By Kirk McCarley,
It’s been more than eight years since, with the help of my coach at the time, I made the decision that I too wanted to pursue executive career and life coaching. It is a choice for which I remain without regret.
The world’s most outstanding performers, be it in music or theater, just about all have coaches to work with them on not only new ideas, but the fundamentals of their trades. Professional athletes have their coaches but beyond that have specialists to work with them on many other aspects of work and life: nutrition, finances, dealing with the media.
In any profession it is all too easy to fall into bad habits where we get distracted and take our eye off the ball, so to speak. Aware of these considerations it was critical for me to align with a group of other coaching professionals for not only continuing education, but for peer association. Fortunately there is a local chapter of the International Coaching Federation with whom I’ve aligned.
Beyond that, however, I discovered it necessary to identify someone who I could not only bounce ideas off of, but who possessed the objectivity to evaluate my approaches, techniques and processes, and provide constructive feedback. One criterion was someone whose coaching business was further developed than was mine. I also wanted a coach who, like me, had established their business and understood the mechanics of running a solo shop.
I am able to align with such an individual. Among the markers I have used to characterize him as an effective coach:
- Launching a business is difficult. There is much to learn and with learning comes mistakes. Mistakes lead to disappointments and disappointments to self-doubt. During those difficult periods my coach has buoyed my spirits, yet also challenged me to stretch for a potential that I believed was beyond my grasp.
- His coaching technique applies parallels and metaphors that speak to me. As a fan of sports and music, phrases such as “keep your eye on the ball,” “anticipate the pass,” “find your cadence,” or “strive for harmony,” resonate.
- He challenges me to seek continual improvement and advancement. For me, and I suppose the case is for many of us, contentment can come easily. Small businesses get to where they want to be and coast. An executive advances to her dream job at age 45 and by the time they’re 50 drift towards “autopilot.” A football team takes a four touchdown lead into the fourth quarter and moves away from their game plan. We’ve all too often seen the results. The small business stagnates. The executive finds the dream job boring and checks out. With three minutes to go in the game the once substantial lead melts to a single touchdown.
- Like a grip on a golf club or tennis racket or a powerpoint presentation to a group of sales executives, form and techniques can become sloppy unless we are grounded in fundamentals, examine our approach, and make course corrections. My coach has been an accountability partner who provides an objectively encouraging voice and view.
Regardless of where you are in your business or personal life, how do you know if you’re living it abundantly? Who can you learn from? Who is the voice that keeps you focused and on target? Who provides accountability to keep the fire burning as you face obstacles that try to take you of course from your hopes and dreams?
As we flip the page to 2022, how do you become your best self? Is it time now to do it a bit differently and solicit a business advisor, mentor, or coach to take your “game” to the next level.
A graduate of the University of North Texas, Kirk McCarley is a Certified Professional Coach as well as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM-CP Certified. He also is a Production Assistant for both college football and basketball for ESPN and leads group cycling classes as a Certified Spinning instructor. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, https://theseedsowercoach.com, or call 314-677-8779.
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