Why I chose to become a coach. Should you too?

I have been thinking……. Before giving you a long winded introduction about the current state of the workforce, the knowledge economy, millennial preferences, side-effects of prosperity, human potential and psychological limitations, let me outline the points I`ll make below. Then, you are free to scroll to whatever might be most interesting to you….. or simply continue reading from here and see where it leads you.

  1. The right questions instead of answers
  2. Coaching infused in modern management
  3. People at the core of it all
  4. My work as Management Consultant
  5. The three essential benefits of coaching

Before I go into detail, quick disclaimer. I hope you will find 1-2 interesting points in this, not necessarily more.  Given there is a natural limit to how exhaustive anyone can be when devoting a few hours to writing something like this, please feel free to add to this piece in the comments. Any points you think I missed and should be shared with others or interesting counter arguments that need to be highlighted etc.

Okay, enough of that..  let’s get to it.

  1. The right questions instead of answers

Having the right answers to unimportant questions, is like being extremely effective at doing something irrelevant. It goes back to the nuance of being effective or efficient. Efficient; doing something in the most optimal way, while effective; looks at choosing the right thing to begin with.

Questions are the key. Key to inspiring change in your personal life as you suddenly assess, think, ponder a given obstacle or opportunity in a new way as well as creating focus in a world with extreme amounts of opportunity. In business, some companies saved data “just in case” filling up datacenters with information that has no value until the right question is asked by someone.

At least in how I define coaching, questions are the essence of coaching. In fact you are an INEFFECTIVE coach if you provide answers to questions the client could answer themselves. Maybe not out of the blue, but they might have an answer if you lead them and guide them correctly. Of course,  stress test the answers and match them against you’re understanding of the facts, but how would you even do so if you never heard their answer to begin with, because you were overly eager in pushing you´re “brilliant insights” their way.

 

  1. Coaching infused in modern management

At some point a manger was able to see all the obstacles, teams were managed through a web of formal rules and decision were confirmed up the command-line. That traditional management techniques have become to slow and rigid for the modern pace of change in many industries is nothing new. Empowering individuals naturally leads to more responsible on their part, but also potentially less oversight for the manager. Instead of optimizing a ridged structure of rules and norms, it becomes increasingly important to lend support at the individual level, based on a deeper understanding of their unique obstacles and potential paths towards success.

If you’re understanding of obstacles towards success does not align with the ones the individual sees, and it is the individual who is set to execute towards the intended goal, then you need to have a conversation to understand them and their point of view. Otherwise you will end up surprised that your master plan failed even though you had thought of “everything”.

Change starts at the individual level and cascades through the system, not the other way around. Systems plan & guide, but humans act.

Furthermore, conversations aiming to support and uncover these things clearly can vary in how good they are. One conversation does not equal another and they are not useful by their mere existence, but need to be done properly. Luckily, having different types of conversations can be learned and therefore constitutes another reason for me pursuing coaching.

 

  1. People at the core of it all

More specifically, people are at the core of everything that hasn`t been automated yet. And even then, they decided on the system of automation to begin with and have the power to creatively improve or not improve on it moving forward. People are at the core. Having establish that, let’s also agree on the cost of schizophrenically splitting your personality into a work and personal life persona or working with another individual expecting them to do so… it´s possible … but certainly at a cost. A cost in work performance and life satisfaction. People are complex, it is the toughest thing to admit, because suddenly things are hard to be formalized into simple equations.

Instead meaningful and skilled conversations become of increasing importance for actual top performance. You can achieve a lot by viewing and working with others as if they were a well-functioning robot/AI, but never inspire them to true top performance. Deciding whether the potential top performance is worth the investment is a different question.

 

  1. My work as Management Consultant

I have been lucky to be part of a tremendous growth story in joining an aspirational management consultancy. One of the variables pointed out again and again as a primary difference maker for top performance on a client engagement is the ability to “engage & mobilize”. It’s by far not the only element and things differ from project to project, BUT it stands out. The ability to tackle & solve is necessary and at the origin, but in a world with people at the core it is a valuable offering to support the human process and co-create along the way. In consulting you are either good at creating focus, uncovering quantitative insights, providing synthesis, managing co-creation (internally/with client) or catalyzing change. I think it is clear how the skill of coaching can support happier more effective teams in co-creating internally, support the co-creation process with clients and catalyzing change.

 

  1. The three essential benefits of coaching

The three broad benefits of coaching that support me in hopefully being better at contributing and navigating all the above are

  1. Understanding general human basic truths, tendencies and behaviors
    1. Having something to refer to that provides a backdrop that supports me in understanding each individual`s story or position
  2. Structuring conversations to be more reliable in effectively guiding each individual
    1. It surely can happen that you have a great successful session/conversation now and then, but to show-up reliably requires the development of specific skills or structural guidelines
  3. Developing a stronger intuitive sense for noticing unspoken patterns and reading the communication that does not require words

 

Team coaching or Team managing, which team are you on?

(Simplified dualism I know.. but I trust you to get the point)

Thank you for your time, attention and future conversations. ♥

As off 19/06/2018. Always keep learning.

/Jeldrik

 

P.S. Primarily this piece highlights some of my professional reasons, while I certainly also have my own personal reasons and reasons relating to my desire to be of value to other individuals in that way.