I took this photo of the Lone Cypress while travelling on the famous 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula in California not long ago. I’ve seen pictures of this famous landmark over the years, but nothing compared to being there. For me this ancient tree symbolized the times when, against all odds, we hang on tight while the waves of life shake the ground beneath us. It’s a lonely feeling.
No matter how connected and collaborative you are, there are days when nobody gets what you are going through. When the challenges you face are yours and yours alone. This is true for all of us from time to time, but it is particularly true if you are in a leadership role.
It can be difficult to know who you can trust, who you can talk to and who will tell you the truth no matter what.
Enter the leadership coach. A confidential thinking partner. The person in your corner when the chips are down and the stakes are high. A critical ally when you are ready to polish your leadership style or grow your business or prepare for a promotion or execute on a big corporate change strategy.
There are many benefits of coaching but leaders often ask me how to know when it’s time to get a coach. So, I asked my coaching colleagues and here are the top three reasons their clients seek coaching:
1. They are stuck. They feel like they’ve been handed a blindfold and a rubics cube covered in peanut butter. There is a tough tangle that needs figuring out but despite their best efforts they don’t seem to be able to solve the puzzle.
2. They are growing. They have attended classroom training and executive retreats, done a lot of reading and even have mentors. They are ready to really customize their learning and figure out what leadership means to them personally.
3. Their surroundings are changing. There is a lot of change going on in the organization and they want to support and retain their best people. But first, they need to wrap their own heads around things and figure out how best to articulate and execute.
It’s an old adage, but it still is true. It can be lonely at the top. (Or out there on a big rock). Countless leaders have learned that it doesn’t have to be if you surround yourself with the right people. There are lots of coaching success stories that prove it.
Do you have a coaching success story? I’d love to hear it! Share it in the comments box below.
Author: Cathy Shaughnessy
Cathy Shaughnessy is a PRISM award winning ICF Master Certified Coach and author of the book series The Really Competent Coach. Cathy coaches senior leaders, mentors credentialed coaches, trains fledgling coaches and helps organizations build strong coaching cultures.
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