In order to become a top coach, you’ll need to focus your effort. The top coaches I know are constantly learning and growing. They all walk the talk and take their personal development seriously.
As you read through this list, I encourage you to evaluate your development path. Consider the actions you take to keep your passions and skills high. Explore what you can do to energize yourself for peak performance.
Below are the four actions top coaches do to stay relevant and energized:
1. Learn and continuously build new skills.
New information about human behavior and neuroscience abounds. Successful coaches are constantly working to expand their knowledge so they can offer various perspectives and options to their clients.
Fortunately, we live in a time where there are numerous ways to learn so you can find what works for you. Books, audiobooks, podcasts, blogs, online classes, webinars, and YouTube videos can be rich sources of information.
Consider certification programs to enhance your skill sets. You can get certified to use assessments or teach or even in specialty areas such as Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).
The challenge is not finding a source to learn new information or skills but deciding which one to choose. I recommend you be intentional about what to focus on. Decide on an area/skill which will be both useful and interesting to you. Then, explore your options. I usually start with free options including podcasts and webinars that expose me to many people and ideas. Then, when I find a person or program that really lights me up, I’ll buy their book or take an online class.
- Make a list of the skills you would like to develop.
- Make a list of the topics you would like to know more about.
- Do some exploring and look for free resources or recommendations from your peers.
- Choose one resource and commit “X” hours a week to learning more.
2. Take on stretch assignments.
The best way to learn is to do something outside of our comfort zone. If you look back at the last year and you never failed, you are playing it too safe. We learn when we stretch ourselves. The secret is to stretch a little at a time, so you don’t have a disastrous failure.
Our beliefs about taking risks greatly impact what we are willing to do and how we evaluate our experiences. Taking on challenges with the intention of learning (not perfection) is the ideal mindset of a coach. Carol Dweck writes all about the fixed and growth mindsets in her book Mindset.
One way to stretch is to work with a peer or mentor who is more advanced in something than you are. Observe them, ask them questions, and ask for their feedback as you attempt to do something new. Be open to their coaching and suggestions.
- Explore your own beliefs about risks and failures.
- Read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.
- Identify a stretch assignment for yourself.
- Identify a peer coach or mentor who you can enlist for support.
- Schedule the action in your calendar.
- Evaluate your results. What worked? What didn’t work? What you learned?
3. Work with a coach and/or mastermind group.
It shocks me when I meet coaches who don’t have a coach. Coaches know how valuable the process is, but don’t always take their own medicine. There are many ways to be coached and many will cost you nothing out of pocket.
Personally, I find value in one-on-one coaching and having a group of peer coaches (which I call Masterminding). In addition to having a safe space to talk through challenges, I also benefit from the accountability factor.
Want a coach, but tight on funds? Exchange services with another coach. Form a triad with two other coaches, where each of you coaches/receives coaching from someone, but you aren’t coaching and being coached by the same person. You may also form small accountability groups and set up your own peer coaching sessions.
Masterminding is a form of peer coaching. If you want to learn more about how to set up your own Mastermind group, click here.
- Decide what you would like to be coached about.
- Find a coach or a coaching group (or both).
If you are a coach and you work one on one with clients for most of your week, it is very easy to feel isolated. Not only that, but you may not have many opportunities to connect with other coaches. Networking with others is good for our minds and our souls.
Fortunately, we live in a time where we have many options for networking with people all around the globe. So, if you don’t like to network in person at professional meetings, conferences, or just simple lunches, there are many online opportunities too. There are many online opportunities to network if you don’t like to network in person at professional meetings, conferences, or just simple lunches. You can also join LinkedIn Groups, participate in webinars, online classes, or other professional forums.
I’ve had conversations with people from the “other side of the world” using SKYPE that were so interesting and exciting. Just go find someone who is doing something that you find fascinating on LinkedIn and then message and invite them to a 30-minute call. It’s really fun to connect with like-minded people and if you go in with a growth mindset and ask great questions you are going to learn something new.
Joining professional organizations and then actively participating is one of the best ways to network. I still have good friends and relationships from when I served on the Southeastern Association of Facilitators almost ten years ago. Take on a volunteer role, even a small one, and you will build relationships faster and deeper.
- Determine who you would like to network with.
- Research your options to network.
- Choose an option and commit to participating regularly.
As coaches, I believe we need to practice what we preach. First, we need to continue to develop and learn. Second, we need to try new things and be willing to be vulnerable. Third, we need to be coached. Fourth, we need to consistently connect with supportive networks.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and Forward, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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