Let’s face it – we all have things we would like to change about our lives, our careers, or our relationships. Whatever your situation, personally or professionally, unlocking the hidden value in your life might be well-served by engaging a personal or an executive coach.
A good coach can help you to develop a blueprint for your life that is both compelling and achievable. Using an outside advocate not only exposes you to a myriad of approaches for how to improve, but also provides an outside perspective on your goals, your vision and your progress towards both. While a good coach should be invested in your wellness and in your success, they should be able to remain independent so that they can be objective in their analysis and their advice. They should also be prepared to hold you accountable to your commitments along the way.
What is a Personal Coach?
There are different kinds of coaches available to you, and picking the right one can be important in determining how successful your relationship will be. While the distinctions are sometimes blurred, a personal coach – sometimes called a life coach – specializes in identifying client goals and assisting in the development of plans to help achieve them. Those goals can encompass personal or professional ambitions, or both, and usually focus on finding greater purpose and fulfillment for the client.
What is Executive Coaching?
Traditional executive coaching centers around working with people in organizational leadership positions or high-potential team members to help them become better leaders. The process mirrors personal coaching in that the coach will typically identify strengths and opportunities, while also setting goals for what the client would like to achieve. The title “executive coach” doesn’t always differentiate approach. It can, but often is used for branding and marketing reasons.
Which Should I Choose?
At the Leadership Zen Group, we don’t differentiate between a personal or an executive coach. Individual clients hire coaches to determine opportunities to find greater levels of success in the areas where they want to succeed. These can include their personal or professional lives – or both – but usually focus on improving leadership across the board. How the coach and client get there can vary, but usually center on a few broad principles:
- Progress is driven by the client, not the coach
- The coach listens and guides, not directs progress
- The coach helps the client to identify goals, rather than provides his or her own
- The coach seeks to find balance between personal, professional, and individual goals
- The client and coach work together to maximize potential across the board
What matters is the relationship you build between yourself and your coach. Building trust, opening up and allowing oneself to be vulnerable, and being ready to receive critical feedback during the process is a must.
How Can I Get the Most from Coaching?
Picking the right partner is critical to a successful relationship, but studies show that the client’s expectations and mindset serve as a good barometer. Surveys conducted by Harvard Business Review suggest that people with a natural curiosity and a willingness to accept that they have room to grow are the best candidates for coaching. They also tell us that building a rapport with the coach is more important than reputation or history. Someone with a successful resume of working with others will be of no use to you if you can’t build the connection we spoke about earlier.
It is also important to understand that goals will likely change over time. The coaching process is an evolutionary one, and being open to finding new understandings of what you need and want will allow you to get more out of it. Growing your EQ is as important as building your IQ, and will allow you to better serve your personal needs and improve your business results.
Some Final Thoughts
There are many roads between points A and B. Finding them on your own is possible, but can be daunting and sometimes even counterproductive. Letting an experienced coach into your life can be the catalyst for personal and professional change that you are looking for. I invite you to visit our personal coaching page to learn more about our proprietary, humanistic, positive psychology-based methodology and about coaching in general. I wish you luck on your journey!