Why everybody needs a coach

We all know that information is easily accessible these days – we Google, YouTube and tweet to find our answers to problems. But while information is in rich supply, this does not necessarily help us to make the best decisions, keep our behaviours in check, or help us to focus on what matters most. Studies have described the modern learner as ‘overwhelmed, distracted and impatient’, but with the motivation to develop and implement new skills.

So, what can we do to cut through the noise?

Coaching is a powerful way to cut through the distractions and get back to what’s really important by providing much-needed time and mental space to work through anything that is holding us back. The power of a coach is having someone that is truly listening to understand and question. It’s like having someone hold up a mirror to help us see the things we may be choosing not to see. Taking ownership of our own learning is critical if we want to be prepared for the future. But a frenzied consumption of learning content may get us nowhere. Coaching can help individuals solve problems, see the bigger picture and set and achieve personal learning goals. In a time when learners have shorter attention spans, and the average Brit is checking their smartphone 9 times an hour, taking time out to reflect is critical.

Reflection is a much-needed stage that can be supported by coaching, as captured by Kolb’s 4-stage learning cycle:

1. Concrete experience

2. Reflective observation

3. Abstract conceptualization

4. Active experimentation

Stage 3, which is around making sense of our reflections and making goals and plans accordingly is a natural follow-on in coaching discussions.

The days of coaching being reserved only for the C-suite, or part of remedial action where there is an issue, are long-gone, and coaching is being recognized for the powerful intervention it can be for all. The advantage is it is completely centred around that individual’s needs. Likewise, it is flexible – with telephone and skype sessions there is no need to necessarily be in the same physical space. And for today’s time-poor workers, coaching can also be pacy, and doesn’t need to solely consist of long, drawn out sessions. Powerful results can be achieved in a 20-minute focused session, and follow-up achieved through e-mail. With flexible, virtual coaching on offer, coaching is something for everyone to consider.

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