So let’s talk about coaching! I’ll admit it isn’t something that I knew much about. Earlier this year I was chatting to my sister’s friend who said she’d had coaching through work and I quote ‘it had changed her life’. Now this person wasn’t prone to hyperbole so I took such a claim very seriously!  

The friend advised that her workplace had run a coaching and mentoring programme for its management team which included monthly 1-1 coaching sessions. These were aimed at professional coaching and development but invariably touched upon personal goals and objectives too. 

I knew that starting my business would be a huge challenge both professionally and personally and I knew I had some habits that I could do with getting rid of (putting myself out there, being less self critical etc.). Doing this would help me focus on the challenges that growing a business would entail. I also understood that work based coaching would help me focus on what my business was to become so I thought it was worth a go! 

What is coaching? 

As Bill Gates said: 

‘Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.’ 

Like any athlete, business leaders are under many different pressures to perform. Coaching can come in many forms, from team, organisational or entrepreneurial. The basic idea is that coaching helps leaders to deal with the unknown. It helps them to build upon the strengths that they already have and identify areas of improvement. Coaching is not counselling. 

 How does it work? 

The first few sessions are really about getting to know each other and to understand what you want to get out of the sessions. This could be anything from personal objectives to business objectives (do I want to hire more staff, what are my values and vision, where do I want the business to go etc.). My coach is Anne Fuller at the The Conscious Company and initially, there are more session (say every two weeks) but over time this drops to every 6 weeks or as needed. Anne was really great in this regard, with her view being that initially more support would be required but that the frequency would drop over time which really worked for me.  

The sessions are held via Zoom and sometimes I have issues or things which have arisen since our last session that I want advice or support on, other times she brings me back to a key point or issue we have discussed previously to assess, feedback and set goals. 

The sessions can be emotional but you always finish feeling lighter, more focused and refreshed (even if there have been tears!). 

There are benefits of coaching for both individuals and businesses… 

  • It’s a time to reflect on you and your own development. 
  • It gives you a sense of quiet and calm. 
  • It makes you take an hour a month to really think at a high and strategic level about you and your businesses goals.  
  • It supports personal growth and development.  
  • It guides you through self reflection, critique and therefore improvement (eventually!) 
  • Within organisations it has been proved that 6 months of coaching can increase leadership effectiveness by 55%. 
  • In a business, coaching can have a positive effect on team effectiveness and productivity. 
  • Coaching can increase employees’ self belief and efficacy. Employees can have a more accurate view of themselves which in turn impacts on stress levels and actual performance. 

Personally I chose a non-Isle of Man based consultant because it was someone who had come highly recommended. Also because the island is small I thought there might be benefits to a bit of distance from the person I’d be unloading on! That said, I know there are many amazing coaches on the island. Having gone through my coaching and reflecting on the benefits I have got from it, I would now be more than happy to use an Isle of Man based coach. 

So if you are interested in self development (both personally and professionally) then it is definitely something that I recommend businesses and individuals to explore further. 

Executive coaching with The Conscious Company