Who Needs A Coach? We All Do!

by Howard Shore, Date: Nov 14, 2009

Who Needs A Coach? We All Do!

Everyone needs a coach, including people who are coaches. Regardless of your achievements, if you do not regularly work with a coach, I can say with certainty that you are missing opportunities to improve.

Coaching Produce Measurable Benefits

A coach’s role is to help you achieve greater success using less effort and less time. The primary reason clients hire a coach for themselves or their business is that they want to capture potential. Potential is the gap between where a client wants to be and present circumstances. For example, a business may be growing at 10% but has the potential to grow at 50%. Another example might be a junior partner at a law firm who wants to become an equity partner. The most common issue I encounter is someone who wants to maintain their current level of professional success and have more time to spend with their families.

The top tangible benefits our clients receive from coaching are:

  • Increased sales
  • Wider profit margins
  • Lower turnover
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Increase work-life balance
  • Strengthened career prospects
  • Increased employee morale

These benefits extend to the rest of the client’s organization, family, customers, friends, and communities.

The Consequences of Not Having a Coach

One consequence of not building coaching and other succession, retention, and development strategies into your business is continued loss of potential productivity from staff. Depending on which study one reads, a full 60% to 75% of employees are not fully engaged in their jobs. These studies include highly successful companies. Imagine how much potential is being left on the table on an annual basis, and how well these companies could do if they would get another 10% or more of their employees fully engaged.

Another consequence of not having a coach is that many people act out other people’s definitions of success instead of taking enough time to figure out what their own goals are. They spend most of their time responding to goals established for them by bosses, customers, vendors, friends, families, children, and so on. As a result, many people’s most prominent goal is making it through the day and hopefully waking up the next. An example that most parents can relate to is that their lives outside of work seem to revolve around their children’s activities. Coaching helps clients address goal clarification questions.

Some other important trends supporting the need for coaching are:

  • Aging Workforce – The average age of today’s worker is much higher than in the past, and birth rates have been steadily declining.
  • Backlash from Downsizing – Downsizing over the last two decades has broken the loyalty between employers and employees.
  • Work/life Trends – Many employees have shifted to flextime, working from home, and have moved to self employment.

What Does A Coach Do?

In simple terms, the coach has programs, processes, tools, and expertise that are used to help clients identify and address blind spots. Have you ever watched someone else do things that from your vantage point make little or no sense? You might have caught yourself saying things like: “Our people cannot see the forest for the trees.” or “That person is burying himself.” The realty is that all of us have a continuous series of blind spots. A coach brings these blind spots to the forefront through the process of asking questions.

A coach is 100% committed to your success. Coaches achieve their own success by enabling you to achieve your goals. The coach has a unique relationship with a client that no internal mentor, training program, friend, external advisor, fellow executive (inside or outside the firm), or employee has

The coach provides a safe space for wide open discussion. The coach is not there to tell you the one way to do things. Instead, the coach is 100% committed to helping you to discover the right actions to achieve your goals. With this in mind, it is easy to check your ego at the door. Everything is focused on creating and implementing the right strategy for your unique circumstances.

At Activate Group, we are trained to use the Resources Associates Coaching Academy’s coaching model which has five components:

  1. Help you crystallize your goal.
  2. Explore the range of different courses of action.
  3. Develop plans of action for your chosen path to accomplish a goal.
  4. Help you visualize what the outcomes might look like.
  5. Get you to commit to your right action.

Let us go through an example of coaching at work. Please keep in mind that the example below took half an hour to process with the client, and I have purposely simplified the scenario.


A senior executive (Mr. Jones) created a new position within his team and promoted one of his top senior managers (Ms. Smith) to fill this mission-critical position. One month later, Mr. Jones mentioned to his coach that he made a mistake by selecting Ms. Smith and is having second thoughts about her.

Goal Clarification

After processing the above situation further, Mr. Jones realized that he never really figured out exactly what he wanted from the position. Worse, Ms. Smith had not been transitioned out of her old role, which still took up 80% to 90% of her time. In the end, Mr. Jones’ new goal was to maximize the effectiveness of the new position.

Possible Actions

There were several possible actions:

  • Fire Ms. Smith
  • Keep Ms. Smith in her old position and find someone else to fill the new position
  • Clearly define the goals of the new position
  • Do everything possible to help Ms. Smith succeed in the new position
  • Allow Ms. Smith to relinquish her old role 100%
  • Ask Ms. Smith what she thinks needs to be done in the new role
  • Leave things alone, and see what happens
  • And others

Mr. Jones decided to be 100% committed to providing an environment that would be conducive to Ms. Smith’s success.

Action Plan, Visualization, and Commitment

After considering different plans to of action, the following was decided:

  1. Ms. Smith would be 100% out of her old role within 15 days.
  2. Mr. Jones and Ms. Smith would have a planning meeting to define very specific and measurable goals.
  3. Ms. Smith would be asked to submit for review by Mr. Jones a 12-month action plan to achieve the goals established in step 2. The deadline for the action plan would be one week after the planning meeting.
  4. Mr. Jones would approve the action plan and establish weekly meetings (if necessary) to discuss progress and to serve as her coach.
  5. After 90 days from approval of the plan, Mr. Jones would evaluate Ms. Smith’s performance against the plan’s goals to determine if she is a fit for the job.


Coaching is a very interactive, pragmatic approach to achieve more goals, with less effort and faster. All employees, including ourselves, have blind spots. Failure to see and address those blind spots causes lost sales, lower employee engagement, higher turnover, and lots of frustration.

Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business or contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213.