Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot, said, “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote. I attribute a lot of my growth and accomplishments in life to the fact that I’ve always sought the help of mentors and coaches. They have helped me to expand my thinking, strategize around my goals and vision, and implement accountability systems to help me reach my potential.
More and more professionals are seeing the value of coaching and are seeking the expertise and guidance of a paid coach. They are doing so to help them navigate challenges in their lives and careers, as well as elevate to new levels of fulfillment and achievement. If you’re looking to take your life and career to new levels and are considering working with a coach, here are five key things to know before beginning your work with a coach:
Get clear on your goals and reasons for wanting to work with a coach.
It’s mission-critical that you seek and gain clarity around what exactly you’re looking to accomplish, develop, grow and improve upon. We live in an age of specialists, not generalists, and the more clear and focused you can be in setting objectives for why you want to work with a coach, the more effective you will be at selecting the right coach and fit for your niche. This will produce better results, faster.
Find someone with experience and expertise in areas you want to grow in.
When you work with a good coach, they will challenge you to expand your framework for goal-setting and visioning. When you work with a great coach, they will inspire and ignite your ambition so you can dream much bigger and set increasingly larger goals, and then develop a solid strategy to achieve them.
The old saying “You don’t know what you don’t know” is accurate — meaning, you need to identify talented coaches and settle on the one who can help expose you to new, cutting-edge concepts, thought leadership and techniques in order to grow and develop to your full potential. When you find and work with an accomplished coach in your specific field, it can open up a world of growth opportunities and teaching moments for you to expand your expertise and increase your level of performance and results.
Be vulnerable, honest and coachable, and leave ego at the door.
I’ve found that the more vulnerable and honest you can get with both yourself and with your coach, the greater the capacity for growth you will create in the coaching relationship and space. Be willing to share the hard truths, difficult admissions, weaknesses and failures in the pursuit of learning, growing and turning these things into power and motivation through transformation.
When you do this, you will experience the greatest improvements and realizations. Remember, the fit and comfort level with your coach is important and will either encourage or detract from this imperative, so keep this in mind as you go through the selection process.
Commit fully to your vision and goals.
Once you gain clarity on your goals and your vision, which will inevitably evolve and change as you do, it is critical to commit fully and relentlessly. Then, it is equally important to take massive and consistent action each and every day in pursuit of these. Remember you will undoubtedly encounter setbacks, challenges and unforeseen circumstances that will frustrate your will and slow your progress. You must, however, persevere and demonstrate tenacity and resolve through all of these, and rely and lean on your coach for support, advice and counsel.
Install and follow an accountability system with your coach to ensure you achieve your goals.
Developing an appropriate accountability system with your coach and implementing it with structure, a schedule and a mutual commitment from both client and coach can often make the difference in whether the hard work and good intentions actually become reality.
Working with a coach, whether personally or professionally, can be a game-changer that helps you dream bigger, achieve greater and live fuller. It’s important to consider certain things both before selecting the right coach and during the coaching relationship to get the best results from the experience.
I’m reminded of a famous quote by Napoleon Hill that I live my life by, which has helped me immeasurably: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” A great coach can help you conceive, believe and achieve greater than you might be able to on your own.