By Marie Moran
Your team leader has just called with some late breaking company news, and it’s not all good. In fact, you’re feeling distressed, but you don’t really have anyone to talk to about the situation.
Your wife’s boss has asked her to relocate for a promotion, and both of you are totally conflicted.
You’re being asked to take on more responsibility but without more resources. Now, you’re trying to figure out just what to say or how to make it work.
You’re being asked to work from home for quite a bit longer, and you’re pulling your hair out trying to adjust, what with your family at home, too. It’s affecting your motivation as well as real time productivity.
If any of these situations sound familiar, you’ll understand the importance of Just in Time Coaching! When the pressure is up and changes are here, most everyone is going to feel the stress, and few have a trained or objective colleague with whom to talk it all through. In life, we often find solutions when the right person asks us the right questions to assist us through our discovery process. Having the right individual to use as a sounding board can make all the difference between working through the difficulties and confusion, or just staying stuck. Sometimes, too, unless we have someone there to assist us to breathe and temper our emotions, when we are really whacked out, we can get overly reactive and make the oh so wrong choice.
While many people turn to meditation or physical exercise at times like this, others seek out a mentor or coach that can assist them. A trained coach will listen and then respond, ask more questions, give advice as appropriate, and hang in there with their client throughout the turbulent time. It’s like having a physical therapist available when healing a strained muscle. By having someone with a trained eye to observe and coach through the recovery, the individual makes better choices, avoids exacerbating the injury, and thus heals faster. They’re back on their feet and feeling solid after just a few weeks. Left to their own devices, one wrong move causes the injury to get worse and last a whole lot longer.
While some coaching assignments that are geared towards changing a person’s behavior may extend over a few months, Just in Time Coaching is situational — the coach is there like the Physical Therapy professional for just a few weeks, in response to a particular situation that comes up. In some cases, if a situation has gotten explosive or otherwise out of hand, we refer to that type of Just in Time Coaching as triage!
At times like this, it’s good to ask yourself “Who am I listening to?” Or “Who do I have to talk to besides my spouse, boss, sister or BFF?” While all those parties can be of assistance at times when they lend a sympathetic ear, often they are invested in the decisions you make and so are simply not neutral or objective! Big problem! They may have a strong opinion and lack all the facts. Or in a conflict, they’ll tend to side with you out of loyalty. Thus, you remain polarized instead of seeing all sides. In contrast, a professional coach will start with the facts, then look at the emotions in the equation, and guide you to make the most appropriate decision given everything involved.
Individuals who have used coaches understand that becoming an exemplary leader is like becoming an athlete – most do better with the right coach. Having a coach is not a sign of weakness! Rather, great leaders enjoy learning from someone who knows more than they do in some areas. In life, we simply do not grow or improve that much when we are surrounded by people with less ability. They won’t push us to learn and stretch, or we spend a lot of time picking up the slack when they can’t perform at the same level. I heard some great advice years ago: surround yourself with people that are smarter or better than you at something!
If you find yourself struggling a bit, as many folks are during these turbulent times, don’t hesitate to consider reaching out for some coaching. We at MMCo have tenured and seasoned professionals available to assist, or if appropriate, we can refer you to someone that best suits your current situation. This is a time to be bold, so speak up and ask! Take the steps to give yourself that extra boost you may require right now. Or consider suggesting our Just in Time Coaching solution to a friend or colleague who could use a lift. I bet you’ll be glad you did!