The value of coaching.
People often ask me about the value of coaching and whether it is worth the effort. “Will it broaden my horizon?” The fact that it can take a number of sessions is often seen as an obstacle to commencement of any coaching interaction. So, I have always been a fan of what I call the “corridor coaching moment”. In simple terms, it is no more than an engagement between a coach and someone who has an issue. It is seldom planned and often, the rewards are manifest. Let me tell you a story that illustrates my point.
I recently met a young woman with whom I had had such an engagement about three years ago. At the time, I was working as a coach and mentor on a ship supporting its work up. She had brought me a message from her Captain so I invited her to take a seat and have a short conversation. I always enjoy knowing a little bit about who I am working with.
I asked her about her role on board and the usual questions around job satisfaction and ambition. To my surprise, it became evident that she had not actually spent any time thinking about her future. She was focused on getting on with her job, managing her time at home and being good at what she did. Whilst admirable, it was by her own admission, a bit self-limiting. I sensed a “corridor coaching moment”!
I simply coached her towards thinking about her strengths and where she could stretch herself professionally. Since she realised her horizon was close, I described what she might be capable of, if she set her mind to it.
As a result, she came back a couple of days later and asked if I thought she was capable of going to work for a senior Navy officer. He was recruiting for someone with her skillset. I offered that she most definitely had the ability; she just needed to apply and win the job on the interview. Her doubts lay around her own ‘worth horizon’. Was she capable of expanding to something greater? I suggested she could and coached her towards applying.
Consequently, three years on and having won the job at interview, she was promoted. She is now poised to promote again and commence a new job with far greater responsibility. Her employment horizon has expanded towards a change of category with Navy based on a long held desire to nurse. She knows that she can do it if she tries hard enough. With the encouragement of her current Boss she has been studying in her own time to take the tests.
All going well she will commence Nursing training and become an officer in the not too distant future.
I asked her how she felt about all this change in her life. Her answer was simple. Our chance encounter, my coaching interest in her and her desire to expand her professional horizons combined to create opportunity for her to think about her potential. She is now in a great place and loving her life.
As a coach, “corridor coaching” engagements such as this are hugely rewarding. Seeing people open up, through a simple line of questioning that takes them on a journey that helps them expand their horizon, is the life-blood of coaching. You can see a demonstration of “corridor coaching” on You Tube here
Finally, whoever, you are, whatever you do, coaching can support you to think more about what you are capable of.
So go on, expand your horizon; talk to a coach.
For more on this article – get in touch with Jim here