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Dear Business Owners and People Leaders – it is time to invest in you!

Coach motivate to personal development, success and career growth concept. Version with bigger wooden person.

A big shout out to all business owners and people leaders who have been looking after the mental health and wellbeing of so many people within their network – thank you! 

Our world of work has been changing at a staggering pace and many of us are feeling slightly disoriented. As an owner / leader you have no doubt been running at full pace for the last 7 months balancing the needs of your business, your team and your clients. It’s time now to give yourself permission and space to consider what you think, and how you feel about all that has been going on. 

If you were (or still are!) an athlete and the 2020 season has gone a little awry, you’d step back and reach out to work with your coach. Working with a coach in the business world doesn’t feel quite as natural to some of us as it does when we think of people asking for help in the sporting world, but why not? 

Working with a business coach can help you:

  • To create some space to stop spinning;
  • To breathe;
  • To think creatively; and
  • To consider what is next. 

 That’s got to be good for you, good for your team and good for your business - here’s how. 

Acknowledging and processing the impact of change

The changes you are facing may be the result of a decision on your part – a choice you have made to be in control and hopefully that feels awesome. Alternatively, you may be facing changes that are outside of your control and that may not feel quite so awesome. Your team, your organisation or your clients’ organisations may have been impacted and that means for now, they are asking different things of you or they may no longer need your talents and services. 

For many of us, this has meant:

  • Our confidence is wobbling in relation to what our talents are;
  • Our identity feels challenged;
  • The ticket that we have used to open doors (the career on which we have built our sense of self) is faded a little and we are being asked to rethink, reshape and find different ways to share our talents

Acknowledging these feelings, or any others that arise, as you step back and reflect is a good first step. Doing that on your own can be difficult.

Re-framing your perspective

Processing the impact of change is tough and takes energy to re-frame your perspective – maybe by giving yourself thinking space and enlisting support, this change, that you didn’t ask for, could be revealed as an awesome opportunity that is currently in disguise? 

Rediscovering your strengths

Working with a coach can help you unearth ways to redirect your talents and services. As a people manager, someone who invests in others, it is often easy to lose sight of our own unique strengths, the impact they have on others and why we should make sure we are playing to those strengths every single day. 

If we don’t refresh our ‘ticket to trade’ regularly we can lose our sense of self and that contributes to an identity challenge. We are at our best when we feel that our values and strengths are aligned to our day to day work. When our purpose rings true it makes it easier to continue to lead through this disorientation towards clarity. 

Holding up a mirror

The role of a coach is to hold up a mirror and encourage you to look into it, non-judgmentally at your authentic self. They offer a safe space to openly share your story, your opportunities and your challenges, they’ll ask probing questions to build understanding of what is important to you and help you dig deeper on why you do the things you do. 

In a career context, a coach will then help you use that insight to align what you want to do, with what you actually have the opportunity to do in your business or workplace. Having a mirror held to you can feel a little daunting however it is the best path to enable you to see your strengths, understand what motivates and demotivates you, express the values that are most important to you and in doing so, find your true north. 

Every-day actions and behaviours

Knowing your true north, having your goal is amazing. However, the trick to staying aligned to true north and feeling a sense of progress towards your goal lies in the everyday behaviours and actions that you implement. 

Donald Bradman had a desire to be the best batsman in the world. To become that he started with a cricket stump and a golf ball that he hit against the water tank on his property a gazillion times every day. Within 2 years he had risen from bush cricket to the Australian test team and many records that he set, stand today. 

A desire to change or improve is not enough to bring about that change. A conscious choice to implement something every day is how you sustainably build progress towards your goals. This is how you build muscle memory, it is how new behaviours or priorities become second nature and it is how you move closer to your goals.

In the current environment, partnering with a coach will therefore help you to:

  • Acknowledge and process the impact of change
  • Re-frame your perspective on things that may have been outside of your control
  • Reconnect with your strengths
  • Reflect on what motivates you by holding up a mirror
  • Be accountable for implementing small steps towards your goal every day

How do you set up a successful coaching relationship?

  1. Consider what you want from coaching – what benefit are you seeking?

Coaching can be formal or informal; it can be business or life focused; it may be for a specific purpose and have a defined outcome that you are trying to find your way towards; or it might be something that helps you define what the goal and vision is for you; and then lays the foundations for what your first step towards that may be.

2. Be super conscious that for these benefits to be realised and for those benefits to stick, most of the work is up to you.

A good coach will not give you their predetermined answers.  Actually, a good coach won’t give you any answers! 

3. Choose your coach wisely:

Whether you are considering an informal coaching relationship with someone you know or a dedicated and formal coaching program, the coach you choose must match you. In the simplest form the two filters I suggest you use in choosing a coach are:

  • If you know someone in your network who gives you their answers to your questions – they are not the coach for you. They may be an amazing friend, a trusted confidant or a mentor and they may be super important in your life but, their answers are for them and not necessarily for you.
  • If you know someone in your network who asks amazing questions and helps you to discover the ‘awesome in disguise’ in any situation you share with them – they could be the person you need right now.

Give yourself permission – make a start and invest in you

You may be facing changes that are outside of your control however, investing time to find ‘awesome in disguise’ will be worthwhile.   

Consider yourself an athlete whose 2020 season has thrown a few too many unexpected obstacles your way. Picture yourself as Bradman with a clear goal and a desire to put new behaviours and actions into place to help you achieve that goal.   

Reconnecting to your strengths, having a clearer sense of self, a goal, and a focused plan will re-boost your energy and place you back in a position of strength and resilience. This is a position that will enable you to breathe again, smile again and continue to give your best to your team – both your home and work team. Sounds good right?

"As a business owner or people leader, you need to give yourself permission to invest in you. Fit your own oxygen mask before helping others."

Published by: Nicole Torrance in News

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