Are you vaguely familiar with the function of a “life” or “corporate coach” but still lack knowledge of what they can offer and how it can benefit you? Given the fast-paced and stressful lives most of us lead, understanding, appreciating and utilising coaching skills is more important than ever before for achieving personal and business success, says Sahar Haffaar Moussly, Executive Director, Trans Gulf Management Consultancy.
The lack of understanding surrounding the role of a life coach can sometimes lead to scepticism about the profession, as well as criticism of the work ethics of the individual who chooses to participate in life or executive business coaching. In order to lift this shroud of mystery and misunderstanding about coaching, let us start by defining the practice.
Coaching is a way to direct, instruct and train individuals, with the goal of achieving or developing specific skills which help them to enjoy greater success, less stress and better organisation.
While personal and professional goals may overlap, business coaching differs from life coaching in that the focus is to provide support and guidance to improve the effectiveness of an individual’s or a group’s business in relation to issues such as:
- Goal setting
- Strategic planning
Need for pre-emptive not reactive
Unfortunately many companies do not take business coaching into consideration until they start facing problems and challenges. Only then do they call the corporate coach to ensure that the business continues to operate efficiently and effectively. However, executive coaching is an increasingly accessible and time-efficient learning method as it can help:
- Revitalise management
- Develop new capabilities
- Meet the entrepreneurial needs of fragmented markets
- Develop higher levels of emotional intelligence
- Build and strengthen teams
- Inspire company loyalty
Studies carried out by the Federation of Coaching illustrate that executive coaching can provide high returns on investment. So, who exactly seeks out a coach? According to the Chicago Tribune its: “winners who want even more out of life.” To move forward in personal and professional life you need to tackle several areas such as:
- Life-work balance
- Emotional intelligence
This involves the creation of positive habits that help you achieve very specific milestones on your journey to building your business and your career. As an executive there are certain steps that you should adopt in achieving this skill, which include reacting positively to change – learn, grow and spend your energy on finding solutions rather than brooding over problems. Self-mastery is an acquired habit that says: “I can handle whatever life chooses to throw at me”. It means you are flexible and you enjoy a positive outlook which helps you to think more creatively to deal with the changing circumstances.
Instead of refusing change, use the change to grow, use it as an opportunity to stretch your limits and discover new ways to manage people and events. If you don’t master yourself, you will not be able to manage others. And have a sense of humour – change is not funny, but keep things in perspective and don’t take yourself so seriously.
This can also be called introspection, defined as “the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations.”
The communications revolution means that for many of us the line that separates personal life from work has become blurred. The many gadgets that have entered our lives, from Smartphones to laptops, and iPads, that keep us connected at all times mean that it is not a foreign concept to be working around the clock. We fail to realise that not everybody at work expects you to be connected at all times, and forget that finding and creating a balance between work and life is essential to personal and corporate health.
As it relates to superior leadership, this is a delicate mix of empathy, intuition and self-awareness. These skills can be obtained or enhanced through corporate coaching, so that you may display these qualities to others in your organisation and lead in such a way that others follow by mimicking your positive behaviours. A CEO who values his organisation and is communicative, and who is firm but fair with employees, is viewed differently from a CEO who stays locked in his office and only communicates with employees through his assistant.
Over the last thirty years coaching has achieved great results in the workplace and it has evolved to new levels. Dr. Skiffington, author of “Behaviour Coaching” has made great contributions to this development with the revolutionary behavioural coaching model for the workplace developed by her institute.
The term “behaviour” is frequently misused in training and coaching programmes, with little attention paid to methods of actually changing behaviours and insuring that these changes are lasting.
The definition of activities to which behavioural coaching subscribes is: “the actions, responses and reactions of an individual, team or organisation.” Behavioural coaching can also be defined as: “the science and art or facilitating the performance, learning and development of the individual or team, which in turn assists the growth of the organisation.” The overall goal of behavioural coaching is to help individuals increase their effectiveness and happiness at work, in their studies, or in a social setting.
Everyone involved in personal and professional development needs to understand and appreciate basic behavioural processes and how these relate to individual functioning and organisational performance.
From an organisational perspective, the actions, behaviours and decisions of senior management can make or break the business, regardless of how its vision and strategy appear on paper. It is safe to say that in the current business environment, more than a few basic skills are needed to demonstrate leadership competency.
An executive needs mental and emotional intelligence, sophistication, cultural understanding, technical abilities, operational skills, a leadership mentality, working well with others, and a wide variety of other multi-generational, cross cultural, and business savvy skills. Corporate coaching as such can serve as an essential component to the success of an organisation through emphasising and helping individuals to develop the following:
- A corporate coach can assist by accelerating the executive’s natural learning curve in a way that may not be achieved alone.
- All behaviours result in positive or negative consequences for the individual and those around him. Individuals are systems within systems, and each individual affects and is affected by these systems and the constant changes they are undergoing.
- An individual’s current status and developmental progress should be defined in terms of their behaviour, rather than personality traits or personality styles. Corporate coaching will help you to become more self-aware, will assist you to be able to examine the past and the present to have a better impact on the future.
- Specifying the target behaviour to impact a professional skill or position task can help you to learn new behaviours and skills to deal with situations – behaviours which are needed to succeed and may not necessarily have anything to do with your personality traits.
- Measuring target behaviour that you need to amend and helps you to recognise blind spots that might put you at risk of failure.
- Exploring and changing core values, motivation, beliefs and emotions – which can result in significant behavioural change.
- Assessing covert behaviours, for example limiting beliefs and anxiety in relation to overt actions, or speaking at a meeting. A corporate coach can assist the executive’s limiting beliefs that hinder performance and decision making mechanisms, and aid in eliminating any anxiety which could potentially influence or blur an ability to make a right decision in a time of crisis.
- Assessing environmental events and the interactions between behaviour and environment, as a coach can help the executive with adopting the habit of differentiating between environmental factors which could play a role in any situation, versus any behaviour that creates the issue.
- Employing validated behavioural techniques
- Employing sufficient follow-through monitoring and self-coaching strategies, and assist in reducing linear thinking to become more creative and intuitive.
- A corporate coach can assist you in adopting more strategic thinking for greater success.
Therefore, I wonder if any organisation can afford to move into the future without making this one vital tool available to its executives. It can in many instances, prove to be an important factor in bringing about change in an organisation, especially in the light of more difficult economic times.
Sahar Haffar Moussly is a Dubai based, UK-certified Life Coach and NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner. Today she runs two businesses. Alongside her life coaching practice Life in Harmony Sahar is also Executive Director of Trans Gulf Management Consultancy (TGMC), a firm specialising in conference interpretation and translations service, which was established in 1997.
TGMC was listed as a finalist in the SME Advisor Stars of Business Awards, 2010, in the category of Professional services.
With over 25 years experience in the corporate world, Sahar holds a BA in English Language and Translation gained from Damascus University, and an MA in International Diplomacy gained at the University of Washington. She went on to become a qualified interpreter and translator, gaining a diploma in simultaneous translation and interpretation from the UK and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
In 2010 Sahar published a research and guidebook in Arabic entitled Welcome to tomorrow which introduce the topic of life coaching and self development to Arab audiences. The book was launched in Damascus in January 2010.
For more information about Life in Harmony visit www.lifeinharmony.me