As a coach, I love to work with creative leaders who are ready for something new, helping them amplify their inner strength so they can own their purpose, move forward, and live true. So when it comes to recommending coaching, my biases are clear. So is my expertise. From my own experience, I know how valuable coaching can be—it can help people transform, accomplish more than they thought possible, and develop skills they didn’t even know they needed. If you’re a leader, I can think of at least 10 reasons you should work with a coach.
1. You Need to Be Known
Like everyone else, you need to be seen, heard, and known for who you are, apart from your vocation and calling. You need to be known as the unique human being God made you to be.
God certainly loves you more tenderly than you can imagine. But God is not the only one who holds the power to bless us with seeing and loving. He has shared that power with us, and we play a potent role in each other’s lives. We all need someone else’s courageous eye. Who is helping you grow? Who is helping you see the truth about yourself? Who is helping you see what you could be and do? Leaders of all kinds can feel lonely and isolated by expectations and boundaries.
2. You Can’t Afford to Live Unintentionally
So many of us go through life mostly reacting to what comes our way. We find ourselves thrown around by life’s happenings and eventually forget the power of our own intention. We forget that while we can’t control all our circumstances, we do get to decide how we will respond. While we don’t get to make all our dreams come true, we do get to choose what to strive for. We do get to orient our lives around the things that matter most to us.
With multiple stakeholders vying for attention and priority, a leadership role can be a brutally difficult place to find a sense of focus, let alone the intentional forethought that equips a leader to act out of importance rather than urgency, calling rather than reaction. And it can be all too easy to lose one’s way, the reason you took on this role in the first place.
Here’s the deal: We can’t really live without purpose. If we don’t own our purpose, others will choose their own purposes for us. We unintentionally abdicate our responsibility to live the lives we were put here to live.
3. Your Team Needs You to Be You
Being you is a tremendous privilege—no one else gets to do it. And it’s no use trying to be someone else. You won’t pull it off.
The people you lead need you to know who you are and to be that person. God didn’t put you where you are so you could strive to be someone you’re not or to suppress your personality in deference to what you think the world wants from you. You were put here to be the person God made you to be—and to be the best, most mature version of yourself.
If you’re like the rest of us, sometimes you need help to better understand who you are. Among the best ways to know ourselves is in relationship with others. Coaching is a relationship designed to facilitate that kind of discovery. When you bring yourself into relationship with a coach who uses tools to help you grow and transform, great things can (and do) happen.
4. Your Values Drive You
Whether or not you’re aware of them, your values drive your choices, your interaction with others, and your sense of frustration or fulfillment. When you have the opportunity to live in a way that honors your values, you feel a sense of satisfaction and engagement. When you see your values violated through either your own choices or the attitudes and behaviors of people around you, you find yourself not only discontented, but often in conflict with others as well. But you may not know why.
You can go through life either unaware or aware of your personal values. Either way, they hold a claim on you. A coach can help you get in touch with what matters most to you so you can take steps to honor those values. This process can also help you see why you have some of the conflicts you have with other people–in some cases these conflict are about opposing values clashing.
5. Alignment Matters
Once you’ve identified your own sense of purpose and your personal values, it’s important to consider whether your life is in proper alignment. This means living a life that honors your values, works toward your sense of purpose and calling, and produces consistency in your private and public lives—otherwise known as integrity.
Like a life without purpose, a life without integrity is not really sustainable. Human beings are made for alignment, and when we try to maintain more than one version of ourselves, eventually the effort will destroy us. It keeps us from being known and loved for who we are, it makes us into hypocrites, and it leaves us without a strong sense of our own strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.
Working with a coach can help you take ownership of who you are and exercise the courage and determination to honor your true self in private and in public.
Greater alignment also requires spiritual growth, especially when honoring our closely held values means displaying characteristics that grow only as fruit of a deeper connection with God. While coaching is not primarily a spiritual growth tool, such growth can be one effect of working with a coach.
A coach can also help you realize when you may need to make a change to your environment. No matter how intentional and purposeful you are in your private life, you will never be a good fit for an organization whose mission and values conflict with your own.
Alignment equals effectiveness. You won’t be effective unless you’re engaged in doing what matters to you and unless the people and organization around you hold a sense of purpose that overlaps with your own.
6. Your Vision Is Important
To be effective as a leader, you must have a vision for what your work might accomplish both inside and outside the organization. An inspiring leader passes this kind of vision along to the team, where it provides a sense of direction, guidance, and motivation to work in unison toward something greater.
Some leaders haven’t taken the time to develop a strong sense of vision; others have a vision that is far too small or out of keeping with the resources God has provided. Others have a strong vision with no one to hold them to actually pursuing it.
A coach can help you develop a vision that flows from your sense of purpose and calling, reaches beyond the status quo, and employs the resources in your organization. A coach can also help you find the courage and motivation you need to pursue this vision, and can hold on to the vision for you while you are tempted to get sidetracked by all that threatens to distract you from moving toward something greater.
7. You Listen to Lies
You need someone to challenge the lies you tell yourself–and to help you make the choice to stop believing them. We all tell ourselves lies, some of which come in the form of disparaging messages about ourselves. Sometimes these internal messages are subtle, and that’s when they’re most convincing. But usually they’re not subtle at all—or even quiet. They echo in our heads and tell us things like “You’re not enough,” “You have no idea what you’re doing,” and “You don’t deserve to be loved.” We tell ourselves we aren’t qualified to lead anyone.
A coach can intentionally listen for these lies when you repeat them out loud, and can challenge them. When a relationship highlights the discrepancy between what we say is important to us and what is actually reflected in the way we live, transformation can happen and our lives can expand.
8. Accountability Is Critical
Accountability is part of any coaching relationship, and a good coach will hold you accountable not to the coach, but to yourself. It’s easier to spend your time and energy moving toward your stated goals when you know someone is going to be asking about your progress next time you talk.
9. You Need a Broader Perspective
A coach can bring some objectivity to your everyday decisions and your life’s milieu. Coaches provide perspective not only on your context, though; they can also help you see yourself in a new light.
10. You’re Always Making Decisions
As a leader, you probably realize you have a lot of decisions to make. But even if you don’t realize it, you’re setting priorities and making choices nearly all the time—in both your professional and your personal lives.
A coach can help you develop tools for making decisions in a more intentional way, a way that preserves your internal alignment. A coach can provide a reference point for setting priorities among all the options that come your way: What fits your purpose? What fits your goals? What are you well-equipped to handle? What is better handled by someone else?
© 2016 Amy Simpson.