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Business coaching can change your life

This is the sixth article on coaching for International Coaching Week.  You can find the others here.

OK, maybe the title is a cliche.  But if you're in an isolated role (particularly in a people profession without the rigour of routine mentoring or supervision - a headteacher or HR specialist for instance) putting your own needs first can be a bit of a struggle.

Maybe you feel it's selfish to put your own needs before those of others, but doing so can enable you to be more effective.  Like being in a plane and putting on your own oxygen mask first so that you can help others get out of trouble.

Or you feel you can't justify the money.  Often people don't earmark resources (time and money in particular) to ensure they are in the best possible place.  Other things or other people come first.

It's worth considering what it's costing you - in terms of personal stress, relationships, exhaustion for example - NOT to invest in yourself, particularly if it's affecting your performance or your relationships at work or at home. 

This case study illustrates the point.  A Director of HR for a large public sector organisation was facing huge challenges:

  • a big task to change the way people were managed and developed to enhance the performance of the council
  • the need to change the HR function to enable it to implement the transformation the organisation was committed to making
  • a lot of resistance to the changes being made
  • on top of this, two of her direct reports had moved on, leaving gaps in the HR leadership team at the same time as the department's budget was being cut.

She was working long hours, felt overwhelmed, stuck, disempowered and unable to make a decision about how to fill the gaps in the team.  Recognising the critical role she and her team were playing in all these changes, she also felt exposed.

What did she do?  Initially she panicked.  She did not know what to do and so she did nothing.  Ideas whizzed around her head, she froze and could not make any decisions.  The trigger that finally prompted action was a comment from a valued HR colleague - "I don't care what you do, just please make a decision!" 

She finally acknowledged that she needed some support to clarify the way forward.  She decided to hire a business coach.  She remembered someone who had been recommended to her - someone with experience of leading an HR function, who could empathise, recognise these challenges and act as a sounding board.  The result?  She got back in touch with her own resources, developed clarity of thinking and made the decisions she needed to about the way forward.  The turnaround started to happen.

So what were the benefits of the coaching for her?

  • time and space
  • the opportunity to think aloud in a safe environment
  • questioning and challenge to understand the blockages and explore opportunities
  • testing out the 'right' solution before going live with it
  • decisions on appropriate action
  • support to implement the chosen decision.

And who was this person?  Well, it was me.


Bringing in some support helped me to rise to the challenges I was facing and move on in a positive way.  I kep that support in place until I left the organisation some time later and because of that I was in a much better place to deliver what the organisation wanted from me.  That experience contributed to my decision to get some formal coach training - a decision that is one of the best work decisions I have ever made.


If this experience resonates with you, then take a look here or here, comment, email me or give me a call on 01763 245323 to discuss how business coaching could change YOUR life.




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