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Want a "secret weapon" in your professional life? How coaches give top talent an edge

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

How many times have you heard the saying “we are our own worst enemies”?

Probably at lot. Because its true for many of us. Most of us have behaviors, beliefs and habits that – left unchecked - prevent us from being the most authentic, powerful, aligned and fully expressed version of ourselves. We get stuck. We forget that we have choice. We get caught in what is comfortable (but often disruptive or unfulfilling).

Its not that we are “bad”, but it is because we are perfectly imperfect humans who get caught up in the hustle and grind of life and our own limiting beliefs, thoughts and behaviors.

Complicating matters further, these ways of being have likely served us well to some degree (probably for many years). This means its that much harder to break free from them.

But here is the thing, when we are willing and supported in doing the deep (and hard) work of slowing down and compassionately understanding ourselves and our behaviors (the good, bad and ugly) we can start to unlock a version of ourself that is more effective, impactful, aligned to our values and ultimately successful, fulfilled and happy. And that creates a ripple effect of good on those around us.

Coaching works because awareness facilitates choice.

When we are aware, we can make deliberate choices as to how we show up at our best in our leadership and life. Yet many professionals simply do not (1) take the time for this reflection or (2) have the opportunity for someone to provide a completely objective support through it (because, let’s face it, its lonely at the top and our mentors are not always *completely* objective).

Below are some reasons my coaching clients engage me. If you are a driven professional or someone with a leadership role, you may identify with some of the themes:

  • You are the “results person” and have achieved great success because of it but you are now leading an organization or function through unprecedented change, uncertainty and different expectations from employees. You keep hearing about the need for more humanity, compassion and psychological safety in leadership. You are struggling with the balance of “getting things done” and showing up in this new paradigm of leadership.

  • You are a senior leader who is stuck putting out fires, drowning in responsibilities and focused on the “trivial many” instead of the “critical few” activities. You have always managed everything on your own and maybe even been rewarded for doing "more with less". The point is - you feel that you “should” be able to continue at this pace, so you are reluctant to ask for help. Yet deep down you know you are burned out and disengaged and its impacting both your professional results and your personal life.

  • You worked hard for many years and landed the "dream job". You always believed that the next right opportunities will present themselves to you. You were happy for a while but you now feel that your career has happened “to you” - you aren't learning and growing, you feel stuck (you're not) and unfulfilled (we can change that). You want to feel in the driver's seat of your own career. You know your happiness in your work influences your happiness in the rest of your life.

  • You have always been tough on yourself, and you credit that for fuelling your growth and success. Yet this critical internal dialogue is now holding you back - from enjoying your hard-earned success - from making a needed change - or from getting to your next level.

  • You have progressed in your career and been promoted because you are great at your job. But now you are leading teams, expected to think strategically and speak the language of the business. You are very comfortable in being an individual contributor but the rest is new to you. You realize that "what got you here won't get you there". You need help showing up in a different way.

  • You have been the leader or manager that everyone “likes” and its making it really difficult to be the one to make the hard decisions and have the tough conversations that need to be had.

  • You have “hustled” and made your career your focus for a very long time. But you are now at a point in your career where you want more – whether that be more work / life integration or more purpose and impact in your work. You have been doing it “your way” for many years. Its time for a change but you don’t know where to start in making it.

  • You are deeply loyal to your team and organization. So much so that you find yourself putting up with behaviors happening to or around you that are unhealthy and toxic. Perhaps you feel that you being present "protects" others and you do not want to “desert” anyone – you feel stuck, disempowered and without choice. You keep hoping things will change or it will get better, but it doesn't.

These are scenarios that I see regularly in my work with executive leaders, business owners, new managers and experienced professionals. If you identify with any of these scenarios, please consider the help of a professional coach. These are not easy issues to work through nor are they issues you can speak to anyone about. Having a professional coach to support you through the uncomfortable process of gaining awareness and navigating change can be a real gift and absolutely provide you with an edge in your career and life.

PS: The reference to “secret weapon” is one that I have personally felt when I have engaged coaches at critical points in my career. I would love to be that support for you.

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