The Chicken & The Pig
An executive coach is not a silver bullet for your problems. But what do you need to do before you engage an executive coach, and to make sure you get the most out of your time with them?
Coaching is a two-way process and dialog, based on open, honest communication and a strong commitment to self-improvement and learning. It requires effort, discipline and humility – on both sides.
But the question to ask yourself is are you ready to be coached?
Coaching starts with the coachee – the person being coached. There is an old joke that goes, “How many shrinks does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb must want to change.”
If you want to be coached you need to be committed: “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed”
Unless you are willing to change, and are committed to doing so, then no coach can help you. Before a coach can help you, you need to help yourself so you in turn can help others. It is like being on an airplane when an emergency occurs – the first instruction is for you to put you oxygen mask on yourself before you help others. So you need to be willing to change before any other change can take place. Change starts with you, not with others.
Even if we think that we want to change this is not always true. The human capacity for self-deception is well-known. We can rationally believe that we want to change, but unless we are emotionally invested in changing it will not last. Logic makes people think, but emotions makes people act.
We often overestimate our capacity to change ourselves. Even in situations which can be life-threatening our resistance to changing ourselves. Studies show that, when giving up smoking, it takes on average seven attempts and five years; and that half of those quit on New Year’s Eve start smoking again within ten days. This is despite the overwhelming evidence and availability of information on the risks associated with smoking.
How Do We Reduce Our Resistance to Change
1. Create Commitment, Not Compliance
Research has shown that compliance, when you are responding to a demand, incentive or threat only works in the short-term. As soon as the pressure is removed people revert to their original behavior. This is because we are not motivated to change – motivation only comes from within yourself, not externally. Demands, incentives or threats are there to make you avoid something.
Commitment comes from within you because you are personally engaged in achieving a personal change. This is the only way of maintaining the change for the long-term and on an on-going basis. As such commitment comes from your beliefs and mindset.
However, a mindset is not just brought into being. It has to be developed – you need to view the change as an opportunity and not a problem; to see the opportunity to grow the pie rather than seeing it as of a fixed size where others only gain if you lose and vice-versa.
2. Commit to the Coaching Process, Don’t Just Participate
When it comes to a breakfast of eggs and bacon there is a major difference – the chicken is participating, but the pig is committed. Which are you – the chicken or the pig – when it comes to the coaching process? You need to be invested in it and have skin in the game.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
Do you really want someone to coach you and to be candid and honest with you? Or are you looking for having you ego stroked and lots of unqualified encouragement? If you are the latter then don’t hire a coach – save your money and don’t waste the coach’s time.
Coaching will do nothing for you unless you are willing to change. Be clear on whether you want to be coached or not, what you want to achieve from the process, and whether you are committed to it or not. It’s up to you.
Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.