Being a leader, founder or CEO of any organisation or team can be immensely rewarding and also incredibly challenging. In The Chosen Few, a documentary sharing rare insights into the minds and lives of AFL Head Coaches such as David Parkin, Ron Barassi and John Worsfold, the pressure of leadership is synonymous with words like lonely, anxious, stressful and sleepless. Whether your team is winning or losing, the role of Head Coach takes a heavy personal toll on health and wellbeing that extends to the lives of family and loved ones.
Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, knows full well the challenges of leadership. When asked about how she coped with the pressure of leadership and the relentless attacks by the opposition, the media, even people within her own party, she said “By working on my own sense of self. I couldn’t let myself feel good or bad depending on the headlines.”
Whether you are Prime Minister of Australia, CEO of a sporting organisation or the founder of a startup the pressures of leadership can challenge your mind, body and spirit. Having a Performance or Executive Coach can help you navigate these challenges and maximise the opportunities. Here are five ways a coach and the coaching process can support you as a business leader:
- Know yourself. Knowing yourself is key to better leadership for you and your business. Yet that can be easier said than done – expert guidance from a professional can be vital in identifying and understanding your personal values, strengths and limitations. A good coach can help you see your own thoughts, emotions and behaviour more clearly. They can give you insight and perspective so you can better manage your own time, energy and attention.
- Know others. The process of coaching creates space to cultivate a ‘theory of mind’ – the capacity to take the perspective of others and understand what drives individual and group behaviour. The right coach can help you communicate, motivate and lead others toward a shared vision and goals.
- Accountability. Accountability is central to building trust, both within yourself and with your wider team and stakeholders. The coaching process supports you to clarify and prioritise your performance values, vision and goals. Your coach will ask you questions to challenge your thinking and behaviour and check that you are staying true to your valued direction. They may play devil’s advocate to check you have considered all sides of a situation or decision.
- Meaning making. Having clarity of mind leads to better decision making and leadership confidence. Coaching helps you to sort through your thinking – it gives you space to reflect and learn from failure, success, change and uncertainty. It provides a space to be human, to be vulnerable, to not have all the answers. It supports you to make sense of an experience, rather than simply judging it (or yourself) as good or bad.
- Flourishing. In order for businesses to thrive, we need leaders with fit minds and flourishing lives. Coaching is intended to support you to flourish as a human and as a leader. A capable coach understands the science of wellbeing and performance. They will share evidence based knowledge and strategies to support your health and wellbeing.
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