by Charles White

Coaching the leaders

Systems make it possible, people make it happen

Charles White: Mentor Business Coach with Mentors and Business Coaches International Pty Ltd
Systems make it possible, people make it happen

In a volatile global market, organisations are constantly looking for a competitive edge. Those who make it as market leaders have attributed their success to two main factors; the leadership capacity of the people they employ and effective systems.    

What organisations are learning is, ‘systems make it possible, people make it happen’.  Coaching focuses on both people and systems and has produced phenomenal results. The organisation that scores and succeeds is the organisation that exceeds customer expectations and not necessarily the organisation with the biggest marketing budget.

Coaching has evolved from the sports arena to business, creating a demand for business coaches. Having a business or executive coach has become a status symbol with executives proudly introducing their coaches to their colleagues and friends. The leaders in the field of coaching are the ones who constantly exceed their client’s expectations.

The last decade has seen an explosion of new coaching companies, professional mentors and business coaches entering the market. 

Auditing firms, universities, psychologists, consultants, to name a few, have all jumped on the bandwagon of coaching and mentoring. 

We have seen a flurry of tenders for coaching and mentoring in the last five years, making it a lucrative source of alternate income.    

The problem that executives and decision makers now face is how to discern whether or not they have a good coach, and when should they fire their coach.

The one question asked in every country by those entering the field of coaching and mentoring is; what makes a good mentor and business coach? My response is “they must have failed in life to the point of death and still have had the courage to recover from that failure”.

That coach has tasted both victory and defeat and discovered that life is more meaningful when you help others find their purpose and achieve their goals in life. The ethos of that coach is to add value to their client and the organisations they work for and not look for ways of extracting wealth for personal gain.


Tips for hiring a coach or mentor:

1. Experience

This is far more important than accreditation. There are many accredited coaches who have no experience in coaching.   

 2. Accreditation and associations

Coaching and mentoring is not regulated in any country, but there are numerous coaching bodies and organisations coaches relate to. 

 3. Accountability

Be careful of the ‘lone ranger’ who cannot be held accountable. Coaches learn best from each other and also need coaching. The coach who does not need coaching should not be coaching. 

 4. Passionate     

Leading coaches are passionate about people and coaching. Their approach is one of adding ‘value to others’ and not ‘what is in it for me’. The love that the coach has for the client causes the client to feel safe. It is in this safe environment where new possibilities are explored and potential is realised.    


Tips about when to fire your coach

1. When they tell you what to do.

2. When they give you options, alternatives and solutions to problems.

3. When there is a breach of trust and confidentiality.

4. When, after the third meeting, you still feel unsafe in the session and there is no chemistry between you.

5. When they do more talking than you, and you do more listening than them. 


A word of caution  

The misnomer is that, unlike in the formal workplace where you hire somebody who is very confident, I have found that the best coaches are those who are nervous before every coaching session. 

They never rely on what they know. Coaching is about navigating from the known to the unknown and taking your client to where they have never been before. 

We can never prepare for the unknown so we can never be confident in what we know. 

The best coaches are artists who help clients create new pictures of the future, unlocking possibilities, achieving goals and leave a trail of friends who were previously clients. 


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This edition

Issue 58