By Kevin Cashman, originally posted to his Forbes blog, Pause Point on January 29, 2018.
All traditions throughout the ages have had exceptional coaches. We may have called them advisors, sages, elders, wisdom-keepers, teachers, mentors, shamans, gurus, or masters. No matter what their titles, we have always turned to them to help us look at our lives and behaviors from deeper and broader vantage points. These coaches helped their “coachees” – seekers, disciples, students, apprentices – see the world with fresh eyes, transcend what they thought was possible, and glimpse their fullest potential.
We know from our global research that most people rate “coaching and developing others” among the top three most important leadership competencies, according to 360° assessments. However, despite the rated importance of this critical competency, it actually scores as the lowest practiced competency around the world. No other leadership competency has such as wide gap between importance and practice. We agree that coaching and development are critical to transformative leadership. However, there is just one major problem: we don’t practice it! Why? Leaders often tell us that they do not have enough time; they do not know a precise, proven process; and/or they feel it will slow down their immediate performance. Regardless of the reasons, learning a pragmatic, straightforward methodology to coach and develop yourself and others is extremely critical to high-performing leadership.
For coaching to have a lasting, transformative impact, three interrelated foundations need to be constructed: Building Awareness, Building Commitment, and Building Practice. If all three are present and operating, breakthroughs will occur, and growth will be sustained. If any one of the three is absent, the results will dissipate over time. You may learn the best techniques and disciplines to practice, but if you lack commitment, you won’t continue your efforts. Similarly, all the enthusiasm and commitment in the world won’t get you far if you don’t adhere to the right practices. And without awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, how will you know what to commit to or what you need to do?