Last week, we discussed what you should look for in a coach. But before you go looking for a coach, you need to look in the mirror. Consider these questions before you vet coaches to help you:
- Are you willing to devote the time to coaching? Developing as a person takes time. You’ll need to be willing to meet with a coach at regular intervals and devote the time to practice and follow-through on assignments that arise from the coaching arrangement. Just like you won’t be a become a better baseball pitcher if you only practice during the 1 hour of your coaching session, your performance in any arena won’t improve if you don’t take the time to put into practice what you are learning. If you don’t have the time or the willingness to devote to the process, don’t begin.
- What are your needs? Continuing with the baseball analogy, do you need help with your hitting, your pitching, your fielding, your speed? A similar list for leadership coaching may be help with motivating others, delegating, time management, managing upwards to develop your career, among many other things. What you need “help” with should focus not only on where you desire to see improvement, but where you want to maximize your talent. Consider what can help take you to the next level, and hire a coach that can help you focus on just that. If you are unsure of what you need or seek clarity in defining focus, a good coach should have the ability to assess this for you as a part of the process and create a plan for you. In fact, most coaches will start first with some type of assessment to begin the coaching engagement.
- What results are you expecting? Do you want to increase the number of strikeouts you have in a game? Do you want to get noticed by major league scouts? Clearly defining your needs should lead to clearly defined results you are expecting. Having these written down can greatly help you when you go shopping for a coach to help you achieve them.
- What are your values? Different coaches practice different forms of coaching. In leadership coaching, some focus on behavioral based coaching where others on psychoanalysis as their framework. There are multiple variations of coaching methods, none of which are necessarily right or wrong, but you need to have a frame of reference in terms of your values in order to select the best person to work with you. The clearest analogy for this may deviate from sports and come from parent coaching. Quite simply, if you fundamentally disagree with spanking your child as a form of discipline, choosing a coach who advocates for this type of discipline would not be a fit for you.
So, should you hire a coach?