Why do I need a coach? Is this just another management fad that will go away or am I missing something I should be pursuing?
Many books have been written to answer this question. Let me give you a summary of my point of view on executive coaching. A good coaching relationship can be a valuable learning tool in your leadership development arsenal. But the key to making it work is to realize that coaching is a solution to an identified problem. Any solution, matched to the right problem, makes sense.
Here are some of the best reasons to use a coach:
1. You need an objective, unbiased assessment of your observations and actions.
Rarely does a CEO have a “truth-teller” in the organization. Just think of that hapless emperor who had been told by a young child that he was shorn clothing.
2. You need accurate and timely feedback on your leadership effectiveness.
Coaches can interview people around you at work and get good feedback on what you are doing that works and what you need to change.
3. You need someone to guide you through reflection and self-analysis.
I’ve had clients tell me the best part of having a coach was the monthly, uninterrupted period of time to think without distractions. Someone who asks you good questions can really get you thinking.
4. You need an outsider’s point of view on an issue.
You need to hear from someone who works with other executives and sees what works and what does not. This is especially helpful if you grew up in your organization and have limited experience with other companies, their cultures, and ways of doing things. A coach can increase your knowledge of best practices and ways to get things done.