How do you know when it’s time to see an executive coach?
The short answer is that anytime is a good idea to see a coach. And most leaders know this.
In fact, a 2013 Stanford study found that almost all of the 200 CEOs and business leaders in their sample were receptive to coaching.
But does coaching actually work?
In a meta-analysis of coaching outcomes within organizations, researchers found that coaching leads to:
- increased performance and skills,
- enhanced well-being,
- increased abilities to cope with stress,
- an increase in positive work attitudes,
- and better goal-directed self-regulation.
So, yeah, working with a good coach is bound to be helpful for you at any stage of your career.
That said, there are times when working with a coach is imperative for your career.
Here are the signs to look for:
1- A less than stellar performance review: If you are consistently receiving negative feedback, either formally or informally, then it’s time to see a coach. A coach can help you see your blind spots. Your coach works alongside you to discover new ways of approaching old problems. Your coach has your back in ways that your manager or colleagues may not. Your coach’s only goal is to help you be the best possible version of yourself - and that’s exactly what you need if you’re experiencing negative feedback at work.
2- Experiencing frequent conflict at work: If you are consistently experiencing negative interactions with more than one team member, then it’s time to see a coach. A coach can help you diagnose what’s at play with your co-workers. Your coach can help you reframe situations so that you can better intuit what needs to be said in heated situations and increase alignment with your colleagues.
3- Bored or “checked out” at work: If you dread going to work because you just don’t like what you’re doing anymore, then it’s time to see a coach. A coach can help you identify your “growth edge,” the one area of improvement that would make the greatest difference to your professional career and your team. Your coach will help you stretch beyond your current role (or help you look for another one) so that you maximize your unique talents and gifts. Life is too short to wallow in boredom at work. Your coach will motivate you to make the changes you need to find the passion in your work again.
If you find that you have any of the above signs, it’s time to search for a coach. It’s often not cheap to work with a coach, but the alternative (i.e. underperforming and/or suffering in a stressful situation) is much more costly.
Look for a coach who is:
- Intelligent and empathetic
- Knowledgeable about interpersonal and business dynamics
- Brave and compassionate enough to tell you things that others won’t
- Able to tailor the coaching experience to your unique needs
And, lastly, just for the record, seeing a coach is not something to hide or be ashamed of. Getting a coach is, hands-down, a sign of being an epic leader.
For companies who bring in coaches for their team, the benefits are even greater. As one Stanford researcher stated, coaching within a company makes the difference between a “good organization and a visionary one.”