Being a leader can be a really lonely existence. Expectations are high and it can often be a real struggle to stay on top of your game and continually deliver great results. Continuing to develop as a leader has never been so vital not least because of the major challenges facing many organisations right now.
For those at a more senior level working with a coach or mentor is often a great way of continuing to develop. So what are the benefits?
Benefit 1: Thinking time
The pace at which leaders operate in organisations is often relentless and means that there is little or no time to stand back and take stock. Being able to stand back from issues and challenges allows you to clearly think through the choices, look at challenges in different ways and ultimately to take better decisions. And if you are taking better decisions it means better results for you personally and the organisation.
Benefit 2: Ongoing support
Training is great and I have been to many great training courses over the years. Trouble is most training courses are a one shot opportunity. What I mean by that is that you go along to the course, leave enthusiastic and an few months later find you are back where you started. If you are a leader looking to be more effective over the long term you know that it is going to take time. Having that ongoing support can help you make that sustained change in performance.
Benefit 3: Personal attention
In my experience of working with clients there are often some very specific areas of focus that leaders and managers want to work on. Sometimes it might be about strategies and tactics that they can apply and other times it might be tackling areas of self doubt or misconceptions. I also notice that they rarely need to work on all aspects of a particular topic but more on one or two areas. The nature of the relationship means that it is much easier to tailor the programme to meet specific needs.
Benefit 4: Highly time efficient
I know that when I was in leadership and management roles, creating the time to attend a 2 or 3 day course was often a real challenge. By comparison finding a couple of hours a month to work with a coach was much more time efficient and effective.
Benefit 5: Return on Investment
Ultimately if you are investing time, money and energy into something the return on what you have invested will be important. Research into the benefits of coaching indicates that the return on investment is in the region of 500-700%. Now these numbers might well look huge but let’s take a look at an example. Imagine you are a senior manager who aspires to be a Director. Ask yourself what’s the difference in salary and benefits? In a field like accountancy, the differential between a number one and number two can easily be in the £30-50,000 per annum range. If you are in the number one job for say 10 years, that could mean an extra £300-£500,000 to your earnings. So look at your investment in terms of the lifetime value.
Bottom Line – Continuing to develop as a leader is no longer an optional extra. If you are serious about realising your professional and personal potential, working with a coach or mentor might just be the catalyst.