In a conversation with a colleague recently, we discussed the difference between needing and wanting. Needs are those things that are essential and important and, in truth, our needs are quite simple—food, shelter, water. With those basics met, we have everything we “need” to survive.
Wants, on the other hand, are desires or wishes for something beyond our needs. For most people, they want fresh, delicious food or a well-built, beautiful home, which is only the beginning of our desires. Without a doubt, everyone is capable of developing a long list of desires they would like to see manifest in their lives.
What does all this have to do with Leadership Coaching? Leadership coaches help people achieve their desires by supporting the development of each person’s capacity to easily and effortlessly create the life they want; for leadership is the ability to create change in your life, your community and your world. Key to success for anyone in the coaching process is to understand the difference between needs and wants and how to tap into the flow and creativity that is unleashed when we focus on the freedom of desires instead of the weight of needs.
For anyone considering entering into a coaching relationship, first examine your motivations—do you want to improve your life? Your skills? Your happiness and satisfaction? Or do you feel the need to do something different because what you are doing now is not working? Has someone told you, you “need” help? Without exception, those who begin the coaching process with a sincere desire to improve and expand their lives will have much more success than someone who starts the coaching process feeling the need and pressure to do something different.
Next, look for a coach who doesn’t want to be needed—or need to be needed! Often, conscious or not, coaches like the idea of helping other people and feel their worth through that process. For a truly effective coaching relationship to develop, it is important to work with a coach that wants you to rediscover and own the qualities and skills you possess to lead the life you want. For such coaches, success is viewed when clients move beyond the regular coaching relationship to less frequent meetings based on sustaining focus on leadership efficacy and supporting the achievement of ever-expanding goals.
Finally, find a coach that is applying the principles he or she is teaching to his or her own life. In other words, are they walking the talk? Using the Leadership Model of Change ask your potential coach these questions:
• Who are you?
• What change do you want to create in the world?
• How do you live your life to support this work?
• What leadership skills are you currently developing?
• How do you build teams in your life?
• What real world results are you currently experiencing?
• How do you reflect on your results and continue the change process?
By engaging a potential coach in these questions, you will quickly discover if this is the person you want to work with.
If you are feeling a sincere desire to create change in your life and are uncertain how to proceed, you may want to consider working with a leadership coach. Through the process of identifying someone who will work with you to increase your impact on the world, you will hone your understanding of what this process means to you and the results that you want to achieve. The first step is always the most difficult on the road to creating change in our lives, so if this is a sincere desire for you—do something today to turn this desire into a reality.
Step-by-step our lives change. For most people, these changes occur without our direct participation and guidance. Leaders learn how to take charge of their lives and to work with the flow of life to get where they want to go. Needing change doesn’t make it happen—wanting things to be different and then acting on that desire does. So what are you waiting for? The world needs your leadership—now!
Good piece, Kathleen, especially the questions to ask of a prospective coach. But I take exception with your advice in paragraph three that one can “easily and effortlessly create the life they want.” Leadership, and self-change, take courage and hard work.