Should you get a coach?

If you’re reading my blog you may be considering getting a coach, maybe even considering me.
I’ve observed that the people who perform best at things tend to have coaches whereas the people who don’t do so well remark that they don’t need coaching or bristle at the prospect of getting help. Derek Jeter has multiple coaches. Forty percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have personal coaches.
This week’s New Yorker features a long article on coaching. While not scientific, it covers many of the important points one might want to consider on coaching, describes observing successful coaching describes the author’s successful experience testing the waters being coached, and describes some research in the field. It doesn’t say everyone should get a coach, but thoughtfully walks through many of the relevant principles and considerations. Not everyone would benefit from a coach. It depends on what you want to do.
I recommend reading it.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. gwen

    can you comment on coaching vs. mentoring?
    also Forbes and Jeter are making big bucks
    what about people making small bucks?

    1. Joshua

      Hi Gwen,
      Regarding people not making big bucks, people can always do what the author of the New Yorker article did. He spoke to an old friend who had more experience than he did. That person didn’t have experience coaching, but did have experience in the same field (though not exactly the same field). It didn’t sound like that person charged to observe and critique.
      Anyone can ask someone in the same field to coach or mentor them. Probably everyone has an old boss, professor, colleague, family member, etc to whom they can say “I’m trying to improve at what I do. You’re good at it and I bet could give good advice. Would you mind meeting once a month (or week or quarter or what period seems right) to coach (or mentor) me?”.
      Most people respond well to being called out at being good at something (call them an expert for even better results) and love to give advice. If they help, great. If not, you don’t have to take their advice. Or you can change how you interact to improve it.
      Between coaching and mentoring, I’ve been on both sides of both and in all cases I’ve found them helpful. The choice between them depends on the goals and relationship of the individuals.
      If you haven’t, why not try both and see how they work?

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