Coaching-Why The Resistance?

As an executive coach with 20+ years of experience, I have heard many excuses from leaders as to why they cannot engage in coaching.

I’m not talking about the legitimate reasons where the timing is not right such as “I’m having a baby in a few months, there’s a pandemic raging outside and I’m trying to survive, or I decided to take another job with the company down the street”!

Here are the most common excuses I hear and my responses to motivate you or a direct report to acquiesce rather than resist the coaching process.

  1. I’m too busy for coaching or I’m overwhelmed so the timing is not right. Some combination of these words signal it is the PERFECT time to engage a coach who can help you navigate out of the crisis you entered in independently. The right coach will be able to diagnose why you are too busy and/or overwhelmed and chart a course to reduce your stress and increase your performance.
  • I’m being punished. I don’t want a coach. This line of thinking can stem from many things such as fear from the coaching candidate, lack of performance feedback within the organization, and/or poor messaging from the leader who recommended the coaching. Coaching is not punitive; it is an investment a company makes to improve the performance of an individual and/or to accelerate a high performer to get to the next level expediently. Punishment would be to allow you to perform below expectations and then fire you. Or worse, put you on a performance improvement plan (PIP) without the support to help you achieve the goals required to exit the PIP. If you are offered coaching, grab it. Whether you stay at your current employer or go elsewhere, the opportunity to learn and be the focus of “customized training” is priceless.
  • I’m a subject matter expert. I don’t need a coach. The best athletes in the world have a coach. Simone Biles has a coach. Novak Djokovic has a coach. Patrick Mahomes has a coach. Caitlin Clark has a coach. Do I need to go on? You are a corporate athlete without an offseason. You too need a coach.

The smartest people ask for help and get a coach. It is unreasonable to think anyone can be an expert in everything. Maybe you are a talented software developer, but are you the best leader? Maybe you are an accomplished CEO of an investment firm, but are you the strongest communicator?

My coaching philosophy stems from my belief that we grow from maximizing our strengths and minimizing our development areas. You should know your superhero strengths, which brought you to your current level of success. And you should know where to grow. I share with my coaching candidates that I want to be a better leader tomorrow than I am today. Over the course of my career, I have worked with a mindfulness coach so that I could increase the space between my thoughts (there wasn’t any!), and engaged multiple mentors to support the rapid growth of my business. Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.

Is it time for you to stop resisting? If you have a desire to be better, a commitment to try new things, and a drive to put in the work, the timing is now. A talented coach will help you to deal with the uncomfortableness of looking inward and experimenting with new ideas, tools, and techniques. And I guarantee the ability to slow down and hear yourself think out loud in today’s frenzy pace, will be refreshing and dare I say, fun!

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