Welcome to our August Business Briefing.

“Want to get unstuck?”

Are you stuck at the moment? Is there something you want to achieve but can't? Are you finding it hard to work out what to do to make things happen? Are you trying things and they are just not giving you the results you want? Is your mind full of things that you don't have the skills or motivation for? Are the stories you tell yourself, going round in your head every day, full of the problems and obstacles about why your work is so hard?

If you've answered yes to some or all of these questions, then you should get yourself a coach.

Why invest in a coach? Well, on average, someone working thirty years will clock up over 50,000 hours doing their job. And it won't just be the same job. Those entering the world of employment now can expect to hold down up to 10 different jobs over 2 or 3 very different careers, sometimes in parallel. You'll also probably end up working for yourself at some point, not just for others.

Given that amount of time and the range of things you might be expected to be able to do well (or brilliantly if you really want to stand out) will this just come naturally? Or by just ‘learning on the job'? Or by going on some courses from time-to-time?


When put into context, it's amazing how little we're willing to spend on our improving ourselves – what we can do, how we work with others and, crucially, how we think.

Whilst we might spend way more than £100,000 on holidays over 30 years (according to latest family spending statistics), would you invest a few £1000s (or even a few £100s) in getting help to achieve your ambitions? As well as lifting your immediate and your long-run earning potential?

So what does a coach offer?

A coach is a companion. They are interested in you, your situation, your needs, your goals. They stick with you ‘on the journey' to where you want to get to.

A coach gives you confidence that you can make progress. First they encourage you to think that improvement is possible. Then they show you the practical first steps that you can take so that you can immediately see things changing.

A coach challenges you. We are all creatures of habits. We've learned to do things in particular ways. To speak to ourselves in the same tone with the same words. To make judgements with the same criteria. To look for solutions in the same places. These habits are very hard to shift. But they need to be changed if we are to get anything other than the same old results. A coach will explore these habits with us and find where we need to think or do things differently.

A coach helps us tidy up the clutter in our minds and gives us clarity. Talking things through with a coach enables you to focus on what is important – the goals you want to achieve, the priorities you'll need to have to achieve those and, fundamentally, how you can translate all that into the best use of your time.

A coach teaches you the tools and techniques to be capable of doing what you need to do. Rather than piecemeal learning or gradually accumulating your own ideas of what works, a coach introduces you to new ways of doing things as well as sifting through the things you already know about. From this comes an overall package of skills, practices and behaviour habits that work for you.

And finally, a coach makes you curious. The best coaches are always learning themselves, not just from ‘best practice' but from observing those they coach to see what works and what doesn't. To understand not just the ‘what' but also the ‘why' of success. A coach will make you more curious too. And that could be the greatest gift they give you. Together, you and your coach will ask questions about why you are where you are, what is needed to improve and how that change is working.

Go and find yourself a coach. You're worth it!

And on related matters...

Having had that L'Oreal moment ☺, here are a few recent blogs you might have missed and that may interest you:

  1. The success of Andy Murray back in July (and Sky Tour de France team since then), clearly demonstrated the importance of coaching and perseverance.
  2. This one on scenario planning overviews the key choices in using this popular method…one that helps a certain sort of thinking helpful in many teams and organisations.
  3. And, for something a bit different, do you know how to read TripAdvisor?  Have a look at this, and learn a bit about schools and the NHS at the same time too.

Best wishes for the rest of August.

Ross Pow
August 2013

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