"Since I met Martin many moons ago I've enjoyed working with him and I have benefitted from his expertise, contacts and mentoring skills."
Andrew Donaldson, Founder, Big Storage
All our team at Quest for Excellence have previously worked with coaches who have supported them through their careers. Many of us have found that what we have learned from our discussions and experience of being coached has also had added benefit in our home and personal relationships as well.
At Quest for Excellence we understand that acknowledging that you can improve the way that you lead your team isn't always easy, but we also know from experience that this is the most important first step to allow your coaching sessions to be successful – for you.
We have found that the most effective coaching sessions are those which help the participant to challenge their own, often long-held, assumptions and working practices. We call it ‘looking from the outside, inwards’. Not surprisingly perhaps these assumptions look quite different when seen from this changed perspective.
Even if you don't want to work with a coach — but you have to, because your boss has asked you to – it is important to enter the engagement willingly. Try to find some way to gain personal benefit from the experience so that it feels that it is all about you - right from the start.
We suggest that before you meet with your Quest for Excellence coach, you ask yourself what specifically you want to get out of the sessions. What are the main issues that are getting in the way of your ability to achieve your potential, or in the way of you achieving your potential within the organisation? By doing this self-analysis you will start to challenge your own assumptions and so will start to truly understand what it is that you want to improve.
Give yourself some early wins. What are you willing to change — right now? The best coaching occurs over a period of time, but long-term personal growth must have a starting point. Why not today?
For example, think of a couple of pressing business issues where you might benefit from having a discussion with what is in effect a completely neutral sounding board – because this is exactly what your coach is. Your coach is working for you – and for your organisation – but ultimately in these sessions it is all about you.
Over many years and in many sessions with leaders and managers we have found that using your coach as a neutral sounding board can be highly effective in resolving business or relationship issues.
Remember – what is said in the coaching sessions is private and confidential between you and your coach.
Whilst he or she may share generic information about the sessions with the organisation sponsors, your coach will not share specific information about the discussions without your agreement.
Don't let your coach ask all the questions. Ask them some questions. And ask yourself, "What do I want this person to be coaching me in?"
It is important that you are happy to connect with your coach and that you are willing to be open and honest about the challenges you face.
Truth be told, our self-assumptions about the things we don’t do too well help to protect our self-image. If we knew how often we irritated others, or failed to deliver on expectations, or any one of everyone’s failings we might lose faith in our ability to do our jobs. We are human after all.
But it a coach's responsibility is to encourage self-examination – of both positive and negative behaviours and to help you to reach conclusions about how best to move forward – in your own best interest. We have found that hidden or unexamined behaviours are the very reason why we become cut off from the very people we most need to engage with and inspire.
So in summary, we firmly believe that you'll get a lot more out of your coaching experience with Quest for Excellence if you start the process by examining and challenging your own assumptions from the start.