Coaching works when you find the right coach (and when you're ready to leave your comfort zone).
I get it.
You’re paid and admired for your ability to get results. To put out fires. To think in innovative ways and solve problems that make most people’s heads spin.
And you’re very good at it.
Like most successful individuals, entrepreneurs and executives are experts in getting the best out of themselves and the people around them. However, unlike everyone else, they have to stomach a substantial amount of responsibility for other people’s welfare.
They are the ones responsible for putting food on the table. They are the ones ensuring that their company is a well-oiled machine ready to pivot at a moment’s notice to ever-changing market demands. The buck stops with them.
All of this pressure to perform – to be accountable, responsive, and focused – leads to a growth-oriented mentality that builds and sustains incredible success. Unfortunately, though, the mentality required to be at the top of your game in business is rarely correlated with emotional wellbeing.
You can pretend that you can do the best of both worlds. And it is possible. But it’s exceedingly rare to do so.
I know because I help people walk that line – the thin line between success in the material world and fulfillment in the emotional and spiritual domains. As a coach working with entrepreneurs and executives, I’ve discovered a few important things that clients need to know about coaching.
I think they’re important truths that we should all think about as we attempt to balance our pursuit of professional success with discovering personal fulfillment.
Below are seven things all entrepreneurs and executives need to know about coaching and real self-development.
1. Coaching works when you find the right coach (and when you’re ready to leave your comfort zone).
Yes, you need to find the right fit. But even more than that, you need to be willing to leave your comfort zone.
You walk around all day showing up as your very best in most interactions. Coaching and therapy are different.
The goal isn’t to knock every answer out of the park – it’s to stumble. To look at things through a new lens that has nothing to do with productivity or performance. That’s difficult. And it won’t be perfect–it’s an investment of time, energy, and trust.
2. The mentality you use as a professional is not the mentality you need for optimal personal growth.
When you approach personal growth with the mentality of productivity, you’re missing the point. You’re removing the “personal” part of that equation and merely consuming more “growth”.
Personal growth requires patience. Surrender. Connection. And it is dependent on your ability to let go rather than to grasp the steering wheel harder and harder until you have white knuckles.
You’re already a great driver. Coaching is about learning how to let go and trust the GPS inside of yourself.
3. To get the most out of coaching, you need to do what’s counterintuitive: focus on the process, not the desired outcome.
None of this is part of your daily life – so it’ll take some adjusting. But I promise it’ll pay off.
4. Trusting the process means experiencing uncertainty and uncomfortable emotions while believing that doing so will lead to positive results–even if you can’t see them.
Sometimes personal growth happens in a single moment. A single sentence unlocks something within yourself and shifts your perspective. That type of insight isn’t an outcome that you can force – it’s a result that occurs spontaneously in an authentic self-development practice.
Trust the process and know that results will come when you’re ready.
5. Talking about self-development without taking action is a defense mechanism that’s preventing your growth.
When you talk about personal growth practices and don’t do them, you’re evading responsibility for your emotional wellbeing. And that’s understandable – you already have a lot of responsibility on your plate – but let’s call it what it is: avoidance.
Avoidance doesn’t mean that you’ll never practice what you preach, it just means that you’re still in the preparation phase. And that’s okay. Just don’t confuse talk for action – it prevents you from making real changes.
6. Deep coaching work means acknowledging that you’ve lost pieces of yourself on your journey to success. And that hurts.
We all lose parts of ourselves that we value – our creativity, our spontaneity, our time with family members, our friendships, our playfulness, our time without cell phones and emails. Coaching and therapy involve acknowledging that loss and then taking meaningful steps to reconnect with what’s most important.
7. Effective work not only improves your professional performance, it also increases personal fulfillment.
Yes, the results from real self-development practices like coaching and therapy will improve your performance at work. You’ll have better concentration. Focus. Motivation. And you’ll show up better in each of your interactions.
But the most important part of personal growth is fulfillment. The feeling of authenticity that comes from being connected to yourself and others in ways that add real value – the type of value that can’t be quantified – to your life.
Take the leap. Trust yourself. And follow your intuition–the journey will be even more rewarding than the destination.
— Matthew Jones, Life Coach and Licensed Therapist
This article was originally published on Inc.com.
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