In today’s post, Melisa Liberman, 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.
Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google) have both advised that “everyone needs a coach.” While they encourage everyone to hire an executive coach, there are also good reasons not to do so.
Before you hire a coach, think about your goals and the results you want to achieve in working with a coach. Then, compare them to this list of the top 5 reasons NOT to hire a coach. Are you hiring a coach for the “wrong” reason, and thus setting yourself up for failure? Here are 5 reasons why hiring a coach may not be right for you and your business at this moment:
1. You want someone to do the work for you.
A coach’s role is to help you identify roadblocks and create solutions that you might not have created working on your own. They leverage their own experience and expertise to help you unlock the power of your own mind. They help you craft and execute the game plans that result in accomplishing your goals.
They don’t do the work for you!
- They don’t take ownership of creating your plan.
- They don’t execute part or all of your plans.
In this case, it’s better suited to work with a consultant or even a specialized virtual assistant.
2. You won’t prioritize the time.
Working effectively with a coach requires anywhere from 30 minutes to 2+ hours a week, depending on the coach’s program. On top of the actual coaching, you’ll want to set aside to implement the learnings from your coaching calls. If you aren’t ready to prioritize the time investment, to show up consistently for yourself, then you aren’t ready for a coach.
3. You want someone to tell you exactly what to do.
Good executive coaches are able to guide you using their own experience and expertise. They may also have a framework, blueprint or specific method they can teach you to achieve your specific goals. But their job isn’t to tell you exactly what to do. Their job is to help guide you to find those answers for yourself so that you unlock your own brainpower. It can be easy for those of us who are former corporate, turned independents to look to other people to give us our marching orders as we did in our corporate life. As an entrepreneur, building the skill of trusting ourselves to create solutions is one of the keys to success. To this end, a good executive coach can help guide and mentor you, but you don’t want to rely on them to tell you what you should be doing and how to do it.
4. You don’t want to be challenged.
If you want someone who will commiserate with you, then a coach isn’t a good fit. A good coach isn’t the best friend who jumps into the pool with you, agreeing with your perception of right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure. Instead, a good coach is someone who challenges your view of reality and helps you achieve the results you want by questioning your thinking and the actions you’re taking (or not taking) toward your goals.
5. You don’t want to be open.
Coaches are professional question-askers. Part of their job is to ask you the “hard” questions you wouldn’t think to ask yourself. If you don’t want someone questioning you, to help you see your limitations, your motivations and how your current thinking could be flawed, then coaching might not be a good fit for you.
Before you hire an executive coach, it’s best to know when it won’t work – you’ll save yourself time, money, and headache down the road. If any of the above scenarios sound like you, consider taking a bit of time before making the leap and the investment.
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. Visit our App Store to book a consultation with Melisa.