by Martin Goodyer (UK)
There is one particular style of business coach that you might want to think about – the one that’s guaranteed to deliver a terrific return on your investment. The truth is, ‘Business Coaching’ can mean anything you want it to mean. There is no single academic ‘agreed definition’, instead just plenty of speculative suggestions – many very similar to each other, but none precisely the same. Therefore, when it comes to defining a business coach to help in your organisation the range of options are similarly ill-defined; they might be anything from a business advisor utilising a coaching style to a business experienced coaching generalist (with plenty of options between).
However, a less usual and yet highly effective business coach is the one focused solely on expending people potential. He or she will speak the language of your organisation, but will know little or nothing about the intricacies, details, processes, or your current business challenges. This style of coach does not need to know because their expertise sits elsewhere; they have the skill to turn the word ‘investment in people’, ‘human capital’, or the ubiquitous ‘people are our greatest resource’ from an ambition to a reality. They have the skill to facilitate (often) significant enhancements in the performance of everyone within your organisation and bring to life the dormant and hidden opportunities you have not yet done work for you.
More than 40 years ago Tim Gallwey, then a sports coaching author identified that a person’s performance can’t be improved by simply telling them what needed to be done and then hoping they’d do it. He recognised that first and foremost, if a person is to improve they must have the potential to be better; having established they do, the job of the coach is then to remove the barriers and interference in the way of reaching that potential. The Gallwey’s equation is powerful and timeless: Performance is equal to potential minus interference, P = (p-i). Sometimes those barriers are a lack of technical skills, sometimes they are issues of confidence, or sometimes even the simple awareness that their potential is real. The successful coach accepts performance as part of a balanced equation – if the person’s potential is greater than their performance then there must be things getting in the way. Therefore, the coach’s job is to help the person identify those barriers and get rid of that interference, safe in the knowledge that the resulting performance will inevitably improve.
Martin Goodyer MBPsS, Executive & Business Coach
PhD Candidate – Birmingham City University, Author of ‘Being a Boss doesn’t make you a Leader’, ‘WTF Just Happened’, ‘How to be a Great Coach’