A current executive coachee from one of the three big food distribution companies recently shared with me that one of his colleagues asked him why (on earth) he wanted an executive coach. His response: “Because how else am I going to keep holding myself accountable? If I don’t have someone that keeps me thinking about how I go about doing what it is I do, then my old habits will just creep back in, and I don’t want to go back to where I once was.”
Whatever the domain, whether being a great Olympian, a great orchestra conductor, a great writer: No one is automatically ‘great.’ They all have coaches or mentors that invested heavily with their time and energy to extend their craft into someone hungry to learn it. Greatness is a lot of hard work that consists of relentless (and repetitive) practicing, coupled with direct and many times hard to hear feedback. Greatness at most anything also consists of plenty of failure. Without a coach, there are some athletes that would still be really good, but they wouldn’t be great. I’m convinced that greatness is something that a leader has to aspire to; otherwise, coaching can have impact but that impact will be limited.