Shock, Disbelief, Realization.

“He has a coach???” referring to a successful multi-millionaire entrepreneur.

The 2014 ICF (International Coach Federation) Global Consumer Awareness Study outlined that 58% of respondents globally were aware of professional business and/or life coaching. In my world that is drastically low and then I meet a new person and this statistic becomes clearer.

I recently met a successful manager in the insurance sector, almost my age, who upon hearing I was an Executive Coach revealed his shock that a friend of his (the successful multi-millionaire entrepreneur mentioned above) had a coach. He couldn’t contain his surprise that this successful person had a coach. I was then peppered with questions – what could I as a Business Coach teach a multi-millionaire? What could an Executive Coach teach the successful person that he didn’t already know? What aspects of Life Coaching are even relevant to a successful businessman?

The ICF Study shows that awareness of Business and Life Coaching increases as age decreases – 25% of 25-34 year olds are very aware of coaching versus only 11% of people 55+ years being very aware. This insurance man I encountered was obviously towards the older end (trust me, I’m not saying 55 is old!)

I was curious the reasons why it’s a surprise a successful person has a coach. Many reasons spilled out: the coach wasn’t as old as the client, the coach didn’t run a similar business, the coach probably wasn’t as rich or successful, the coach didn’t have the same experience. There was a golfing story on the screen in the pub (don’t all good business interactions happen in a pub?) and I asked whether Tiger Woods had a coach. “Well, yeah, of course”.  Does Usain Bolt? Does Andy Murray? Are their coaches better athletes and winners of their sport than the athlete? Is Bill Clinton’s coach an ex-president? (fyi, the answer is no).

The penny dropped, he realized what sports coaches do for athletes and that was similar to what Business or Executive Coaches could do for leaders. They help define and create a plan for success, they foster accountability, they act as cheerleaders, they point out what the client might not see, they give feedback and make observations, they maintain focus, they give tips and ideas, they help illuminate other perspectives and they help the individual develop themselves in pursuit of their goals.

What could a Life Coach or Executive Coach help you realize?                                  

Another instance of creating awareness for coaching to contribute to next year’s ICF awareness study!