I’ve just decided to hire a coach. This may sound a bit odd coming from a coach, but coaches need coaches as much as anyone else. In my case, I am seeking to understand any blind spots that might be holding me back from becoming a better coach. Over the years I’ve attended two coaching schools, read many books and reflected on each coaching conversation. I’ve learned a lot from this work but there is something missing.
Seeing through different eyes
The missing thing for me is direct observation. I’ve hired a coach who will review recordings of real client sessions, of course with each client’s permission. My coach will examine each recording to identify what I can do differently to achieve better outcomes. The exciting thing about this is having a different person observe the conversation through their eyes. They have a great vantage point from which to view my blind spots.
We can’t improve what we don’t see
Blind spots are the things we don’t see. If we can’t see them, we can’t improve them and this is a problem we all face. How to shed light on our blind spots? As I’ve described, I am going to great lengths to receive specific feedback from direct observation. The good news is there are easier ways you can gain similar feedback. The simplest is to ask the people you work with for their feedback. How do they see you? What things do they see that could help you improve? It requires courage to do this but when done well you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
If that feels too difficult, you could also hire a coach to complete a 360 assessment. Your coach will work with you to identify a group of people who are best placed to provide you the feedback you are seeking. The coach them interviews each person to gather their observations and presents it to you in a constructive and actionable way.
You could also go one better and hire a coach to observe you at work. I have found this works extremely well with teams. The coach attends several team meetings and observes the dynamics of the team. After a short while, the team forgets the coach is there and they start to reveal their usual patterns and habits. Since the coach isn’t part of the team, they are well placed to provide independent, critical feedback to uncover the team’s blind spots.
The one thing I hope everyone takes away from this is we all have blind spots and we can’t improve what we can’t see. What are you doing to shine a light on yours?