Why you need a coach to perform at your best

No matter how motivated, self-disciplined and brilliant you are, you need a coach to unleash your full potential. We don’t always realize, or perhaps underestimate, how much we rely on external systems and structures for progress and success. It’s only when you start thinking of or taking action toward your audacious goals about your career and your life that you realize how unclear and intimidating the path can get. A coach accompanies you on the path toward your grand visions - providing clarity, support, and the much-needed accountability component. 

Being surrounded by outstanding entrepreneurs, investors, artists as well as individuals in more traditional, corporate positions, gave me the opportunity to observe how these people benefit from working with a coach. Not only were they able to increase their overall performance and productivity, but they were also experiencing higher levels of fulfillment, happiness and a sense of purposefulness in their actions. 

Based on my personal experience and observations, below are some ways a coach will have a positive impact on your life:

  • A coach is the perfect accountability partner:

    Did you know that people who write their goals and report their progress to someone are twice as likely to achieve these goals than those who don’t? 

Accountability is a critical component of success in all areas of your life, and most of us respond better to external sources of accountability - such as project deadlines, client expectations or reporting to a supervisor. However, when it comes to your own career goals and challenges, there isn’t an external piece of accountability which making it harder to achieve even the simplest tasks - whether it’s updating and sending out resumes or getting out of the apartment as a solo founder. The issue is that you either don’t care about not having accomplished that goal (because nobody was checking to see if you did) or you prioritize the deliverables that others expect from you over the goals and habits you actually care about.
This is where a professional coach comes in and provides that external sense of accountability for you, by checking in and by asking you to report back in a way that works for you. You can have your friends, family members or colleagues as accountability partners too, but I’ve found that it’s easier to make up excuses and get out of the tasks when it’s someone close to you. Your coach, a professional accountability partner will not only check in with you and put in simple tasks in place for you to keep reporting back, but they will also remind you why this is important to you and show you your progress.

  • A coach makes your goals SMART: One of the common reasons people hesitate to take action toward their biggest goals and dreams the feeling of overwhelm by the vastness of these goals and dreams. A coach will work with you to clearly define these goals and drive motivation from them while also helping you turn them into SMART ones that you can reach, step by step. The prominent management consultant Peter Drucker defines SMART goals as: 

    • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)

    • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)

    • Attainable (achievable)

    • Realistic (reasonable)

    • Time-bound (time-based)

While you can turn your goals into SMART ones on your own, a coach will also help you organize them into tasks that you can report back on, track your progress and keep pushing you to the next steps. Even for individuals with high levels of self-motivation and self-discipline, it can get hard to keep going when there is no immediate external reward for it.

  • A coach keeps you on track for success: Starting with grades, rubrics and report cards at school, then switching to deadlines, deliverables, KPIs and evaluations at work, we get used to an external system to review our progress and make sure we are on the right track toward the successful completion of our goals. However, when you are tackling your personal goals, you don’t have these external checkpoints and success indicators, and you tend to overlook or underestimate your accomplishments and progress. A coach, constantly tracking all your progress and updating your goals, not only acknowledges all your accomplishments but also shows you, with evidence, how far you’ve come and why this matters. Your coach doesn’t do this to please you but to give you the credit and the praise you deserve. In fact, we need this approval and acknowledgment more than we might want to admit; but the motivation we need to keep going becomes higher the more serotonin and dopamine our brain releases. Higher levels of these neurotransmitters get released with a sense of accomplishment and external acknowledgments of our success (among other things of course). That’s one reason psychologists tell you to make your bed first thing in the morning so you can trigger that positive cycle in your brain.  

  • A coach helps you clearly define your path: Most people who are eager to work toward their audacious career and life goals find it hard to clearly articulate what it is they want. A coach asks you questions to help you define, reframe, understand, and evaluate your own thoughts, ideas, and desires. The different perspectives, interpretations, and observations your coach offers you, can offer insights leading to realizations, and clarity. This offers you a chance to really uncover your truth, and discover your desires, priorities, and preferences so you can plan your path accordingly. With a clear path, you will have the conviction to move away from anything that does not serve you or your goals, and the ability to devote your time and energy toward those that do. Your coach will not give you answers but rather guide in finding your own answers and strategies toward achieving your goals. 

You may not need a coach, but you deserve one. Your time, energy, and willpower are not limited resources, and you need everything you got to successfully achieve your goals. Why not better allocate and manage your resources, define your path to success and steadily make your way there with a coach that will help you unleash your full potential?