You can’t win gold alone

  • September 23, 2016

There is a frequent misperception in the corporate world that coaching is for poor performers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Coaching is for high performers with the most potential. After all, you can’t squeeze juice out of a dry orange.

In corporate corridors, executives are constantly being called upon to make decisions and access their best thinking, and sometimes, the bottom line is: it’s just not there. Working in a corporate environment can feel like being on a constant treadmill, like there is no time to pause, draw breath, reflect and re-connect with what you really need to focus on. I often to say to executives that time spent with a coach is your time.

At a silent retreat I went on in India, a question from audience was: how do I stop my mind? The answer: your mind is like the ocean, it doesn’t stop. The job of the mind is to constantly generate thoughts.

And the job of the executive coach is to help you access your best thinking.

Not every thought we have is a great one. We all know that’s true. And it’s also true that we engage more easily with limiting thoughts that we do those liberating thoughts.

But you can’t win gold with limiting thoughts.

A coach is a creative partner who asks incisive, powerful questions, who listens deeply, and who guides you through thought-provoking processes which enable you to find those liberating thoughts and thus maximise your personal and professional potential.

That said, the coach is not the problem solver. At Emuthini, we believe totally that the mind with the problem is the mind with the solution.

I became a coach after working in the hot seat in corporate South African and London, in charge of multimillion rand budgets and tasked with inspiring teams and growing the business. During those years I recognised the strain and challenge of being an executive, and saw how important it was to have an external, objective person with whom to meet, pause, refocus your lens, before implementing your next strategy.

Today, I am confident that one of the things that sets me apart from other coaches is that I bring the empathy of first-hand experience working as an executive across Europe, USA and most of Africa. My case studies are ones that I personally experienced, not just textbook theory.

That said, for coaching to work its real magic, the energetic match between the client and coach is critical. I always recommend that a client sees 2-3 coaches before they decide with whom they wish to work. It’s a match based on trust – trust that the coach will guide you to the insights you are seeking – and trust that the client is engaged and willing to be a partner on a creative and thought-provoking journey into their own minds.

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