Coached People Do Better & Win More

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It's just reality, we do better with a coach, well, with a good coach that is. Our coach has one job, get us to improve and perform in alignment with our strengths, and more importantly, keep our hearts and then heads in the game. We see and feel differently with them. She, or he, does this by serving us, as an extra set of eyes, ears and heart. 

We see champions across all sports, attributing their individual and team excellence to their coaches. Their coaches, well, they relate with, and inspire them to be continually better than they were before, and, with a higher accountability to team and self. We see this in their results every day. If they're our favorite team's coaches, we celebrate them, but if they're our opposing team's, we revile them while secretly wishing they were ours. Why? Because we all want to win. And, we know that the right coach is part of that emotional, mental and technical equation.

Photo by  Johnson Wang  on  Unsplash

Players with great coaches believe they can always be better. And then they do better. Performance follows the heart. The great coach keeps the space where failure is expected as part of the progress and leads to increased competence. When your heart's broken and you want to quit, she gives you hers. When you can't hear your own calls for help, his ears hear. When you can't see past your own fears, they can. And, he'll call bullshit on you, when it's needed.

Then we enter the business arena. What? Why isn't a coach part of the equation here? Why? Because it costs money? Damn scarcity mindset, it's a sabertooth tiger biting us on the back of our neck. We get caught in its grip and fear-based decisions abound. Or, because people are seen as to be managed, instead of inspired. It's the old quid pro quo, the employee gets paid, the employee should simply do what he or she is told to do. They are "task-doers" instead of "inspired-do-better-ers". That mindset's as old as the sabertooth tiger and kills inspiration and potential. 

Sports figured it out. Come on businesses! There's a higher game at stake, put your people first. The evidence is in. Companies that put employees first outperform companies that don't. You know why? Because it's human nature. We work with the most resilience and at our hardest for those who we love, and, who inspire and care for us. Think of it in terms of people, purpose and then pay. We'll die for each other. We'll join another's cause. And, we'll exchange our skill and effort for a buck. The strongest of those areas of motivation, people.

In your company:

  • Will you lose money if your employees continually grow and work to be better?

  • Will their productivity go up with their improvement?

  • Are you looking for increased accountability? Working with the coach is the definition of accountability.

Why coaching? Because when we've plateaued in our performance, it's usually a heart/brain issue. As a species we kinda hate being stuck, as in not growing. We want to be valuable and we want to be competent from the very get-go. The threat of firing or increased pay might nudge a person to complete the task. However it's not going to put an employee into growth. Our brains can't be in self-preservation and growth at the same time. Coaching brings the relationship that makes doing better, or going beyond what we thought we could do, to the primary focus. The paycheck is a finish line at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy. Doing better the next time is a fulfilling way of life in growth is at the top. 

We are hardwired for coaches, our lizard brain is a tribal one. It's why the elders mattered in guiding the youth, so that the youth always got better. The group's, thriving and advancing depended upon it. Sure, they learned the skills from the elders, but more importantly, it was the mindset. For the up-and-coming, they were the extra eyes, ears and heart. 

Personally, I Lucked out to have a writing coach in grad school

In grad school, I had to drop out of a class because my writing sucked. Despite acing all the tests and being able to speak to the knowledge, I was going to fail a class because it was a "W" class that required I write well. At the suggestion of my professor, I dropped the class so that I wouldn't destroy my grade-point and then took writing classes to improve. I told him I'd be back. How fortunate I was to have another professor who became my writing coach. I remember sitting with him, I was lamenting. Ok, maybe I was whining. He said to me, "if you can handle a lot of red ink, I'll make note of everything that needs to be fixed, but you're gonna have to fix it." He was my extra eyes, ears and heart. I knew from the way he said it that he had my back. You could say he saved my academic life. Thanks writing coach (Eugene Lemcio, School of Religion, Seattle Pacific University). 

Similar opportunities for coaching within a business are endless:

  • the art of listening to the customer

  • speaking so somebody can hear

  • how to analyze for what matters

  • how to present with simple clarity and relevance

  • seeing long-term prioritization in the face of urgencies

  • etc...

The opportunities for coaching for individual are just as endless:

  • staying focused in the game under duress

  • seeing how to use your own strengths in different application

  • simply getting unstuck

  • extending yourself into a new field or space

  • getting rid of your crappy behaviors

We all get stuck up on the ledge at times

Photo by  Rye Jessen  on  Unsplash

Photo by Rye Jessen on Unsplash

Photo by  Wenni Zhou  on  Unsplash

Photo by Wenni Zhou on Unsplash

I worked with a guy a while ago who had a rather crazy situation. He was in line to get promoted, and at the same time, subject to a significantly hostile work environment. He was at his wits end. In our sessions, my first goal was to give him a place where he could be safe in his own reflection on his situation. It was his ledge, and I met him on it.  By that I mean, he could play out different outcomes and determine if perseverance in the situation or getting out is worth more, and, without accidentally triggering an event. He could tell me whatever and I was not going to judge him either way. We worked to derail fear's freight train by exploring where he could play to his strengths and not fall into reactionary patterns that the hostile dude could target. We simply don't make better decisions from a fear anchor point. We went through a lot of what-ifs and he-coulds.  

Next we made it so that he could see himself control the train. What could he do to be in the right place/right time with integrity, and at the same time, it was his choice to stay or get off the train. He went from, I'm out of options to, I do have options and it's my choice. In his actions he chose to persevere and do what put him into a better position that inherently prevented his being targeted. And, in the end, he excelled under the pressure and won. He got that promotion, which included a nice 25k bump in his salary. 

People ask if coaching is worth it. I'll let you decide if coaching is worth it.

The coach brings us back to playing towards, and finding our strengths, as opposed to being stuck in our weaknesses. We never win when we’re playing to our weaknesses. More often than not, that takes an extra set of eyes, ears and heart.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If it strikes a chord with you, I'd love to hear from you? If you found this article helpful, please share it. I’d appreciate that.

Have a great day and keep making our work world a better, more productive and happier place. Paul

#coaching #leadership #compassion #potential #risk