How many of us take the opportunity to work on ourselves? This question could be asked about our work lives or personal lives, but I’m specifically asking about our work lives. Before I started working with a leadership coach aka professional business coach, my answer to this question would have been, “very rarely.” But I was lucky enough to work for a CEO who understood the importance of developing the people in his organization, particularly how the wellbeing of his leaders could benefit employees, teams, and the leaders themselves.
Depending on your natural appetite for professional development, you might be excited or apprehensive about working with a professional business coach. To help you answer the question of whether working with a coach is right for you, I’d like to run through my experience and offer you three surprising takeaways that will hopefully help you.
What does a professional business coach do?
Specific leadership and executive coaching styles vary widely, but in general, a professional business coach is someone you meet with regularly who is trained to support your growth and help you optimize your performance as a leader.
I was given an opportunity to improve, to grow, and to learn, simply by meeting regularly with someone who would challenge me to think differently. Enter Elaine, the leadership coach I’ve had the pleasure of working with these last few years. Elaine creates a safe space for leaders to be vulnerable enough to share their struggles, doubts, challenges, and questions.
You might be thinking, “This sounds wonderful!” “I need this!” You are right — it is wonderful, and I cannot imagine anybody who doesn’t need it. But let me be clear: the work is hard. So, here are my three surprising takeaways from working with a professional business coach.
3 surprising takeaways from working with a professional business coach
1. Working on yourself is not easy
Your professional business coach helps you get to know yourself at a deep level. Acknowledging your personal biases, your “triggers,” and your mistakes is not easy. It can be challenging to face yourself and how you really show up in your professional life. Learning to be ok with your personal nuances, and at times even celebrate them when appropriate, is even more difficult. This self-awareness is really the foundation of successful coaching and a critical component of the professional development journey.
2. You have to practice what you learn
All of that self-discovery aided by a compassionate professional business coach is just the beginning. You then develop personal goals and have to put into practice what you discuss and work on during your hour-long sessions — that feels almost impossible at times! But like anything, practice plays a huge role. And what is the point of meeting with a coach if not to put into practice what you learn? Amazing leaders aren’t born, they’re developed.
3. Growth never ends, and that’s kind of the point
A professional business coach helps leaders move past being their own harshest critic or being defensive about their decisions, encouraging them to move beyond personal judgment and toward a growth mindset. The more you take responsibility, the easier it is to approach decisions, yourself, and others with an openness to learn, collaborate, and innovate — that’s where the magic happens and what ultimately never ends. With a good coach, your mindset is forever shifted so that even if you no longer meet regularly, you still carry the tools with you for continuous growth.
Start growing with a professional business coach
We are all leaders in some way, and as such, what I’m describing is applicable to any of us. That is certainly true in the veterinary world where decision-making happens every minute of every day, which is exhausting.
Our personal development directly impacts the environment we help to create around us, and taking the time to work on that development is critical. It is hard work, but it is extremely fulfilling for you and beneficial for your colleagues, your clients, and your family. Better work/life balance, boundaries, and stress management, plus clearer communication and decision-making are just some of the benefits you can expect from professional coaching.