?” Especially when they see an individual with a supportive family, great friends, strong manager or talented mentor. A coach is different from this list of supporters. Coaches use specific techniques to help the client find the answers, resolve the issues and attain the goals. Coaches are trained in reflective listening and in using deep inquiry to gain personal insights. These skills lead to their success in helping their client move forward toward set goals. The coach has the questions. The client has the answers.

The coach is also trained to hold the client accountable. Not surprisingly, when individuals pay money for a coach, there is often an increased perceived value in their own goals. Individuals are more likely to do their homework to avoid throwing money away.

There is a symmetry to coaching—a sense of balance and appreciation for work and life. In reality, we pursue and achieve our goals in the midst of relationships, work environments, personal challenges and professional demands.

In my work with senior executives, we often draw upon personal situations to solve a career goal. Personal goals are likewise advanced when we draw upon their work situation.

To be clear, coaching is not therapy. Coaches may use assessments to help formulate ideas for their clients, but these are not psychological instruments. Coaching focuses on individual needs within the context of the entire game of life. In this way, personal coaching is actually more synonymous with its sports coach counterparts.

So if you want more for your life—more achievement and fulfillment—get a coach! They are your partners in power and can help you to achieve your potential.

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