Success Tip: Get Yourself Some Coaching
What is keeping more women from achieving the highest levels of success in the business world?
While there is no silver bullet or simple answer, a key recommendation from McKinsey (released at the Wall Street Journal Women in the Economy Task Force) is that companies need to spend more time coaching women and offering more leadership training and rotation through various management roles (especially at early- and mid-management levels before their ambitions sour).
Companies need to spend more time coaching women, offering more leadership training and rotation through various management roles.
What is coaching?
Coaching facilitates learning, personal growth, increased self-awareness, and the achievement of specific professional, business, or developmental goals.
A highly effective coach will become very familiar with your skills, abilities, interests, and goals; they will understand the work environment in which you operate, and they will provide direct feedback and actionable advice to help accelerate your success. Coaching provides you with both the WHAT and the HOW of what to do.
Where and how do you get coaching?
Some mentors and sponsors may be great coaches in that they can provide direct feedback and offer developmental advice. However, there may be others who are great mentors, listeners, people who can describe the workplace landscape, or those you wish to emulate. But truth be told, they can not or do not tell you how to get there.
In other words, they can describe the WHAT but not the specifics of the HOW. In a recent Harvard Business Review interview published in the May HBR issue, Mikhail Baryshnikov described what is sometimes the case with managers, “I don’t consider myself a mentor, I am more of a cheerleader.”
Depending on your level within your organization, another source for coaching that your company may provide to you, or with whom you could individually contract, is an executive coach. More and more companies are providing coaches for high-potential employees. If you think you can benefit from a coach, talk to your manager or HR partner. Be prepared to articulate what you would like to get out of the coaching, the specific business and performance objectives you have in mind, and why you believe coaching is the most appropriate strategy for you.
There are lots of executive coaches in the marketplace. As with any other service you employ, be sure you do your homework, know the person’s credentials and experience, and do your best to discern whether the type of coaching they provide is a match for your needs. Set specific objectives for what you want out of the relationship, and then commit to take action – otherwise, what’s the point?