The Importance of Coaching

Published 10/6/22

Humans are constantly overwhelmed with information – in fact, there are so many things coming at us that, simply to survive, we filter out all but the most important.

As a result, each of us creates our own set of filters that provide us with our own personal reality. Like a snowflake, no two people have identical realities. This is one reason why two rational people can experience the exact same incident and have very different views on what happened or what the consequences will be. It is also why two similar people can have vastly different beliefs on their work potential.

So, how do we “get on the same page” when we are all so different?

In my experience, communicating (mainly listening to each other) about our unique perspectives is key for understanding where each other is coming from and unlearning our own biased perceptions.

In the case of specific performance goals, like in professional sports, teams will hire coaches to help individuals and groups meet their potential. There’s a lot of money at stake in these spaces, so owners and general managers work hard to find the best coaches available, to ensure this potential is fully unearthed. A good coach can help us see other perspectives and understand that what many of us perceive as constraints on our own capabilities are actually self-induced assumptions from our own reality filters. For example, the “I’m no good at math” syndrome can stem from a variety of early experiences that may or may not be true indicators in later years but have created a reality that has pushed him to stay away from math.

In my opinion, the single most important characteristic needed to be a great manager is great coaching. And what do we look for when recruiting coaches? Great listening skills, intelligence, creative problem solving, curiosity, experience (more experience provides more examples of analogies, more context for a suggestion, etc.), empathy, being articulate in explanations, and fun to be with. The great coach is very well paid because they bring out the best in the people around them.