Just recently I was asked by a friend if a coach would be able to do for his business what the fictional coach in Billions, Wendy Rhoades, did for fictional hedge fund, Axe Capital. At the time I laughed and said something about coaches in real life being a heck of a lots less glamorous and rather more conservative (if you’ve watched Billions, you’ll know that Wendy has some ‘interesting’ hobbies!!).
However, on hindsight, I think I was rather rash in dismissing Wendy as a realistic representative of the business coaching profession… If you look at what she turns around for Axe Capital, there is the potential for a strong coach to do just the same for your business (perhaps with slightly different methods), as long as everyone involved in the process is open to it. In Billions, highly stressed and anxious traders have Wendy to turn to when their performance at work takes a dip, they start to doubt their place at the company, or if it is simply all getting too much. She is then able to get them in the right place emotionally to restore their confidence and focus and, as a result, their profitability as a trader. In Axe Capital, Wendy isn’t simply an extension of the HR function. She is absolutely central to the success of the fund, and very much valued as such by an exceptionally astute (albeit slightly dodgy) boss!
So, here we go! I can’t promise that you’ll make Billions, but here are 5 ways a coach will make a real difference to the success of your business!
It’s essential that your business, and its people, are focussed on the right goals to achieve your long term aims for the business. The ‘right’ goals will need to be realistic – but they should be bold too. A coach can help you to identify the right goals, encourage you to be bold and go for what you really want. They will help you to get ‘unstuck’ when the going gets tough and find and keep up your motivation (Wendy would probably give you a kick up the proverbial if she thought you needed it!).
2. Creativity and problem solving
A coach can provide you with a safe forum for brainstorming ideas (especially the wild ones!), test theories and thrash out solutions to problems and blockers. Time with a coach gives us the space we so often lack to be creative and think things through properly.
Many Corporates are now recognising that layers of bureaucracy and years of conditioning people into set roles and ways of thinking are holding employees back from demonstrating their true potential – and therefore holding back the business from achieving its full potential. They talk about behaving more like a small business – being more agile, encouraging employees to approach problems in a more innovative way and embracing a more entrepreneurial mindset. I can’t think of a better way to help individuals unlock these skills and develop their confidence to be innovative and entrepreneurial than a good coach.
Not many people really like change and so if your business is going through a significant change programme, a coach can be a very worth while investment in helping you to change mindsets, positively overcome resistance and bring employees with you. A coach can support and help individuals to manage stress, difficult relationships and work life balance concerns.
4. Attracting & retaining the best people
In a competitive jobs market and with workers having an increasingly ‘millennial mindset’ (ie personal fulfillment and meaningful work is now more important than salary to a big section of the workforce), employers are having to think outside of the box in terms of how they attract and retain the best people. Bright, capable people are likely to be keen to learn and continuously develop their skills. They’re also likely to want to take on new challenges and see that there is genuine opportunity to move on up or enrich their roles within the organisation. As well as being a very effective personal development support for current employees, knowing that an employer is willing to invest in business coaching for their people will be a big attraction for many prospective new employees.
5. Fulfilling potential
Coaches have become a common way for organisations to develop their managers’ and leaders’ mindsets and skills – usually once they have already reached this point in their careers and often only when an individual is struggling (I have seen many organisations use coaches a bit like a sticking plaster!). What is often missed, however, is the untapped potential in people earlier on in their careers. If you engage a coach to help you to recognise, develop and harness this potential in individuals earlier on, you will have much more confident, effective and successful managers and leaders coming through.
Most of us have a tendency to sit in our comfort zones and never fully explore or fulfill our potential. To quote the great, fictional Wendy Rhoades herself (borrowed from Jung!), “In each of us there is another self we do not know.”! A coach can be a very effective way to help an individual or or small group try new things, explore their own ideas and successfully take on new challenges.
At Arbre, we are passionate about helping people to explore their ‘lesser known self’ and fulfill their potential through performance coaching. Do contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more.