Before you go...
To Become a Highly Successful Coach
Paul Knee is our latest Coach in the Spotlight with a very interesting story. Paul says, "for me the most interesting development since becoming a coach was how much 'un-learning' I had to do and then how much re-learning i had to do around self-awareness". Read his story here...
I was a corporate director for over 30 years with several multi-national organisations with my last position as Managing Director of UK operations for a USA based medical device manufacturer, finishing in July 2012.
During that corporate period I mentored and coached many highly talented and ambitious individuals who all developed into stronger Directors or moved on to be business owners. I shared my passion for “developing the latent talent everyone has to accomplish great things” with each and every one of them and so when I decided to finish corporate involvement it was completely logical to me to follow my passion and concentrate on becoming the best I could in performance and business coaching.
I wanted to use my knowledge of both coaching techniques and business toolkits to assist top-level Directors and business owners to face the myriad of “day to day” challenges with confidence and to challenge them to find valuable and profitable solutions to these challenges.
I attended one of The Coaching Academy weekends and was immediately hooked.
For me the most interesting development since becoming a coach was how much “un-learning” I had to do, and then how much re-learning about self-awareness. Coaching is about understanding your client’s views and getting them to set their own goals and establish how they are going to be achieved. In order to successfully accomplish this it is vital that the coach really knows himself - that has been really challenging for me.
Coaching is an endless journey self-awareness and self-development and has been both enjoyable and challenging and has bought me into contact with so many exciting people sharing a common view of the power within everyone. To see clients develop in front of you in both clarity of thought and numerous “light-bulb or "ah-ha moments” is truly special and so fulfilling.
The whole coaching learning process has been immensely enjoyable and has bought me into contact with some wonderful individuals with whom you can share experiences; both good and bad; and always smile about them.
Coaches are on the whole such open-minded people that every conversation is an enjoyable learning experience.
Having left corporate life made it a little bit easier regarding time available and my wife helped me a lot in the early stages with support and cups of coffee to maintain the required discipline. It also helped that my children are grown up and away from home – fitting the study in and around a young family could be very tough I’m sure!!
Achieving the qualification becomes an integral part of daily routine and it requires discipline to put in the time for study. It is important to set realistic goals and realistic timeframes to ensure the study / work / life balance is always present. The study requires family communication to ensure all aspects of family life are catered for – I am fortunate in that qualification was my career rather than another part added to an existing career and I believe that enabled me to qualify much sooner.
The initial consideration for me was the impact studying would have on my family – it is easy to lock yourself away and study and forget others so my wife and I discussed the time that would be required and this certainly helped. There are also ways to get the family involved in your personal journey, although I would never coach my wife – she wouldn’t allow it!!!
Consideration had to be given to setting up my coaching business, I was staggered by how much I did not know despite my years of running businesses – setting up is so different! I was also very determined to earn from my activity and in order to do that I sought out very challenging clients that would immediately push me outside my comfort zone and challenge me to provide value – these people saw value and agreed to pay – boosting my confidence and improving my coaching 100% - value has to be given and received.
Now that I am qualified I have a coaching business in the Corporate and Executive sector with a number of paying Managing Directors and sales teams in large companies. I have set up CEO Peer to Peer advisory groups with the support of Vistage International and I have started to become a qualified NLP Practitioner – life is busy and fun for me at the moment!!
My coaching niche is with Managing Directors and CEO’s to achieve more for their businesses and gain a greater self-awareness and well-being in their roles. It is an extremely lonely position at the top of a business and a coach can act as a sounding board and a trusted confidante with no other agenda than the success of the client.
I chose this niche because of previous experience and the fact that I find the commercial business environment to be so exciting and fast moving – I love it!!
Coaching has opened up so many avenues for me working with some really exciting clients in their businesses and to see CEO’s and MD’s make great decisions that impact their growth both personally and professionally is a “buzz”. Providing my client’s continue to receive value I see my business expanding and perhaps I will consider other areas such as Small Business and Youth impact coming into my portfolio.
I want to maintain a balance between my coaching business and my other outside interests for the remainder of my career and that is all I can ask – coaching has given me that flexibility.
Coaching questions should start significant conversations in the mind of your client and I like asking questions which can prompt two distinct answer routes, so one of my favourite questions is: “What was the best thing that happened this month on your sphere of influence and what was the one thing that you would like to change?”
Making a difference to the way my clients think about things, helping them realise that they have fantastic abilities to achieve the things they really want in their lives and with their businesses.
• Always be curious and remember that coaching is all about your client – not you.
• Coaching is valuable and hard work is necessary – you cannot play at coaching so unless you are prepared to practise, practise, practise – don’t do it.
• Seek out a variety of different practise clients.
• Move out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
• Ensure you have a scheduled programme with defined timetables for goal achievement.
• Get your coaching assessments done as soon as you can as the feedback is essential to your development.
• Make mistakes and keep learning from them.
• Follow the process – it works.
• Seek out paying opportunities as early as you can.
• Start marketing your services in your local network
• Use social media – LinkedIn and Twitter to build your visibility.
• Plan ahead – Qualification is just the start – remember after qualification is when you start coaching, it is only a small step on the way to increased learning.
• Have confidence in the skills you have learnt.
• Read widely and watch videos continuously.
• Keep coaching full-time.
• Practise questions and expand your types of questions.
• Enjoy the confidence coaching brings to those around you.
• Love it and live it!!
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