So, what is a business coach? In my eyes, a business coach is someone who helps people within their organisation perform better. They have the genuine interest to help others (at all levels) grow and develop in a way that suits their own personal goals and those of the business.
Anyone can find themselves in the position of a business coach in a formal situation, such as supporting a senior leader, or more informally with a colleague or peer. I believe that the three key steps to achieve excellent outcomes for anyone, at any level of the organisation are the same:
1. Connect purpose and performance
2. Focus on the future first
3. Cultivate ownership and gain commitment to actions
1. Connect purpose (heart) and performance (mind) to truly understand what motivates someone at a deep level.
What is purpose?
What emotionally drives an individual is their purpose in life. This is the limbic brain in action - the part of the brain that conducts automatic thought processes like memory, senses, and feelings and is responsible for influencing behaviour.
What is performance?
Performance is the conscious motivators, goals and aspirations of an individual. What do they consciously want to achieve into the future? By understanding both the purpose and performance goals of an individual you are connecting their heart and mind.
Connecting purpose and performance
Typically, as humans we do not take the time to connect the two. Have you ever felt like you are going through the motions, walking through life in a state of fog and confusion? Getting sidetracked from living your purpose, and hindering your performance in life?
I myself have been there and I help people every week of my life at all levels of an organisation who have found themselves in this place. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is so easy to slip into this place. Life's pressures and pace are constantly working to push us into this place of disconnection and uncertainty. Future articles will cover the concept of mindfulness which is highly useful for keeping yourself more balanced.
Coaching someone effectively relies upon nurturing their ability to self-analyse, and to help them connect what emotionally drives them to what their goals and aspirations are. You are helping them develop deeper self-awareness, which will ultimately motivate and focus them on improving in the right direction.
The results of seeing someone achieve this place of living purpose and performance is amazing. The payoff helps their home life as much as it helps their work life. The result is happiness and I don’t think there is anything more important in our world today than more people experiencing happiness and contentment.
How do you uncover what an individual is feeling about their life's purpose?
There are many techniques you can choose from, but I find the simplest approach is root cause thinking.
1. Ask the person what is it that they want to achieve either for customers, their team or themselves.
2. Then continue to ask why to each question they provide you until you stretch the responses as far as you can go.
The purpose or motivating factor/s for an individual will sit further down the list of answers they provide. They will find their purpose at the 3rd, 4th or 5th response. As a business coach, it is important to keep the coachee exploring the deeper 'why' answers as many times as possible.
Here's an example of finding purpose using root cause. I am the subject!
This is the "Brad Jeavons purpose exploration". What is my goal in life? To be a successful author, consultant and father. Why do I want to achieve this? To guarantee income, raise my children well, and to help people improve to help others and the planet.
When I ask 'why' to these, I delve another level deeper, and when I ask 'why' again, I find my true purpose: I want quality of life for future generations and the planet as a whole.
Steve Irwin motivates me. I teared up in the interview he did on "Enough Rope" with Andrew Denton. Why? My purpose aligns with his. I am not Steve Irwin. I don’t have his knowledge and giftedness with the natural world, but I have other skills and capabilities I can use to live my purpose. I can write (with my wife’s help). I am an enthusiastic learner and pride myself on having a high level of knowledge. I am a people person and have skills in facilitation and coaching to help others grow.
This is where performance then comes in.
How do you help an individual set performance related goals and measures that are achievable considering their unique skills and capabilities?