If you have ever competed in a music competition, in a forensics debate or, more commonly, in a league or varsity sporting event, then you’ve been coached. Nearly everyone will say the coach (or teacher or mentor) added something to his or her game. In some instances, the coach had minor impact, but in most cases the coach had either a significant or an overwhelming impact. Every Olympic medalist in London this past summer had multiple individuals in his or her background who played varying roles in perfecting that competitor’s top-of-game performance: from trainers, to strength coaches, to nutritionists, to even as many as two or three direct-skill coaches.
Personal and Career Coaching Takes on Many Forms (and Pays Off!)
Coaching has now come into full maturity in nearly all corners of life, from corporate America to independent individuals, and even in government. All have realized the same bump in power and performance that athletes benefit from can also happen in their careers and job performance. Executive coaches were reported working, in corporate America as early as the 1960s - albeit sporadically. They are now prevalent and used regularly at the likes of Microsoft, Apple, UPS, AT&T, and in the entertainment industry.
Individuals too, from independent salespeople to real estate developers, realize the impact coaching can have on their careers, their ability to generate multiple streams of income, their marriage, or even their spiritual life. Even government is no exception, from the top all the way down. Is there even one state senate race in the USA that does not have a campaign manager? Nightingale-Conant Coaching Division alone coached nearly 600 company executives and individuals during 2012.
The power of a life coach, career coach or multiple-stream-of-income coach can be measurable and powerful. For executive coaching in particular, Fortune magazine reported that when managers were asked for a conservative estimate of the monetary payoff they got from coaching, they claimed an average return of more than $100,000 — which was about six times the cost of the coaching.
What’s more, nearly three in 10 claimed they had improved their insights and techniques enough to increase their sales, productivity, or profits, by $500,000 to $1 million a year! They also reported such things as better relationships with their direct reports and bosses, not to mention significantly improved relationships with peers and, most importantly, with their clients.
The Benefits Are Especially Felt in the Sales Profession
Although nearly all individuals in all walks of life experience an increase in personal performance from coaching, sales personnel are often the single biggest benefactors. All too often sales managers or sales trainers (usually present at only the top Fortune 250 companies) are too drained by the demands on their own performance agenda to invest in training their staffs.
As can be seen in the following table from Nightingale Coaching, sale professionals receive much less coaching for the time spent in performance:
| Typical Ratios of Training Time |
to Actual Performance Time
|Hours spent training versus hours spent in live |
performance by professional groups
|Profession/Event ||Training Time to Live Performance * |
|Winter Luge Competitor ||174 to 1 |
|Football Player (NCAA and NFL)** ||15 to 1 |
|Golfer (PGA Pro Circuit) ||9.5 to 1 |
|Baseball Player (NCAA and MLB) ||6 to 1 |
|Classical Voice or Instrument Performer ||5.6 to 1 |
|Average American Sales Professional ||0.12 to 1 |
* Does not include off-season conditioning or time spent prior to becoming professional.
** Assumes "one side of the ball" playing time.
The table above spells it out instantly. Sales professionals are often thrown into the “sea of leads” with minimal knowledge of the big three: knowledge of their product, their customer, and their competition. What’s more, even if a cursory PowerPoint or “talking points” are circulated on the company intranet, one-on-one mentoring in the areas of interpersonal skills or teaching the knack of being a consultative sales adviser and not a convincer are only a holy grail to the more than 25 million estimated souls in the sales profession.
Coaching as the Lifesaver
Coaching can be like having a teacher, motivator, and achievement expert walking with you all the way to an unstoppable future.
David Nield, Director of Nightingale-Conant’s Coaching division, summarized it like this. “Coaches often play either cheerleader or accountability drill sergeant whenever the case calls for it week to week. They play mother, mentor, father, teacher, shaman when they sense the need, but they almost always coach by overcoming a client’s personal blockages, hesitations, and fears. Fundamentally, coaches change the ruts the person has fallen into — every one.”
I think Dostoevsky said it well, “The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.” (This also refers to women, of course.) It’s just that those habits are not like biting one’s nails, but rather are habits of outlook on life, such as selling oneself short or not treating a goal any differently than a mere wish. Let’s face it, a goal is usually someone’s wish. But a wish with a plan of action and achievable, stair-stepping sub-targets attached to it: that’s a Goal.
The best spokespeople for the power of personal or executive coaching are the clients themselves.
"I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable."
-John Russell, Managing Director at Harley-Davidson Europe, Ltd.
“Within six months... I had increased my income by 20%!”
- Christopher Yonker
“I am now quickly realizing cherished goals... including new work, a new level of physical fitness and health, and a more beautiful, comfortable home — not to mention greater confidence and respect.”
- Sharon Heringer
As Ms. Heringer’s personal story suggests, most coaches — although they may be industry-specific or skill-set specific — are adept at working on the whole person. They know that factors such as personal discipline, time management, interpersonal strengths, and even one’s home life are woven into performance.
The Benefits and Rewards Can Be Huge
Although the goals may vary, all clients want the same benefit: a higher-quality, more fulfilling life. The rewards span the gamut from discerning better the whispers of one’s God in one’s heart, as is the case with Spiritual Coaching, all the way to Career Coaching that yields a promotion! Regardless, working with the right coach often starts with the basics and proceeds to employing the most fruitful techniques, such as the following:
- Clearly define the most important goals
- Develop a detailed plan to help achieve those goals
- Eliminate the hidden, internal blockages
- Work smarter, not longer
- Enhance your strengths and overcome your weaknesses
Many coaching clients use these new strengths to command the salary they deserve, to start the businesses of their dreams, and to raise respectable children who grow to accomplish great things, not to mention the clients’ ability to channel the improved outlook into being more fit, having more energy, and looking their best.
The goal of teaming with a Personal Success Coach, in particular, is to gain the right direction, the right support, the right motivation, and the right accountability. And with the Fortune survey of an average return on investment of $100,000, there seems to be no better place to put one’s money in 2013 than by investing in oneself through coaching.
You may also receive a free 30-minute tele-coaching session as well as find out what coaching packages cost at Nightingale-Conant by calling 800-550-3506 to set the telephone appointment of your choice to occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:30pm Central.