In today’s post, Melisa Liberman, host of upcoming MBO webinar “Using an Executive Coach to Accelerate Your Career Revenue” and an executive coach specializing in tech leaders, offers actionable tips from her own experience as both a “coach” and a “coachee” to help independent professionals considering coaching for future career growth or career transition.
When you think of an “executive coach”, does it seem like a coach is only appropriate for Fortune 100 Executives?
Do you wonder if an executive coach could be for you?
How will you know when or if a coach would benefit you?
I was resistant to hiring a coach in the past
For me, when I was in corporate, I had an executive title and was on the management team.
Even thought I had this label of “executive”, the thought never crossed my mind that a coach would be a benefit.
Later, when I started my management consulting practice, it took me 4 years before I hired my first coach.
I felt very resistant and defensive toward coaches.
As an executive and then management consultant, I thought:
- I should already know what I’m doing.
- I shouldn’t ask for help.
- I don’t want anyone else to know that I have skills gaps and shortcomings. If one person finds out, everyone might find out!
- I’m giving other people advice. I should be the expert.
These were all thought errors on my part.
And, they were signs that I could have benefitted from a coach.
I’ll tell you more.
Hiring a coach was one of the best decisions I made as a management consultant
After I had been working as a management consultant for 4 years, I hired my first coach.
What prompted me to hire a coach?
I had been consulting for about 4 years and I wanted to explore expanding my business so it was more scalable and expanded the revenue mix beyond my billable hours.
I also wanted a sounding board. It was lonely working solo. I missed the corporate colleagues who I could bounce ideas off of, and their consistent advice.
I let go of my ego. I saw that an outside, expert perspective could help me see what I was missing.
I realized that I could accomplish my goals faster if I found someone who had already been there, done that.
I released my limiting beliefs that I should
- Already be an expert
- Figure it out on my own
I opened up to the idea that getting help didn’t mean I was inadequate.
And, with that, I hired my first coach, and have had at least one coach (sometimes more….) ever since.
Through coaches, I’ve been able to
- Doubled my revenue
- Clarified my goals and passions
- Learned and implemented best-practice sales and marketing techniques, so I have a repeatable and predictable revenue stream
- Embraced networking when, in the past, I avoided it at all costs
- Learned how to set and achieve goals faster than I ever had on my own
- Revised my self-identity from corporate executive to entrepreneur
- Learned how to use failure as a tool instead of something to avoid
- And so much more
3 signs an executive coach will benefit you
So, what about you?
Here are 3 signs that it might be the right time for you to hire a coach:
You’ve set a new goal that you haven’t achieved before
A coach can help you in three ways to accomplish almost any goal you set. He or she will help you
- make sure your plan is thorough and avoids potential pitfalls
- Help you maintain momentum through accountability
- Overcome your resistance as you execute the plan
Here’s a story from my own experience, as an example:
A few years ago, I set a goal to double my revenue.
In the past, without a coach, when I set a goal I would
- Start off so excited at the possibility of achieving the outcome
- And then, when that excitement wore off, my brain went nuts, thinking of all the reasons why the goal wasn’t realistic.
- I would tell myself I was a logical person and from that, it would be smart to revise the goal.
- Or, I would choose a new goal entirely and start over.
- In short, I would sabotage myself.
Can you relate to any of this?
It’s like the common New Year’s Resolution cycle….
Luckily, this time, when I set the goal to double my revenue, I had a coach.
She helped me
- Recognize and process the self-doubt as it came up.
- Anticipate and work through the obstacles as I progressed.
- Pivot and persist until I reached the goal.
It was so worth it to have her by my side!
Here are a few signs that you could benefit from a coach as you work toward your goal:
- You notice resistance to the goal, that it doesn’t feel possible.
- You’ve tried to achieve the goal in the past but keep hitting away, starting and stopping.
- You want to accelerate your progress and achieve the goal faster.
You’re missing something
As an independent, you’re usually asked to be all things – marketing, sales, delivery, operations, finance, and customer service.
Some of these skills come naturally to you, from your past experience and personality.
Others not so much.
If you’re like most independents, you have gaps.
Your initial inclination might be to outsource the areas where you’re not as comfortable. For example, you could hire someone to handle your marketing and drive leads to you.
One of the keys to outsourcing effectively is that you first understand the function in order to manage it much more effectively.
A coach can help you learn the new skill and improve upon it.
Then, you can outsource it if you want.
For me, I knew that sales was one of my biggest gaps.
In fact, I used to joke about the sales team (many of whom are still good friends) at my corporate job and how they never really needed to worry about reality.
Now, all of a sudden, I needed to be a salesperson. And, I only had myself to rely upon.
I realized I had 2 choices:
- I could either DIY and learn sales through books and online courses
- Or, I could hire a coach who could help me accomplish my goals much faster.
I hired the coach.
Her focus was teaching “high ticket sales.” That’s it.
We worked together for a quarter. She taught me a sales framework and evaluated my calls.
My close rate improved.
I started thinking of myself as a consultative salesperson, something I would have mocked just a few years ago.
But, my bottom line improved through this and that was my goal.
Here are some signs that a coach could help you fill in a skill gap:
- You struggle with finding and signing new clients
- You aren’t sure how or where to build up your brand as a thought leader
- Your revenue has been flat or declining
- You know it’s time to raise your prices but you’re not sure how
You are stalled and considering quitting
As an independent, it’s common to feel self-doubt, uncertainty and overwhelmed.
For many independents, these feelings lead them to quit their IC practice and go back to corporate even though they really don’t want to.
A coach can help you sort out these concerns.
A coach can help you make a decision about your future based on reasons you like and not out of fear or scarcity.
A coach can help you figure out a plan to keep going if you want to. Or, a plan to return to corporate if that makes most sense.
Without the shame.
Here are some signs that a coach could help you get out of your own way:
- Do you frequently question whether or not this is the “right” path for you?
- Do you wonder if you should go back to corporate where it seems more predictable?
- Do you question whether or not you’ll be able to make this IC thing work in the short or long run?
So, that’s it. The 3 signs you could benefit from hiring an executive coach to support you.
- You’ve set a new goal that you haven’t achieved before
- You’re missing something and/or
- You are stalled and considering quitting
If you can relate to one or more of these challenges, look into hiring a coach to support you.
In the webinar, Melisa will discuss:
- What an executive coach does
- Why you may need an executive coach
- How to find a coach that is the best fit for you
- What to expect from executive coaching
View Melisa Liberman’s website and find her on LinkedIn.
About the author
Melisa Liberman is an executive coach who coaches fellow tech leaders helping them find, land and thrive in their dream jobs, including as an Independent Consultant (IC). She offers a unique approach to her coaching clients, by combining her extensive industry and domain expertise with the mindset tools and strategies from her life coaching certification.
This post is a guest contribution from a member of our MBO Advantage community. MBO Advantage is MBO’s premier membership program that offers dedicated, personal support to independent professionals so they can maximize the value of their expertise.