Amateur coaches and professional development

May 27, 2020 |Posted by Jared Simmons | Coaching

What if you had to be nominated for an Academy Award before you could get a professional acting coach? Or if you had to sell a million records before you could have a professional voice coach? Can you imagine having to qualify for the Masters before you could have a professional swing coach?

How backwards is it that only seasoned corporate executives and “promising candidates” get personalized executive coaching and professional development training? Only in the corporate world do they demand decades of results before investing in personalized coaching to help you harness your best performance.

Managing versus coaching

At work, we are given professional managers who are amateur coaches. When I was a manager, I thought I was a great coach. But there was a level of professionalism that I could not bring to the coaching relationship while fulfilling my duties as a professional manager. It takes time, focused attention, and the consistent honing of a unique set of skills to be a professional coach.

Over time I grew into a great amateur coach. But I had to quit my job as a professional manager to become a professional coach. And we have all seen the difference between a great amateur and even an average professional.

Let’s change how we value our employees

Imagine a world where every corporate employee is issued a laptop, a badge, and a professional coach on day one. What would happen to the quality of their work? What kind of managers and executives would they grow up to be?

With personality assessments and other tools, professional development support can be customized to each employee. Technology makes it feasible to provide individual coaching to virtually anyone, anywhere. All that’s required is a different viewpoint on what it means to invest in people. Instead of replacing that annual 3-day offsite with a virtual conference, why not offer a few executive coaching sessions to anyone who wants them?

Who’s helping your employees learn how to use their unique talents at work? As a former amateur coach, I can assure you that it’s a job best left to the professionals.

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Jared Simmons

Jared is the founder of Outlast Consulting LLC, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations with strategy, process improvement, and professional development. He is an engineer by training with experience in market research, product development, innovation, management consulting, and strategic planning at P&G, McKinsey, and Coca-Cola.


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