Professional athletes have a multitude of coaches with them – to guide, support, and manage them both on and off the field. So, why – as professionals in business – are we not doing the same thing? Unlock your potential, both personally and professionally, in order to bring meaning and success to all that you do! Read on and get inspired…
I will never understand why a business professional would believe they can do it all on their own. Think about it like this: if you were a professional athlete, let’s say a professional baseball player, you would have multiple full-time coaches and managers: one for fielding, one for hitting, one for strength-training, one to manage the team, and yet another to manage your career in its entirety. So, why wouldn’t we have that for ourselves in business? Why aren’t we seeking to unlock our full potential as professionals?
Whether you are an intern or the CEO of a large company, there are areas of yourself that you are incapable of seeing or understanding. It’s important that you have mentors, managers, leaders, and coaches around you that will challenge you, motivate you, support you, and guide you through your career. As Napoleon Hill once said, “A man may learn by listening, but not by talking. Before anything can come out of the mind, something must be put into it.”
What is most interesting to me is the idea – supported by Bill George, former chairman of Medtronic (the world’s largest medical device company) – that coaching for your career or job isn’t enough. What’s more important is the big picture – coaching through your personal life is as important as your business life. Bill George is now a Harvard professor, where one of his seminars is devoted to determining or identifying a student’s life purpose and then applying that to his or her career. If you don’t know what drives you as a human being, how can you be passionate in other areas of your life – including your job and career? We are motivated by meaning, not money.
So, the question for you, your team, and your company: are you doing the bare minimum at your job, or do you treat your job and career as something significant that brings meaning to you and others? If you or your team is just doing a job, the reality is that you’re unlikely to make a true, lasting difference. Once you’ve identified what means most to you, then it’s time to really start the coaching process.
As for myself, I have worked in the consulting and healthcare information technology industries since the start of my career. Now, most people would say, “Well, you have to love computers, programming, and hospitals to be involved in those industries.” However, that isn’t how I think of it at all. That thought is too obtuse and just scratches the surface. If I dig deep and visualize what is important and significant to me, personally, it is: 1) having a positive and inspiring effect on others, and 2) helping promote healthy lives that are lived well. I can apply these two things in both my personal and professional life. Here is how I apply them:
The coaching and training process can take form in many ways, but here are my strongest suggestions as to how to best achieve this:
1. Find a person within your company or life that you can ask to be your mentor. Choose someone who leads by example. Meet with this person on a consistent basis (every week or bi-monthly) to discuss the following: priorities, urgent needs, challenges, concerns, fears, and improvement. Try to find ways where you can personally contribute to this relationship, so it is not one-sided.
2. Find a personal or social group that you can meet with on a consistent basis to discuss your personal and professional life. This combination is essential to finding your purpose and meaning, and bringing that into your career so it is more meaningful. It’s essential that you ask this group of people to provide honest, constructive advice to the table – otherwise, this will not be meaningful or as helpful as it needs to be.
3. Discuss – with your manager – educational or learning opportunities that would benefit you and/or your team. Complete the research in advance so that the decision is easy for your manager. If you are a manager or decision-maker, find ways for your team members to be coached, continue their learning or education, and improve for the long-term. This will help improve happiness, motivation, and quality of work, which is a great combination for success!
4. Be receptive to the idea that you don’t know everything, you’re not perfect, and you can improve. You may be unaware of what you don’t know, or you may think you are pretty damned good, or you may think you’ve reached your peak performance. I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. In order to be your best and positively influence those around you and your company the most, you must be receptive to these things.
As Lee Battaglia, Human Resources Associate at Pivot Point Consulting, mentions: “There is not just one specific model of coaching that works for everyone and every organization. Each situation and individual is very unique. A good coach or mentor knows that using the same method doesn’t translate to the best results.” It’s time to unlock your potential! To be the best in your personal and professional life, you have to first find your meaning and then second, work with others that can guide, support, mentor, and coach you.