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Bridle Research and Development Limited

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16 OCTOBER 2009
Are you worth coaching?

by Paul Bridle: Leadership Methodologist, International Researcher, Author, Inspirational Professional Speaker, Consultant and Facilitator.

I think it worth starting by defining what is coaching? People talk about mentoring and coaching in an interchangeable manner but in reality they are different. First of all, it may be easier to understand it if we saw the two as opposite ends of a line than two separate entities.

Mentoring is about sharing knowledge that the mentor has with the person being mentored. The dictionary describes it as “a wise and trusted counsellor or teacher” and goes on to use words like “sponsor, supporter, advisor”. In other words, it is someone with knowledge that the person being mentored does not have.

At the other end of the line we have coaching. Coaching is used a lot in sports where the coach prepares the team to be able to play their sport or be the athlete they want to be. Again the dictionary describes it as “a private tutor that prepares someone….” Here we see the emphasis on preparing someone rather than teaching them.

Imagine starting in a new company where you don’t know all the rules, procedures, policies or protocols. You don’t know everyone and you are still learning your job in this company. A mentor is able to answer questions and give factual knowledge.

Now consider a person that has been in the company for a number of years, knows everybody, knows all the rules and the way things are done around the place - they know what is important and what isn’t. In this situation a mentor is not really useful to that person. In fact this person may be a good mentor to new people. However, a coach could be very useful to this person.

You see, one of the main skills of a coach is their ability to ask good questions that make you think differently. In this example, the coach may be challenging the person as to why he still does things the way he always has? The coach will ask the questions that force the person to consider if there is a better way of doing things. So the coach does not give answers but rather asks the questions that help the person discover what is possible.

My question, Are you worth coaching? is now very relevant. Most people see value in being mentored. After all, a mentor will answer direct questions and give us information we need. However, being coached is different. We are allowing someone to challenge us and ask us questions that may make us feel uncomfortable. Many people are not happy about being challenged, much less challenged in areas where we have significant experience.

Yet that is often when we need it the most. Especially these days when the whole world is changing constantly and business is having to re-invent itself all the time. Coaching requires a level of confidence in yourself and willingness to change. All athletes have a coach and will tell you that it is critical to their success. Most successful people in life have coaches and that includes CEO’s of major companies.

So this month I am asking you to be honest with yourself. My questions are in two stages:

Firstly, do you even deserve a coach? If you are not the person that is open to be challenged and raise your game or willing to embrace change, then you don’t deserve a coach. It will be a waste of your time and money. All you will do is fight back and resist the challenges. In fact, it will probably make you entrench yourself deeper in your ideas and soon you will start to blame the coach.

Secondly, if you are someone that does not mind being challenged, are you prepared to take the step and actively find the right person to coach you. The right person is important and it takes work to find the right person and then work with the coach to ensure they can be the best they can be for you. You don’t want to find someone that is too shy or does not have the ability to challenge you. If you are worthy of being coached, you will take the time to find the right person for this time of your career or life.

I hope these questions have given you something to think about and that you are a person that is willing and capable to be coached.

Bridle Research and Development Limited
Paul Bridle is an Information Contextualizer and Leadership Methodologist. For over two decades he has researched effective organisations and the people that lead them. Visit our InfoCentre or website.

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