Should They Tell You What To Do?


The post below was first published in August 2013, and I wanted to share it again because the longer I enjoy being self-employed, the more convinced I become of the importance of using coaching as a management tool. In the US the majority of large companies and organisations have in-house coaches, to help unlock and maximise the potential of their employees.

Executive coaching is also becoming more popular in the UK, as managers and business owners recognize that they can achieve much more by looking at how they can support their staff, instead of sticking to the traditional triangle of hierarchy and dishing out instructions.

In the words of Stephen Covey, we are slowly moving from 'dependency' to 'inter-dependency', where we learn to allow others to find out what it is they do best, and then allow them to do it, so that our teams are made up of competent individuals, each knowing that their contribution is relevant and valuable.

In the past two and a half years my own business has evolved far beyond anything I thought I could do as I have given myself 'permission' to do things differently; in fact the only thing that has stayed the same is that I still LOVE what I do.

Dare to dream, give yourself permission to do what you love, right now!

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Last Friday I had the pleasure of spending time with a group of young people who are currently unemployed. The trouble was, they weren't too thrilled to be with me, because they were there 'under duress' ie., if they didn't attend the workshop they wouldn't receive their dole money. I should add that I am currently in Austria - I'm not sure whether the UK social welfare system ever sends people on courses with the threat of non-payment of allowances if they don't attend.

At the end of the morning, as I always do at my workshops, I asked the youngsters what they had liked the least, and what they had liked the most. All of them agreed that they didn't like having to be somewhere that, given the choice, they wouldn't be. But their answer to my question about what they liked the most warmed my heart. They told me that they appreciated me not telling them what to do, and that for the first time they felt as though they were working together as a group.

Why I am sharing this with you ? Since I qualified as a coach I have found time and time again that by asking questions instead of giving advice, the people I work with realise that they already have the answers, and that they are capable of much more than they think they are.

More importantly they understand that there are no rules in place to prevent them from becoming a world-famous basketball player, or a nurse, or a mechanic for a luxury car maker. We are frequently our own worst enemies, finding a hundred reasons to not do something that would take us closer to a goal or dream.

I'll be spending every morning next week with a new group of young people in the same situation. It's quite nerve-wracking wondering what they're going to throw at me (not literally of course), but I know that the rewards will be great, and I wouldn't change my job now for anything in the world.


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