Coaching. A phrase oft wrought with the distinction of self-improvement and positive enhancement. Considered “mission critical” across the realms of sports, entertainment and the like, it is understood to be a key piece of strategy when discussing performance potential and capability.
Yet, when included in the business context, the idealization surrounding coaching swiftly takes on a darker and more pejorative tone. Insofar as coaching business executives, it is often only seen in a remedial light, as a last ditch effort to course correct problems.
Stigma aside, the executive coaching experts at Talent Sequencing have gone to great lengths to reframe the cornerstone concepts underpinning executive coaching—because rather than “fixing” a presupposed “problem”, our approach towards coaching utilizes it in the same framework that top athletes, entertainers, and others assemble teams of specialized coaches to develop into optimal, high performance versions of themselves.
Through Talent Sequencing’s experience, our perspective is that coaching as a remedial approach is entirely shortsighted. Why should the default setting in the corporate context be “coaching is only for the damaged or broken”? Why shouldn’t it be along the lines of, “Hey, let’s follow the proven paths with what works in the high performance world of professional sports and entertainment, and bring in coaches to improve upon those who already demonstrate the highest ability, talent, and skills, and—in doing so—perhaps we can help them improve even further.” This is akin to the Marcus Buckingham mantra, “focus on improving your strengths,” vs. remediating your weaknesses (https://www.marcusbuckingham.com/rwtb/business-case-for-strengths/).
A typical professional sports team averages more coaches than players on the field. There are head coaches, strength coaches, psychological coaches, conditioning coaches, and strategy coaches. Often there is a ratio of 3 or 4 coaches to every 1 athlete when you take into consideration all the experts brought in to work on performance. An Olympic athlete has an arsenal of coaches on which they can draw.
In our approach at Talent Sequencing, we believe “let’s breed more Olympic corporate athletes & teams” is the right way to handle executive coaching. Can you imagine what would happen to business growth and productivity if we focused on energy on making the top performers and top potential—even better? Eric Schmidt, the vaunted former Google CEO and now Chair, confessed the value of coaching for him and his Google mandate with great candor in this video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVfeezxmYcA.
In our next post, we will discuss the key arguments for executive coaching at this level. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us as well.