How is Your Coach a “Thinking Partner?”

November 29, 2016

How many times have you found that you strike your short-term tasks off your TO-DO list, whereas the more strategic and difficult items stay on that list longer than you would like?  Your executive coach can help.

A coach as a “thinking partner” can help to create focus and accountability to ensure you advance those difficult goals in a timely manner.  Developing your coaching plan around long-term, strategic activities and implementing a regular meeting schedule with your coach will ensure that you address these goals and move them forward.  Using a coach will give you time to deeply explore what’s holding you back, to more efficiently determine a path forward, to ensure you are accountable to yourself, and to empower you to progress.  After all, it’s only a coaching conversation if there is commitment to action.

According to master coach Robert Hargrove, a world famous thought leader on executive coaching, there are four key roles coaching plays to support executives to improve judgements, enhance decisions, and to accomplish goals.  Coaches:

  • Enable the executive to recognize the winds of change and the time of decision: executives often see the world through the rear-view mirror, mistaking were they have been for where they are going.  Coaches help you focus forward.
  • Name and frame the decision or dilemma in a way that gets to the heart of the matter: before we identify a solution, we need to explore, clarify and define a problem.  Your coach can guide the conversation in this way.
  • Mobilize and energize the team: executives have multiple demands and tend to be highly reactive; your coach as thinking partner will slow the conversation down to check reasoning and data for informed decision making.
  • Get leaders to execute the decision and make adjustments along the way: coaches can help executives identify the substance of a decision to take action and not get mired in minutia. Coaches help executives to make adjustments along the way, to be committed, and be open to feedback and learning.

There are many short-term tasks that can fill up our hours, days, weeks, and months.  In addition, we live in a world of distractions, information overload with multiple email accounts, social media, and texting, to name a few.   Your coach can provide that much-needed paradigm shift for you to be able to move forward. The personal success you will feel by advancing long-term goals will be well worth the effort.  In addition, the ability to move your organization ahead by focussing on big -picture items will demonstrate your insight, innovation, and leadership strength.