It seems that if you have reached the top of your game, you would be done with coaching, no? I interviewed a few dozen men and women at the top of their game and asked them: “Why do you hire your coach year after year when you are at the height of your career; you are wildly successful, why?”
The responses fell into approximately 7 categories:
1. Continued and Ongoing Professional and Personal Growth: Joe Masciocco of Security Integrations said is well: ‘We must continue to grow’ and this is a powerful and time efficient way to do it. Another anonymous leader said the following (I love her dry humor!): ‘no matter where I am in my career or life, I still need advice and coaching. When I ever get to the point that I don’t need any, that is when I will die. Life is a journey; without growth it is nothing.’
2. To Stay on Top We Have to Take Care of Ourselves Well: Once we get to the top of our game, staying there is the goal. As Stephen Covey, one of my long time heroes and mentors, and also a co-author with me in the RoadMap to Success book, talks about the need to consistently ‘Sharpen the Saw.’ He means, “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”
3. To Keep me On Track: Many of the entrepreneurs talked about getting off track and getting back on track more quickly, I like to call this recovery. In other words, recover back to our best selves, best leader, best attitude, more quickly. The truth is we all get off track every day, but the leader at the top of his/her game gets back on track very quickly. A leader that gets hooked (off track) and has a coach, has someone to call to support them in getting back on track. Lynn Griffin of Welcome Events adds to that and says that “people at the top of their game work with a coach to STAY on top of their game. No matter how successful you are, or think you are, an objective point of view from someone that knows all of your quirks, strengths, and weaknesses is crucial to continued success.”
4. Quiet the Monkeys! Many of the successful leaders also said that a coach helps to keep me off my own hamster wheel. To use a few animal metaphors, really what many are referring to is this habit we get into, where we play the same record over and over again in our heads. Often that record is self-defeating, a coach helps stop the record and play a fresh, more power record on a regular basis. This tends to be hard to do on our own.
5. To Take the Emotion out of Business: Julia Aquino, founder of All Systems Grow, says: “I’ve created the business so I have an emotional attachment to the outcome. A coach won’t have that same attachment, so the perspective from the coach is invaluable and opens me up to possibility versus the limitations (or unrealistic expectations) that I may have imposed.”
6. To have Regular Powerful Conversations: Face it, when we are at the top, we cannot talk through all of our thoughts, ideas and fears with our employees, our teams, our vendors, etc. A coach gives us that… a person to have regular conversations with about all that generally a leader cannot talk to others about. Another says it this way: ‘It’s confidential, I can share my crazy ideas and thoughts regularly, it is extremely helpful.’ Charmaine McClarie, President of the McClarie Group said is this way, I count on my coach to “ask the questions that help me to see with a broader lens and sit with my discomfort,” and to hold me ‘accountable to be bigger and bolder.
7. Focus. Paul Magliaro, from Morgan Stanley says it simply and powerfully: ‘A coach will add perspective on where you are and sharpen your focus on where you want to go.’ 7. Expand/Open up to New Ideas: Michele Richardson, from Write to Incite, LLC says: ‘I have a coach for perspective because I am often clouded by my own brilliance, and that’s not a bragging statement at all. Each one of us is brilliant, but that doesn’t mean what we think, believe or do is brilliant. I need someone like my coach to say “Hold on, let’s look at this from another angle,” when my brilliance gets in the way. It’s like holding a beautiful diamond that shines with amazing brilliance, but if you give it a subtle turn that brilliance shines even brighter. That’s why I have a coach.’ Hiring a coach when things are rockin’, is brilliant.