As we enter the holiday season, I would like to share a celebratory toast to those of us in the best profession in the world: Executive Coaching.
I’d like to raise a glass (of Diet Coke, in my case) to the great coaches out there and celebrate who you are: You’ve run companies, held big jobs, made lots of money, led teams, delivered the number, closed the deal, and managed the operation. Here’s to you because your coaching is borne out of real-world experience. You don’t pontificate about “leadership” or offer interesting theories that don’t work in a corporate setting because you haven’t ever led anything before. On the contrary: You’ve sat in the seat, and you know what it feels like to be under pressure to deliver results, fast. You speak the language of business and because of this, your clients can count on you to offer real world, practical insights that resonate and move the needle.
Let’s hear it for my fellow coaches out there who have lost it all once or twice, gotten divorced, gotten fired, or just got it totally wrong. Here’s to you, because you know that great coaches don’t fall into the trap of thinking they have to be perfect for their clients or pretend they have all the answers. You are willing to let your guard down and be an example of what candor and authenticity look like in practice because you aren’t afraid to talk about the mistakes you’ve made, and lessons learned along the way. You know that the more you do this, the more your clients trust that they can open up about their own mistakes without judgement. This is when the magic happens in coaching, because no better learning comes from when we’re willing to admit when we failed and to use them as opportunities to learn, to understand, to grow and become better people as a result.
Raise your glass for the coaches who reject people pleasing and are completely fine with the fact that not everybody is going to like them. These coaches deserve an extra toast because in this profession, it’s easy to get caught in a trap of wanting to be liked or telling others what they want to hear. Instead, you’re the type of coach who has found a way to deliver a truthful message graciously and compassionately, without harsh “tough love” or soft-pedaling, because you know that others are counting on you to be honest and open with their senior leaders.
While we’re at it, let’s toast the coaches who exude confidence, who expect clients to do their homework and come prepared to their meetings, and who charge what they are worth. These coaches aren’t just helping leaders, teams, companies. They are also leaders themselves over their own careers, relationships, health, and financial performance, and when it comes to success, they walk their talk.
Coaches, here’s to you, because you truly care. Your clients probably have no idea that while they are sleeping, you are up thinking about their next board meeting or the conversation they’ll need to have with their CEO. They probably don’t realize that you’re drafting emails in your head to send about an innovative idea or insight they might want to share at the upcoming sales kickoff or investor meeting. This matters at a time where employees are working harder than ever, where companies are pushing for growth at an accelerated pace, where the future of work requires companies and employees to work in a new hybrid world.
You’re there to help others shine at a time when we need light and brightness. Cheers, coaches.