3 Reasons Coaching Doesn't Work...And I'm A Coach!
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Hi, I'm Chris White, a New York Times bestselling author and a Ph.D. statistician. Today, we're talking about three reasons coaching doesn't work.
If I'm talking about three reasons coaching doesn't work, I guess I should clarify that I am actually a coach! So, am I saying my whole profession is a sham? No, but I can tell you as a coach, I've certainly seen these three things happen over and over and over during coaching, whether it's the giver or the receiver.
Number one is expecting a big change. That's a big reason coaching doesn't work. Let's say you're receiving coaching. If you're expecting yourself to have a big transformation, that's not good. In fact, I would argue you don't need one. You don't need a big transformation. In fact, I tell people all the time that to me, the process I want to take clients through is: Number one: understand. Better understand yourself. Number two: own. I can understand it, but not really own it. Number three: tweak. I said tweak, not twerk. I think if some of you tried to twerk, you probably would tweak something. I just want you to tweak; I want you to better find that little change.
One of my colleagues, Lyle Wells, calls this the "NASCAR principle" - that after a training lab or during a pit stop maybe, they can make a very subtle adjustment that can maybe give you an extra 3 mph. But going from 185 mph to 188 makes a huge difference in the race. So that's what we're looking for here. What's your tweak? A lot of times in coaching, we feel like we're being asked to completely overhaul. Not good.
The number two reason coaching doesn't work is we're not using in-depth data. A lot of times, we use some simple assessment or no assessment all. There's a time and place for simpler assessments, but when you hit that wall or whenever you feel like you're stuck or whenever you feel like you could be more, a lot of times having some in-depth data really helps. That's data that's on a continuum, data that has 360-degree input, too.
The number three reason that coaching doesn't work is we're not very coachable. So you may be, in this case, someone kind of like me that's pretty strong-willed. If I'm too strong-willed, I can not be coachable. I can be hard to sway. Even people that tell me, "Chris, I'm not stubborn." I say, "Well, do I feel like you're hearing my words? (If I'm coaching them, that is.) Yes. Do I feel like you could repeat back to me what we just said? Sure. But are you very hard to sway? Do I have to really look at every little tool in my toolkit to try to get through to you in our limited time? Yes!" So think about that. Are you a little too hard to coach?
Our takeaways for this: Number one, think of something that you can tweak, right? What is it, for you, that could give you that payoff? What subtle change, situational adjustment? Maybe you work or live with someone that's more sensitive. Okay. Can you tweak your delivery with those people? I sure hope so! Or maybe you work or live with someone that's pretty thick-skinned, and you almost sugarcoat everything. Well then maybe you could tweak your delivery there, too.
Number two: get some in-depth data. Get some data to help you. Maybe you have a pretty good awareness of what to tweak, but not a ton. Maybe you're not sure. Well, get some data, and maybe that can help you better know exactly how to diagnose what to work on.
Number three: make sure you're a sponge for input. If you're someone that can cross-examine and counterattack (things like that) in the moment of receiving input, the best response is some level of appreciation. Yes, maybe you clarify like I said earlier, but be careful. I want to make sure that I, personally, am a sponge for input, and quite often I can send the wrong message.