“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential.” – Bob Nardelli, Former CEO of Freedom Group, Chrysler and Home Depot.
If you were a professional athlete, you would have a coach. In fact, you would probably have an entire coaching team, fine-tuning all elements of your performance. When an athlete achieves peak performance, it’s usually this coaching that gets credited with making them thrive and succeed in a pressured, dynamic and competitive environment.
The same can be said for high-profile business leaders and company founders. Some of the most recognisable businesspeople have attributed their organisational successes to business coaching. In 2016, Google leaders Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle published ‘Trillion Dollar Coach: The playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell’, offering an inside look at how the world’s biggest CEO’s leveraged Campbell’s legendary coaching to improve. Said CEOs include Apple’s Steve Jobs, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
A common theme in the book is how Campbell’s coaching focused on ‘people’ and not ‘product’ – something more stark given the technological context of the companies he most associated with. He was incredibly astute and observational when it came to people, fostering a keen sense of individuals beyond their workplace performance and persona.
This individualised, human-centric approach often forms the crux of great coaching, in both business and in sport. Characterised by a combination of skills and approaches that aim to empower individuals to achieve their goals, great coaching works to maximise someone’s unique potential, and enhance their personal and professional development. Great coaching goes beyond providing advice or solutions. Instead, it focuses on facilitating the growth and learning of the person being coached.
As their coach, your job is to set the bar high, inspire them to reach this bar, encourage them, and most of all, guide them in the best possible manner and in the most supportive environment. – John Popovich, former American football coach and player.
Coaching must be a highly collaborative and personalised process, designed to help someone (or some team) to develop and improve in specific, tangible ways. A main objective of coaching is often to to support someone in identifying and addressing their strengths and their weaknesses. As a coach, you can only do this successfully if you can fully understand and know how someone operates.
This is equally important when it comes to team dynamics. Being aware of individual differences in athletes or an executive is an important aspect of coaching teams. For example, Olympics.com describes how ‘emotional displays may work for some athletes but could have a devastating effect on others…Individualising communication and motivation to specific athletes is vital to successful coaching.”
It follows, then, that how coaching will look will vary from individual to individual and from organisation to organisation. Coaching sessions may utilise various methods – one-on-one sessions, goal-settings, feedback exercises – to help someone gain self-awareness, clarity, and a deeper understanding of their leadership approach. Again, this should be tailored to the individual’s ways of working and learning.
Being coachable requires honesty and humility because a successful coaching relationship requires a high degree of vulnerability, much more than is typical in a business relationship. – Bill Campbell, the ‘Trillion Dollar Coach’
Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of leaders and organisations, developing bespoke coaching services that were reflective of their styles, goals, values and ethos. Common aims and outcomes have included:
Within each of these ambitions there is scope for deep, concentrated personal reflection and development. They can be used to map out a suitable coaching journey, or roadmap, designed to ensure someone can progress in a way that suits their personal experiences, needs and objectives. Each map will be different, even if the desired outcomes are ones shared across an organisation.
“A good coach also pushes you beyond your current limits, breathes confidence into you, and gives you courage. This is beyond “blind cheerleading,” and should be based on credibility and signs of progress” – Eric Schmidt, Former CEO of Google, technologist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Great coaching is not about telling leaders, teams or athletes, what to do, but rather empowering them to find their own solutions and grow into more capable and confident performers. It involves fostering a partnership between the coach and ‘coachee’ that is centred on growth, learning, and achieving meaningful results.
We have coached leaders and managers to turn around whole organisation cultures and in one instance, helped increased turnover from £250 million to £1.2 billion! Coaching works (and perhaps, in this instance, we should have struck a revenue share model!)
Great coaching is a wholly collaborative process that empowers individuals to tap into their potential and achieve their aspirations.
From coaching, business consultancy, and leadership training, we can directly address your organisational concerns or individual goals. If you are not sure what you support you need, or you would like to speak to someone for free advice, just get in touch.