Why Coaching Works

These days, information is free. We have access to virtually anything within the click of a button. What holds value now is no longer information.

It’s not even about intelligence.

What holds the most value now is wisdom.

I was working with a client the other day who said, “I’m so glad we’re having this conversation right now. There’s no one else I can talk to about this.”

The ability to have a deep conversation with someone who helps you gain insight and accurately reflects back what you’re thinking and feeling is critical in a time when we’re flooded with information.

Helping you gain wisdom is one of the core tenets of coaching.

After years of working with dozens of leaders, here are five reasons why you may want to consider hiring a coach for yourself and the leaders in your organization.

A Coach Helps You See Your Genius

I’ve worked with one business owner over the past few years, and it’s been incredible to help her with growth of her company. The key component to this was helping her see her own genius.

When we met she had her hands in every part of the business, from sales to marketing, to content creation and delivery, to operations. She was frazzled, and just barely holding it together. The only things that kept her going were her passion for the industry, and her love for her clients.

From day one, we focused on defining her genius. We mapped out her responsibilities, and it wasn’t hard to see that content creation and delivery were what really lit her up—when she was able to focus on these, time passed without her noticing, and she felt truly in the flow.

From there, it started to become more obvious what the energy suckers were—mostly operations, and managing the team. Then she was able to make the necessary adjustments. She promoted one of her executives to COO, putting him in charge of running much of the day-to-day, while she focused on creating and delivering content.

Being able to focus exclusively on the parts of her business that light her up on a day-to-day basis has helped her not only to increase revenue and grow the company, but also to actually enjoy her business. She tapped into her zone of genius, and organized the growth of her company around her passion.

A Coach Helps You Find and Remove Hidden Roadblocks

Another client of mine was trying to figure out what was holding her business back. Most notably to me, she was having issues with the people on her team—something was misaligned.

As she told me about one of her team members who was asking for more money, I could tell my client was becoming anxious by the topic. I asked her if giving this employee more money and more work would serve the business. She was very clear that it wouldn’t.

When I asked her what was holding her back, a pattern in my client’s experience as a business owner revealed itself:

a) an employee would ask for something
b) my client would realize it wouldn’t serve the business
c) she would feel guilty and comply to make the employee happy
d) this dragged down her time, energy and creativity
e) she was left feeling drained and uninspired

Once my client saw this as a pattern, she was able to quickly adjust it back into alignment. The next time we met, I asked her how things were going with this employee, and she said, “Great! I told her ‘no’ clearly, and it was so refreshing. I think my employee and I both felt better.”

She went on to tell me, “What’s even more strange is that I’ve experienced a drastic change with my mother this week as well. She kept asking me for things, and instead of feeling guilty and trying to bend over backwards to give her what she wanted, I just said ‘no.’

I think we’ve had our best ever week together.”

Once she saw this hidden roadblock and how it was affecting her life, my client was able to shift her actions to free herself up, both in her business and her personal life.

A Coach Helps You Define Your True Motivators

A few months ago I was working with a leader who was starting a new line of business within a fast-growing company. He was great at the nuts and bolts of business—he knew how to grow revenue, build teams, etc.—but he was really interested in building this team in a way that was aligned with his values.

The only challenge: he wasn’t totally clear on what his values were.

When we finished the deep-dive session on values together he said, “I had no idea that these were my values. I was so used to going by values that had been espoused by leaders along the way—things like honesty and integrity—that I never stopped long enough to think about what truly makes me tick.”

With his values clearly defined, we were able to create a model that would help him integrate them into the company’s culture, resulting in deeper alignment between himself and the organization.

A Coach Helps You Connect the Dots

I was working with a client recently who had a big ‘aha’ moment. She was an executive looking to shift into a new role with greater responsibility.

At one point I asked her who the other executives were that she knew, and she said, “I’m friends with pretty much all of them.” Then I asked her which of those connections she could ask for help.

At this point, she got really quiet, and said very innocently, “You mean I can do that?”

To me it was obvious—relationships are about give and take, and you can ask for support when you need it. My client’s relationships with the other executives at her company were heavily skewed—she gave to them, and supported them, but she did not even consider the option of asking them for help—almost like making constant deposits into the bank without realizing she could also make withdrawals.

When I asked her where else this dynamic was showing up in her life, the dots all started to connect. She realized how this pattern was affecting her home life as well—she would bend over backwards to do everything for her daughter, but never expected contributions in return.

This discovery empowered my client to create major shifts within her most important personal and professional relationships, resulting in her getting the new role she had wanted, with the added bonus of creating a deeper bond with her daughter.

Coaching can help you see things more clearly, enabling you to consciously connect the dots that had been sitting right beneath your nose the whole time.

A Coach Helps You Come to Your Own Answers

While working with a top executive in a fast-growing startup, I asked him about his work. Originally he had come to me because he was struggling in his role, but didn’t know what was really holding him back.

As we got further into the conversation, it was revealed that his relationship with his boss, the CEO, was fraught with challenges. Not knowing where it was going to lead, I followed my curiosity, asking open-ended questions.

All of a sudden, he sat back in his chair, and had this far off look. I could tell he was processing something really deep—he was having an insight.

“Does this happen every time?” he asked. My questions had just led him to a discovery.

What he realized was that he had been in a pattern with his boss, as follows:

a) he would disagree with the CEO’s direction
b) he would know it wasn’t quite right
c) he wouldn’t push back hard enough
d) he would implement the plan anyway
e) he would feel a lack of passion and drive
f) he wouldn’t hold others accountable
g) he would be frustrated and projects would lose steam

Seeing this pattern was pivotal for my client, and we were able to work on a plan to shift it. A huge component was pushing back on his boss. This involved a lot of confrontation, but the truth was that he was incredibly savvy, and his perspective needed to be heard.

My client gained more confidence and drive, and his projects crossed the finish line with gusto, resulting in more revenue, and a stronger relationship with his boss.

This was all revealed in a simple conversation over breakfast, where I followed my curiosity about what was holding him back, but where he came to his own answers, and an insight that literally proved to be worth millions of dollars over the next few years.

Your Turn

Now that you’ve seen why coaching works, it’s time for you to take action in your life. Find a coach who’s right for you, and get on the path to making the shifts that are going to help you get the next level results you’ve been looking for.

Jim Donovan is an executive business coach focusing on helping leaders find and remove hidden roadblocks to help them step into their power and grow their business.