Why Do I Need A Growth Coach?

Why do world-class athletes retain coaches to remain at the top of their game? After all, these already successful professionals can likely teach others everything there is to know about excelling at their sport. So why do top athletes often continue to utilize professional coaching throughout their entire careers?


“Quite simply, professional coaches are trained to see things about us we don't see!”


These 'blind spots' or lack of awareness often hold the keys to higher levels of success! Lack of awareness holds people back, limits exceptional performance and often can be the difference between a winning performance and average outcome. Yet even gaining awareness without establishing new behaviours and putting them into action will not get results. The same applies in what many describe as business coaching.

As an ICF Certified Professional Coach, I've helped many leaders and executives identify and overcome their perceived limitations, increase their awareness, and develop a more effective version of themself. In her wonderful exploration of coaching, Coach The Person, Not The Problem, Marcia Reynolds highlights some fundamentals of why coaching is so powerful and necessary. Surfacing the foundational work of John Dewey, she notes,


"smart people are the best rationalizers. They believe their reasoning wholeheartedly and will protect their opinions as solid facts. Telling them to change is a waste of time."


She adds that the people who need the most help with their thinking are the most intelligent people. Most company founders, Chief Executive Officers, and executive leaders who have found some success understandably fit this profile. "None of us can transform our thinking on our own", Marcia states, and goes on to explain,


"for the same reason you can't tickle yourself, your brain resists self-imposed testing of thoughts and reactions"


Colleague and highly experienced business coach, Mark Green shares that coaching for growth can be more painful for CEOs and Executives but teaches them how to change behavior which is learnt for life, in contrast to coaching for results (aka consulting) which gives a person something they may or may not do (expertise) but are not learning a lesson and unlikely to change in any underlying way. He also highlights the requirement to have a growth mindset for any business leader seeking coaching to be successful. I fully concur yet too often see CEOs reaching out for help when facing a business crisis or serious decline rather than leveraging growth when the business is good or stable. Since I'm not in the business of saving businesses but rather coaching to accelerate growth, business leaders would be wise in seeking a trusted growth coach proactively.


My engagements with CEOs and leaders normally begins with an introductory conversation which essentially is a discussion of discovery. We're usually able to quickly identify if we are the right 'fit' to work together and what key insights might be impeding the path to progress and the non-obvious opportunities available to shift growth higher. During collaborations, not only am I the personal coach to the CEO, I'll bring proven practices, tools, and thought leadership to leverage the skills and ability of the leadership team as a whole to discover and make the important changes they want. On a regular basis we will connect strategy to key areas of focus for execution to results. This is not a quick-win, 'cookie-cutter' program like some coaches provide but rather a collaborative partnership that builds results, usually over a minimum of 12-24 months. Engaged and committed businesses who do the work always see a multiple times return on investment in growth coaching.


For many entrepreneurs who have transitioned into a CEO through building a solid business, it can often be difficult to continue scaling growth to the next level. This usually involves bringing others into the executive team, growing and managing a larger number of staff, ensuring profitability not just growth, becoming dependent on others to execute the strategy, and developing systems to run the business. This is often where small-medium enterprises (SMEs) plateau and if not leveraging growth to the next level, may stall, decline or shrink. Not every business needs a growth coach as some are highly tuned for success. Some CEOs will choose the Do-It-Yourself approach.


According to research done by Gravitas Impact, an astounding 77% of CEOs surveyed chose a Do-It-Yourself approach. Certainly this is understandable, given that most entrepreneurial CEOs have achieved success due to their ingenuity - their ability to be resourceful, creative and find solutions on their own. The same Gravitas Impact survey indicates that


“the most pressing problem for CEOs at 76% is executing strategy to achieve goals”


CEOs and executive leaders who see themselves as start athletes may be making a fundamental mistake. In a Harvard Business Review article titled, The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World, points out that,


"while tunnel vision helps athletes focus, it closes the rest of us off to new idea and approaches"


Learning is critical according to their research for problem-solving, and modeling a growth culture for employees. Every day is an opportunity to take another step forward or a step backward. As Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great and an expert in Small Medium Enterprises says,


"what got you here, won't get you there"


Time for you and your leadership team to rethink your approach for improved success? Consider joining one of our Growth Masterminds to get your growth started!


As a Agile Growth Coach & Certified Business Coach, I utilize my professional expertise every day to ensure clients I work with can successfully ask the right questions to find solutions right for their organization. Agile Work Solutions provides a proven, practicable and profitable path for companies, non-profits, and local governments who want to move beyond their current performance.


Jerome Dickey, MA, ACC, CPHR, Q.Med