You Can’t Know What You Don’t Know

This Week’s Focus Point

Why do professional sportspeople, sports teams, business start-ups and leading executives have coaches?

Because working with a good coach drives higher results. 

A coach brings specific expertise to the table that, when combined with an individual’s raw talent, creates results that would otherwise be unattainable.

Even the local under 8s soccer club see the value in having a coach.

So, why don’t your best employees have coaches?

Or your project managers?

Or your sales people?

Or your front of house staff?

Is it because they don’t have talent?… No, of course that’s nonsense.

Perhaps coaching only succeeds in sports?… No, there are entire cohorts of executives and founders working with coaches to great success (myself included).

Maybe it’s because coaches are expensive?… Once again, no. With a bit of imagination, there are a multitude of ways to make it happen with little cost. (Hint: don’t hire a different external party for each employee- think about setting up internal networks or if using externals look at group/team coaching).

The honest truth is that the common answer is usually just – “we didn’t think of that”.

The lost potential is hard to quantify, but it’s very real.

I want to share with you a quick story of a program manager client I coached for a few months.

She was in charge of a large customer service overhaul. She had minimal formal project/program management training or experience, and the poor thing had been handed a multi-million dollar lemon.
It was already 9 months into its 3-year timeframe, and at best, had achieved maybe two months’ worth of work. It was grossly under-budget and was being run by staff that were already 150% allocated to other ‘day jobs’. The entirety of the program was stored in a glorified 300-line task list.

This program manager was hired to turn things around. I was engaged to coach her through it.

To make a long story short, we set weekly sessions that raised her capability by targeting a new area of focus and improvement. And, bit by bit, we converted that mess of a program into a beautiful piece of machinery.

Decisions were finally being made. There was now a clear direction. Pain points known and were being rapidly dissolved. Additional resources were hired, and an acceleration plan commenced to re-capture the lost time.

But the biggest success, was that this program manager’s confidence went from ‘I am afraid to speak to that executive’ to hosting program board meetings with key executives with the courage to persist until decisions were made and issues resolved. A large shift in just a couple of months.

I share this story because I want you to see how powerful the art of coaching can be.

We need to start embedding coaches throughout our organisations.

We should never assume we know everything. Einstein said it best: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”, and that is true for ourselves, our teams and our peers. We don’t know what we don’t know – but we may have a deep well of talent waiting to be tapped.

The amazing thing is, the coach doesn’t even need to be an expert –often just a few years more experience, a few more (metaphorical) scars and an appetite to drive accountability is enough to create a large impact.

So what I want you to take away from this week’s booster is not just that coaching works, but rather, I want you to think about how you can take advantage of this within your teams and businesses.

Think small and think outside the norms.

Setup peer-mentoring programs,

Establish internal coaching opportunities,

Hire a dedicated internal consultant & coach to run targeted coaching cycles,

Or identify those key influencers in your organisation and engage an expert external coach to work with them.

Coaching is often done across geo-locations and time zones, so your imagination really is the limit here.

Either way, by thinking a laterally, you can ensure you don’t miss out on the powerful impact a good coach has.

Your Weekly Challenge

This week:

Find one way to implement coaching into your business. 

By looking to leverage existing expertise, you will drive faster and more effective results.

This Week’s Thought Pulses

Leadership & Performance

Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.
John Madden, American Football

Momentum & Energy

Coaches drive accountability and persistability.
Without the the guide rope, it’s easy to slow to a halt when the path gets dark.

Delivery & Oversight

If you are looking to increase project management capability in your business, consider setting up a dedicated project management coaching arm as part of a pro-active centre of excellence,


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