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Put Me In Coach!

Great coaching and achieving the balance needed to succeed

We can all get overwhelmed with the complexity of keeping up with our daily lives. Email comes non-stop, and to-do lists cause depression just by glancing at them. The demands this world places on us require us to live and work smarter and not just harder. This is not new information, but the reality of achieving the balance we all need to succeed breaks into three areas. The first is focus management (keeping your eyes on the things that matter) and the second is balancing your goals and dreams so you actually get to be happy. The third is, if you find yourself working like a dog and not playing like a puppy then there’s something that’s out of balance—and great coaching can help.

We’re talking about coaching that helps you lead a more balanced and meaningful life. Let’s face it, if you’re out of balance in just one area of your life, it is likely to sabotage and derail all the other things that are going well. This is where coaching can make a world of difference in the workplace and in life. But, before you go around saying (as the song goes) “put me in coach, I’m ready to play,” you might want to know some of the characteristics of great coaching.

So, let’s talk about great coaching and what makes a great coach. In sports, the rules and boundaries are clearly defined, but in life that is rarely the case. The things that are really important to you may not be true for the person who sits next to you. We each have different definitions for success and happiness, and these may change throughout our lives. What might have made you happy even a year ago may not make you as happy this year.

A great coach can help you identify and realize how success and happiness can go together. It really boils down to consciously identifying and creating balance in your life while achieving goals. Great coaching facilitates a person in assessing all areas of their life to determine what a balanced life is for them. Great coaches then assist people in determining what they really want in this chapter of their lives by developing a set of written goals and outcomes. Prioritizing and then putting those goals into action plans is at the heart of great coaching. It is, in effect, a strategic plan that is individualized to you.

Recently a coaching client was doing very well technically with his job; however, he was sabotaging their success by exhibiting an unprofessional side when frustrated. Relationships at work suffered and the client was derailing his own success. Upon closer examination, it was clear that this person was giving 100 percent at work, but other areas of his life were way out of balance, and he was not taking time to do the things he loved that would help him regain and keep his balance. Through coaching and looking at his success from a balanced perspective, he incorporated the ground rule of “take care of yourself first so you can help take care of others” and found that balance was possible in every part of his life.

 

Getting the most out of coaching involves three things:

  1. Developing a clear plan with goals, objectives, and outcomes and measures that will lead to the overall success of that person. The plan may include goals in work skills, relationships, recreation and play, financial life, physical life, emotional well-being (how we react), and sustaining success.
  2. Defining timelines to accomplish goals and the resources needed to achieve the goals (including the amount of interaction with the coach). Will mentors be involved? Who can help with achieving these goals?
  3. Establishing a clear set of rules of engagement including interfaces with the workplace, the coach, and mentors, which are agreed to by all parties.

 

Once these three things are set up, whatever resources are necessary to help the person being coached achieve their goals can be brought to bear, whether that’s identifying mentors who will assist in learning new skills or identifying opportunities to learn and/or develop new skills (or even to extinguish unwanted habits). Coaching is not just for the senior executive. The best organizations use coaching throughout the ranks so that everyone gets a chance to improve on their skills and their value to the company. Coaching can be used in many ways to overcome the obstacles we place in our way and to improve work skills and performance. Great coaching leads to more meaningful and fulfilling lives as well.

Kevin M. Dee has a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and is the president of KMD Services & Consulting. He has more than twenty-eight years of experience providing leadership development, organizational development, and human resource services in Alaska and internationally. Contact him at mail@kmdconsulting.biz.

This first appeared in the May 2014 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly magazine.

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