What's the key deliverable of a great coach?

Coaching is now widely accepted as requisite skill for all levels of manager, in all types of organisation. As a business owner, having a Coach to listen and challenge my thinking has been invaluable. At a corporate level many leaders benefit from some form of coaching but not enough go on to develop their own coaching skills and become effective coaches for their people.

As our guest blogger, my coach Mike Kaaks draws from Tim Galwey’s ‘classic’ book The Inner Game of Tennis and talks about what he believes is the key deliverable of a great coach.

Removing the Interferences – by Mike Kaaks

When we try to deal with what’s going on around us it can be a real struggle to filter out the bits that are getting in the way of us making real progress. The removal of these interferences is what coaching is all about.

It’s quite easy to demonstrate at a physical level. Let me share with you the story of a sales administrator in one of my two day workshops on coaching. Jane was a reserved lady, well into her working life and she’d been paired with Rob, a young go-getting sales team leader in an exercise where the coach is given 10 minutes to make improvement in the coachee’s tennis skills. This is done on the court, racquet and ball in hand. Jane was fearful – could she coach something she had never done before? Making things harder for her, Rob was a Sydney pennants player. How was she going to be able to help such a good player?

She’d been given an approach to coach Rob through whatever aspect of his game he chose – in this case his lob. In those 10 minutes Rob found what he’d been doing wrong with that shot. Found it himself, with Jane helping him remove the interferences which had been preventing him from seeing what was really going on. Jane was overwhelmed, Rob was surprised. In addition to being extremely fulfilling for all concerned, it made all the points – a coach is not a teacher, a coach helps by removing interferences – physical, mental or emotional.

What about the interferences we face at work? There are so many. We find ourselves interpreting what people have said rather than seeking clarity, we see risk at every turn. Risk for the corporation or business unit, risk for ourselves as we seek to build upon our achievements.

There’s competition too. As you rise in the organisation there are less slots – what are the implications for your career of the choice you are about to make on some new capital, on moving people around, on a customer response. This busyness won’t ease up. If I don’t do something now …. And so on. It’s like being in a game of chess. You know, at times you have that great feeling that you are one move ahead, and at others, and this is not so good, you feel like you’re one (or worse, two or three) moves behind. As a result you’re not playing your best game. You’re not being the leader you can be.

Imagine having time in your work cycle to see with absolute clarity that which you want to be, the change you want to lead, the difference you want to make, without the barriers thrown up by your inner self. No thoughts about the baggage of the past, no concerns about a future which may never emerge, just an interference free zone in which you and the issue are all that’s in play.

The word zone is timely here. Great coaching takes you to that place we’ve all heard about – being “in the zone”. It brings you into the now and makes the right choices and the right decisions easier to make. Choices that will be aligned to you, to your being, and as a result will be so much easier to implement and which will have greater impact.

Eliminating the interferences that are getting in your way right now as you bring your leadership to those around you is the deliverable of the great coach.

Contact Mike Kaaks if you want to remove the interferences stopping you from being your best and achieving more.

Posted: Thursday 28 June 2012

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