Andrea Goodridge in leadership coaching Ad Florem

What leaders need to know about coaching part 1

This is a 3-part blog series sharing what leaders need to know about coaching

1: What coaching is, the different types of coaching, and the common concerns about having coaching
2: The areas of focus in coaching, and what happens in coaching
3: The benefits of coaching, and how to choose a coach

 

What is Coaching?

‘What is Coaching?’ is a question I get asked a lot.

The term ‘coaching’ is used in many different contexts, and therefore can mean many different things to many different people.

Generally, it’s an individualised learning process that builds your ability to achieve personal and professional goals, and enhance your performance.

John Whitmore’s definition

In 2004, John Whitmore in ‘Coaching for Performance’, defined coaching as:

“Unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

For me, this sums up my experience of coaching over the last 20 years and is based on the belief that you already have within you the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and / or to identify a route to discover the answer.

My definition

As a previous client shared

“The answers are already in your head, you just need time and space for them to emerge.”

Andrea Goodridge coaching at Ad Florem

Once they’ve emerged, you’re more likely to implement the actions because you’ll have a stronger connection to them. You’ll feel them, you’ll believe them, and you’ll own them. A completely different mindset and approach than if I just told you what to do.

Coaching provides the time and space away from the chaos and pressures of work to:

  • Reflect on yourself and the impact you have on others
  • Explore your personal and leadership challenges
  • Make behavioural changes which impact positively on you and your team

 

The different types of coaching

When you’re considering coaching, the starting point is to explore the different types of coaching.

If you look up the term ‘coaching’ you’ll find life coaching, health and fitness coaching, business coaching, executive coaching …and the list goes on. All coaching offers a space for reflection, exploration and action, and there are many different types of coaching, catering to different individuals and different needs.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the common types of coaching:

Career

Career coaching helps you if you feel like you don’t know what your next career step should be; or if you do know, but you aren’t sure how to get there. It takes a specialised focus on your career concerns and helps you take positive action towards a fulfilling career.

Personal or life

Personal or life coaching is predominantly focusing on helping you build a happy and fulfilling life. It’s helpful if you’re at a point where you want to bring about big changes to your life. It helps you identify what you want in life and how to take steps to achieve that. Life coaching can touch upon work and career issues, but it doesn’t usually provide any specific support for improving performance and career prospects in an existing role.

Performance

Performance coaching is focusing on an improvement in your performance. It looks at you and the requirements of your job, where you are with your current performance, and development to improve your competence, confidence and overall performance.

Business

Business coaching is focusing on helping business owners / leaders and their teams improve their overall business performance. It helps you take a step back and reflect on your current vision, values and strategy; address leadership and performance challenges; and develop a positive working environment.

Leadership

This type of coaching is focused on helping leaders be ‘great leaders’. It looks at regaining your confidence in leading yourself as well as leading others. It provides the time and space away from the chaos and pressures of work, for you to reflect on yourself, explore your personal and leadership challenges, and make positive changes to your mindset, behaviour and approach. This can include an organisational sponsor, which is usually your line manager.

Executive

This type of coaching is similar to leadership coaching however it’s aimed at developing the leadership skills of the organisation’s senior leaders. Again, it provides the time and space away from the chaos and pressures of work, for you to reflect on yourself, with the main focus on exploring factors that enable you to grow personally and professionally whilst delivering organisational priorities. This can include an organisational sponsor, which is usually your line manager.

Leadership and Executive coaching is where I spend my time

With over 20 years’ experience supporting leaders to focus on leading themselves first; I love what I do!

My clients say I’m understanding and challenging, insightful and practical, and always believe you can, and will, find your own answers. With this approach, I build rapport very quickly. As one of my clients shared

“Working with Andrea is like talking to a really good friend who you trust implicitly.”

I want us to have this connection, so you can be open and speak your mind, without fear of criticism or being seen as a failure, or weak.

I bring the ‘real me’ to my work. This enables you to bring your real self too. So for whatever reason my two sons walk in the room we’re working together in, they would never ask

“Why is mum behaving like that!”

That’s because from how I’m behaving, they would instantly recognise me for ‘me’, and that’s what I want for you. It’s important because when you stop pretending and take stock of your habitual thinking and unhelpful behaviours, you can discover for yourself what you need to do.

 

Common concerns about Coaching

If you’re at the stage where you’re considering coaching, you’ll probably have some concerns about coaching or doubts in your mind. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s natural to feel cautious.

I remember one of my clients saying to me at our first coaching session

“I must be your worst client.”

They said this in reference to feeling overwhelmed and juggling too many priorities. Where they would veer from the top of their game, right down to imposter in seconds. Leaving them overthinking situations, doubting themselves and failing to connect with some of their colleagues.

Reflecting back to them, that they weren’t on their own, was refreshingly reassuring for my client. Sometimes we can stay in our head, thinking these things are only happening to us. So having supported many leaders over a 20 year career, I want to ease any concerns that you have, so you can feel confident stepping outside your comfort zone.

What is Coaching?

Remember coaching provides the time and space away from the chaos and pressures of work to:

  • Reflect on yourself and the impact you have on others
  • Explore your personal and leadership challenges
  • Make positive changes to your mindset, behaviour and approach
  • All leading to regaining your confidence

It’s not a coffee and a chat. Ultimately, it’s about action and change. It’s not easy, and at times it will feel uncomfortable. Believe me, that’s a good thing.  It means you’re listening to your inner self, facing up to your challenges, and stretching yourself to make positive changes to your mindset, behaviour and approach.

Here are some of the common concerns my clients have faced before they started working with me.

I’m way too busy to make time for coaching

Having no time is a common concern faced by leaders.

When I start coaching leaders, they feel overwhelmed. Frustrated as they rush around at 100 mph with a diary full of meetings, juggling too many priorities. As a busy leader it’s easy to get caught up in going through the motions, and not focusing on yourself and your leadership practice.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to be a great leader. It means you’re not putting yourself first. That’s why it’s so important to stop, and look within yourself.

While you tell yourself, you’re ‘doing OK’, deep down you know you’re capable of so much more.

This is where taking time out for you, away from the chaos and pressures, gives you ‘thinking time:’

Time which is spent focused on you. I’m not talking about a nice coffee and a chat (although I do love coffee), I mean something that’s going to make you:

  • Speak your mind. Because when you verbalise how you feel and are listened to without criticism, you’ll feel so much better
  • Reconnect with yourself. Not only to see yourself more positively, but also to give yourself more credit, when things work well (not just feel that the success was a fluke of fate which you had little valuable input)
  • Face the things you’re not comfortable about / need to change. It’s time to confront your ‘home truths’ and say goodbye to imposter syndrome
  • Explore your thoughts, assumptions, habits and behaviours. When you stop overthinking situations, you’ll gain new perspectives of yourself and the impact you have on others
  • Look beyond the obvious. In other words, dig deep and peel back the layers to find new ways to reach your goals
  • Create your own solutions. Be ready to unlock opportunities for improvement and own your actions to promote behavioural change

And this means digging deep and peeling back the layers, to get to the heart of the issue. I’ll tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it. As one of my clients shared

“If you’re looking for an easy option, then Andrea isn’t for you.”

I challenge you to challenge yourself, so you can uncover the blocks and change your habitual thoughts and behaviour. All leading to you regaining your confidence.

Often, my clients say they have the time available once they stop focusing on ‘stuff’ and start focusing on what’s important to them.

Coaching is too expensive

The leaders I work with fall into two categories: those accessing coaching paid for by their organisation; and those self-funding the coaching. Either way, this still shows up as a concern.

Costs can vary depending on what your individual needs are; whether it’s a programme or a one-off session. When you start to look around at different coaches, you’ll find they have different fees based on their level of experience and the results you can expect to get from the coaching sessions.

It’s important to realise that coaching is an investment in yourself and your career. It’s an invaluable resource for helping you regain your confidence and become the best leader that you can be.

Coaching isn’t a one-size fits all situation and so the costs can vary depending on what your own personal circumstances are. Most coaches, myself included, offer a Right Fit Call to explore if we’re the right fit based on my coaching approach, what you’re looking for in a coaching relationship, your challenges, and your coaching needs.

I’m not very good at asking for help or being vulnerable

This is very common among leaders, as you have people constantly looking up to you; and you need to be seen as strong, confident and decisive. But you’re only human, and being able to ask for help isn’t a weakness; it’s actually a strength. It also demonstrates that you put effective outcomes above your personal pride. That’s a sign of a good leader.

As an external coach I’m completely impartial and as I don’t work in your organisation I come with no prior knowledge or am affected by any internal politics. You can be confident that anything you share is confidential and it’s a safe space to discuss anything you might be uncomfortable sharing with colleagues or your own line manager.

Another important aspect of coaching is finding a coach who gives you the space you need to speak your mind and listen without judgement. I don’t just listen to your words – I listen to all the spaces in between the words – the emotions.

As one of my clients shared

“Working with Andrea is like talking to a really good friend who you trust implicitly.”

I want us to have this connection, so you can be open and speak your mind, without fear of criticism or being seen as a failure, or weak. Read part 3 to learn how others leaders took time for themselves.

I can do this on my own

Some leaders are hesitant to start coaching as they feel they’re OK reading books, researching and accessing free information etc. This is based on the belief that knowledge exists outside of us. Whilst accessing this information is great for gaining knowledge, it will only take you so far.

Coaching gets you to look inside of you by:

  • Facing the things you’re not comfortable about / need to change
  • Confronting confront your ‘home truths’ and saying goodbye to imposter syndrome
  • Exploring your thoughts, assumptions, habits and behaviours.
  • Looking beyond the obvious
  • Digging deep and peeling back the layers to find new ways to reach your goals
  • Creating your own solutions
  • But it’s also based on the belief that you already have within you the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and / or to identify a route to discover the answer.

I believe you already have within you the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and / or to identify a route to discover the answer. Once those answers have emerged, you’re more likely to implement the actions because you’ll have a stronger connection to them. You’ll feel them, you’ll believe them, and you’ll own them. A completely different mindset and approach than if a book just told you what to do.

I’ll hold you accountable to your commitments and goals at the start and end of each session, and with ‘nudges’ in between each session.

What I find with some clients is they know what to do, but something’s just getting in the way that doesn’t allow them to do it / change it. Coaching finds that ‘something’.

When you want to change something, but then tell yourself

“I can’t commit right now …things aren’t that bad …there’s no point”.

You’re not alone. These are common excuses that get in the way of people making a change. Excuses that keep you in the status quo. Excuses that keep you overwhelmed, overthinking, doubting yourself, people pleasing and failing to connect with some of your colleagues.

You need someone who’ll help you step out of your comfort zone, even when it feels uncomfy. Someone who’ll help you listen to your self doubt, face up to your challenges and stretch you to make positive changes to your mindset, behaviour and approach.

It’s one thing knowing you need to change, it’s another thing, doing something about it. I like it when leaders realise something’s got to change. I LOVE it when leaders are courageous and take action to change. And I mean taking purposeful action based on your new personal insights and perspectives (not just doing stuff for the sake of it, or ticking boxes).

I don’t want my organisational sponsor to know everything

If you are working within an organisation and you have a sponsor as part of the coaching, remember their role is to provide encouragement and leadership to you throughout the coaching relationship. They will be involved in the initial objective setting session to agree your coaching objectives and measures of success; and the regular check-ins to evaluate the outcomes of your coaching sessions and evaluate the overall coaching experience.

They are not involved in the coaching sessions and therefore any content discussed during these sessions will not be shared with your organisational sponsor unless there is a serious concern about the safety of you or others.

Confidentiality is maintained between you and I in line with the Association for Coaching and European Mentoring and Coaching Council Global Code of Ethics.

Remember

Remember you’re not alone in these concerns and it’s natural to feel cautious; and rest assured safe in the knowledge that leaders who’ve worked through these concerns have developed into great leaders who are flourishing in their life and work. Their only regret was not starting the coaching sooner.

 

Want to take some time out to focus on you?

Remember, you can’t be a great leader, if you’re not a great you. It’s time to invest in yourself.

So no matter what you feel is stopping you from feeling happy and positive, or standing in the way of you regaining your confidence – whether it’s your family, your colleagues, your working environment or the culture of your organisation – I promise you, it isn’t that!

My challenge is always, let’s start with YOU!

Regaining your confidence on the inside, as well as the outside, doesn’t happen by magic!

It really is going to take effort on your part. It’s going to mean you being:

  • Honest with yourself and open to speak your mind, without fear of criticism, or being seen as a failure or weak
  • Positive about yourself, so you can feel confident in yourself and have belief in your abilities
  • Willing to confront your ‘home truths’ and face the things you’re not comfortable about or need to change
  • Curious, through reflection, exploration, and challenge, so you can gain new perspectives of yourself and the impact you have on others
  • Committed to reflect at a deep level and trust that you’ll find your own answers
  • Open minded, and willing to try new ways of thinking and new approaches, to develop outside your comfort zone
  • Serious in your intent to change, see through your commitments and inform Andrea when things aren’t working for you

When you consider what this will bring you, believe me it’s worth it!

One last thing …

I know it can feel like a huge stretch to do something for yourself.

But here’s the thing …

If you don’t start to explore your personal and leadership challenges, you’ll never regain your confidence.

You’ll continue to:

  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Rush around at 100 mph, have a diary full of meetings, and juggle too many priorities.
  • Veer from the top of your game, right down to imposter
  • Doubt yourself and your abilities
  • Withdraw from speaking up, overthink situations, and fear making a mistake or messing up.
  • Fail to connect with some of your colleagues, and wonder ‘what have I done?’

You have to stop and ask yourself “why?”

How about joining me in learning a new way?

One that gives you permission to

  • Rethink your self doubt and believe in yourself
  • Say goodbye to imposter syndrome and feeling like a fraud.
  • Start to focus on key priorities, take purposeful action and feel a sense of personal ownership.
  • Express what you really think and feel with others.
  • Feel confident about yourself.
  • Have more meaningful conversations
  • Show up as the real you.

As a result you’ll feel happier and be able to enjoy your job once again. You’ll feel reinvigorated and enthusiastic as you start to believe in yourself. You’ll not only be confident on the outside, but you’ll feel it on the inside too.

It’s time to regain your confidence.

And you can do this when you join my Reflect, Explore, Change coaching programme today.

Book a Right Fit Call to see if we’re a good fit

 

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You can’t be a great leader, if you’re not a great you.

Andrea helps you focus on leading yourself first, so you can be a great leader. Start getting your regular dose of leadership tips and inspiration with the ‘Leadership Breather’ – encouraging you to give yourself a breather and take 5 minutes for you.

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