I was recently accepted to a Leadership Coaching program and paused to reflect on this personal achievement. It feels like the culmination of a lot of dedication and hard work. But it is also very much an outcome that is tied to the team of people who’ve supported me. Just as every professional athlete has its entourage of trainers, coaches, massage therapists and agents, I too have surrounded myself with an incredible group of individuals who have been committed to my self improvement and success.
At times, I look around me and realize that I have a life coach, a mentor, a personal trainer, a yoga guru, a group of surf instructors scattered over the globe and even a psychic! Sometimes I wonder if I’m overdoing it. Do I really need to visit a nutritionist to eat well? Or a personal trainer to help me work out more effectively? I know how to do all these things, yet I find myself asking others to weigh in and provide me additional insight or inspiration.
When is it appropriate to bring in an outside perspective or hire an expert to provide guidance?
First of all, it’s important to have an environment where it’s okay to seek help. As a young swimmer, my parents encouraged me to take weekly swim lessons and attend camps and workshops at my request. I took pride in learning from the top coaches and getting feedback on my swim technique. Secondly, I have had to understand my limitations and understand when it’s the right time to seek help. This is often challenging – acknowledging that there’s something you have to work on. And thirdly, it’s understanding the types of experts you need to bring in for the different facets of your life.
With the help of others and my insight, I am able to recognize when it is important to get professional advice and I want to share a couple of questions I ask myself before seeking “outside” help:
- Is this something you can talk or walk through with friends/family/coworkers? Do they have enough time to invest in your outcome and give you the full attention you deserve?
- Is this something you want to talk or through with friends/family/coworkers? Is unloading your issues and concerns going to negatively affect your relationship with them or have another unexpected consequence?
- Do your friends/family/coworkers have the right level of expertise to truly understand your issues (e.g. strategic promotions, work or relationship dynamics) or provide the appropriate level of guidance (e.g. personal trainers, yoga gurus)? Can they help you navigate the complex issues you’re facing or overcome any fear you have?
Over the coming months, as I continue to explore coaching as a tool to further define my life path and to help others find theirs, I want to thank my support group. No one can be successful on his/her own these days and I want to thank my wonderful network of individuals who have helped me along the way this year. I am truly grateful.
A specific shout-out goes out to Shelley Danner, who gave me the idea to thank people for editing each blog post; Luisa who sparked some inspiration in a SF coffee shop and my little bro Paul, who read this over Hawaiian breakfast.