If you’re a founder, CEO, or C-level leader and you’re not working with a coach, please take a pause and read this. It’s meant for you.
Your favorite athlete and performer have a coach. In fact, it's universally accepted that top athletes and performers need coaches to hone their skills, refine their strategies, and achieve peak performance. The same principle holds true in business - leaders, founders, and CEOs greatly benefit from working with a professional coach. Coaches provide invaluable insights, confidential guidance, help you set goals, and deliver a pathway to increasing your performance across the board. The best coaches don’t just give you strategy, they’re experts at getting you out of your own way. For you founders out there that are experts at self-sabotage, your coach will become your most powerful asset.
A while back, I started working with an amazing performance coach, Dr. Doug Brackmann.
I wanted to share a few lessons I have learned throughout the process of working with him.
Systems Are More Valuable Than Your Experience
Rituals, routines, systems, frameworks, or whatever you want to call them are vital. In my experience, most founders are great at creating them and are the absolute worst at executing them. It takes training, consistency, and accountability. When it comes to working with your team and being able to translate your vision into executable processes, you need a coach to check yourself.
Your Experience, Expertise, and Grit Only Go So Far
Just as seasoned athletes benefit from coaches who possess extensive knowledge of the game, leaders need to be able to tap into the wisdom of coaches who have navigated the unpredictable waters of building and running a company. A coach with relevant experience brings a wealth of insights, wins/losses, and wisdom to the table. They've encountered various challenges and triumphs, and their guidance can significantly shorten the learning curve for their clients. I hate the term growth hacking but think of it as a way to collect knowledge and experience at a significantly faster rate. Building a successful business isn’t something you can just put your head down and power through.
Confidentiality and Unbiased Feedback
One of the most critical aspects of working with a coach is the confidentiality and non-judgmental environment they provide. As a leader, you can openly share your concerns, uncertainties, and failures without the fear of repercussions or damaging your reputation. Coaches serve as a confidential sounding board, allowing you to explore ideas, test hypotheses, and dissect challenges without the pressure of maintaining a facade. This fosters genuine growth, innovation, and introspection. Think of this as a way to remove that deep feeling of imposter syndrome while you’re trying to do something you have never done before.
Goal Setting and Accountability
A coach will help you set clear, achievable goals that align with your long-term vision. These goals become the foundation for strategic decisions and action plans. Coaches assist in defining these objectives while at the same time holding you accountable for your progress. Regular check-ins and assessments ensure you remain focused, so your monkey mind doesn’t spend too much time in control. The accountability mechanism transforms your aspirations into concrete outcomes.
As the saying goes, "You can't see the forest for the trees." leaders, are often deeply immersed in our day-to-day, making it challenging to maintain an objective viewpoint. A coach acts as an external observer, providing fresh insights and alternatives to the narrow space our mind often operates in. Great coaches pinpoint blind spots, challenge assumptions, and offer constructive criticism that we might overlook. This allows us to build iteration into our systems that keep us moving forward every day. Those iterations help create success as we grow.
Building and running a business is hard. After all, if the best athletes have coaches, shouldn't we as leaders have the same advantage?