“Coaching done well may by the most effective intervention designed for human performance.”
– Atul Gawande MD
Writing for The New Yorker a few years ago, Dr. Gawande makes a strong case for coaching as the best way for any professional to achieve peak performance.
Can you imagine an athlete winning Olympic gold without a coach?
Why should it be any different for doctors or any other professional?
So what does “coaching done well” look like?
For me, it begins and ends with one thing: Raising awareness.
I believe the most effective route to personal growth is through increased awareness about:
1. Who (and where) you are right now
2. What drives (and blocks) you
3. How you interact with others & your environment
Once you understand yourself, including your blind spots, only then can you effectively lead others.
Without access to your true self, warts and all, you’ll never achieve your true leadership potential.
I feel so strongly about it, in fact, that I see it as both the primary method and goal of coaching (done well).
Raise Awareness, Lead Better
Here are 3 reasons why coaching that raises your awareness makes you a better leader:
1. Better Decisions
I believe that the primary objective of most every coaching exchange should be to help you raise awareness about where you are right now and how you wish to move forward.
This includes looking at obstacles that are holding you back and other blind spots you are unaware of.
By getting a clear picture of your roadblocks and potential pitfalls, you can make better decisions.
PRO TIP: Take a personality psychometric like the MBTI to get to know yourself better, especially your roadblocks and potential pitfalls!
2. People Development
If you’d like someone to develop a specific skill, for example, ask them first what skill or area they think they need to develop – before telling them what you think!
By having an open two-way feedback exchange, you help them raise awareness about their development needs.
By asking questions instead of giving orders, they’ll be much more open to what you have to say.
PRO TIP: If you have different opinions regarding what they need to develop, you can still co-create a development plan with them. This will ensure that they have at least partial ownership – a must-have for their real motivation.
3. Problem Solving
By recognizing a complex issue as a polarity to manage rather than as a problem to be solved, you open the door to the possibility of resolution.
Raising your awareness to those complexities and the common interests of the key players puts the focus on your common goal of resolution and takes if off your differences.
Below is a personal story about the polarities of harmony and conflict that I had to resolve before I could move forward in my career.
What are two forces inside you that need balancing?
Awareness For Peak Performance
About ten years ago I wanted to learn more about myself so I took the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). One thing that came out in one of the reports was my clear preference for harmony.
As a coach and facilitator, one of the constant realities of my job is conflict. Conflict in the form of a roadblock in a team that wishes to increase trust, but needs to first address an underlying issue. Or, resistance in a coaching client that wishes to change a pattern but isn’t ready to look at the real situation.
However, for me to be effective in my job, there are times when I need to challenge a team or individual to address the conflict.
With a strong preference for harmony, this is not easy. In fact, it can be very uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, to be effective in my job I’ve had to reconcile these two polarities.
Ten years on, do you think my preference has changed?
No. But, what has changed is my awareness of this paradox, which drives my peak performance.
Find Your Flow Today
Coaching done well raises awareness.
As established, increased awareness helps you better lead yourself and others.
It also leads to action with a clear intention – deliberate action that’s connected to your key goals and priorities.
Coming from a place of heightened awareness, you can operate in your flow to perform at your best.
Thanks for reading!
For my FREE ADVICE to find your flow, drop me a note and let's chat: firstname.lastname@example.org