Ep 53 // #AskAkua - Listen to This if You are Thinking About Investing in a Professional Coach

Ep 53

Leaders, CEOs, and founders who have benefited from great coaching know how powerful it can be in setting and achieving goals, so it's natural to want to recreate the experience for your team. But is hiring an external, professional coach a good investment for all employees? 

On today's #AskAkua episode of the Open Door Conversations Podcast, certified executive and leadership coach Akua will answer this common question in depth so you can make the best decision when it comes to supporting your team. This is part 1 in a 3 part series that dives into Akua's perspective on coaching and what you can expect (and not expect) from working with a coach.

Akua believes everyone deserves a great coach and that anyone can benefit from coaching tools and techniques (almost immediately), but that does not mean everyone will necessarily benefit from a coach. In this episode, you'll learn why and how to pinpoint your employees' needs and support them best. 

Finally, you'll get a list of helpful questions to help identify if a coach is the right fit for your employees or yourself!

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What's Covered in this Episode About Professional Coaching

  • There are many types and definitions of coaching; Akua defines hers based on the International Coaching Federation. She also explains what coaching is NOT.
  • In order to benefit from coaching, you must be able to reflect and take action. 
  • Learn how Akua leverages coaching around helping you set and plan goals. 
  • Coachability is the ability to accept feedback and try to improve.
  • Akua talks about how to recognize which employees are and are not coachable.
  • Identify the best way to support your team members and why investing in outside coaching probably isn't the best choice. 
  • Coaching is based on relationships, so a coach that works for you may not be right for someone else.
  • Why imposing coaching on someone is not productive.
  • Learn what to ask when looking for the right coach for you or your team.

If you are interested in working with a certified executive and leadership coach, Akua would love to hear from you. She works with overwhelmed, entrepreneurial-minded leaders to help them increase productivity, improve performance and profitability, and, most importantly, build better relationships with their people. 

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Everyone deserves coaching, but not everyone will benefit from it." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Coaching is a thought provoking and creative process that inspires you to maximise your personal and professional potential." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Coaching is action oriented. So it's not just a conversation, it's not just about reflection, it's really about taking action." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 53 about #AskAkua Episode Listen to This if You are Thinking About Investing in a Professional Coach

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast. This week is a hashtag ask Akua episode week and I'm really excited to be answering a question that I get from a lot of founders, CEOs and heads of HR. The question I'll be answering today is is it worth investing in an external professional coach for all employees? Please keep in mind as you listen to this episode that it is a repurposed live stream. It is also part one of a three part series that I will be sharing over the next few months about investing in external service providers that can support you and your team. Please let me know what you think of this podcast episode. And keep in mind, I'll be taking a podcast break in August. Let's get into this week's episode. Hello, hello. Hello, Aiko. heraus respond to Aqua and Akua. I'm a certified executive coach recognised facilitator and speaker. And I'm doing my weekly live this week. And I'm really, really excited about today's topic. I'm talking about coaching and investing in coaching. So the title I think I have on one of the live streams I forget which because I changed them depending on which platform but it's about like, are you thinking about investing in a professional coach for yourself or for your team. And if so, you need to listen to this live stream. This is actually part of a three part series that I'm going to be doing really around my perspective on coaching, really around my perspective on teaching adults, you know, teaching within the professional space and what that can look like and the different ways in which you can do that. So today I'm really diving into one on one coaching and my thoughts on that. And my little caption, I talk a little bit about how I believe that everyone deserves coaching. But not everyone will benefit from it. Those who are listening to this that maybe have actually had the opportunity to experience coaching, you know how powerful it is, you know how powerful it can be. And you probably want a lot of other people to be able to experience it as well. One of the first things I hear from people that have the opportunity to experience coaching and really good and impactful coaching is that they want right everybody on their team to get access to it, all the leaders to get access to it. But is that really the best way to support them and the best type of support that they can get. So that's what we're really going to be diving in today. If you have any questions, you are welcome to leave them in the chat. If you are joining me, after that this actually goes live you're also welcome to leave a comment and also, you know, get in touch in the DMS. I'd love to hear your perspective. This is mine. Alright, so let's jump into today's topic. Right. So as I mentioned before, I truly believe that everyone deserves a coach or everyone deserves coaching, but not everyone would necessarily benefit from it. And I get this question from a lot of leaders, a lot of CEOs, a lot of founders who themselves have maybe benefited from coaching, and they want other people to be able to experience it. And so is it worth investing in an external professional coach for all employees? And honestly, my answer is all ways. No, why? That's really what I'm gonna talk a little bit more about today. And as I mentioned before, I'd love to hear your perspective. If you're joining me live you're welcome to leave a comment or leave something in the chat. Where once again, if you're listening to this replay, you are welcome to share your thoughts in the DMS or leave a comment as well. I think the first thing that we need to do is actually define what coaching is, and the truth is that everyone defines coaching a little bit differently. My definition of coaching is very much influenced by the International Coach Federation definition of coach Coaching, it is not the only definition out there. But it's really the way in which I like to align my coaching approach. So what is coaching? Coaching is a thought provoking and creative process that inspires you to maximise your personal and professional potential. All right. And I think that this second part is really key. It is designed to facilitate the creation of development of goals and to develop and carry out a strategy and plan for achieving those goals, right. So it's super key to really highlight that it's meant to be actionable, right. So it's not just a conversation, it's not just about reflection, it's really about taking action. And so a key part about being able to benefit from coaching and why I don't think that everyone has the ability all the time to benefit from coaching is that you need to have the capacity not only to reflect, but also the capacity to implement and also take action. A key part of this is also recognising that coaching, right is a specific once a week, once again, a specific way of supporting someone. And there are many different definitions. So within my definition in the way that I leverage coaching, you know, it's really around helping you sets and plan your goals. It's around creating awareness around potential blockers, limiting beliefs, do you railers, right. And also creating awareness around opportunities as well, right. So that openness, right, even being able to second guess yourself being able to really reflect on some things that maybe you previously thought were the truth, and being open to really tapping into that and seeing if that's something that still aligns with you moving forward. It's also about defining actions, as I mentioned before, right coaching is action oriented. So defining actions and steps to help you move forward and finally managing the process and defining what accountability means to you. Right? So I've defined this, right, I've designed coaching in different ways now. And my hope is that you have at least a better idea of sort of how I define coaching, right? How I use it with my clients. And so what is coaching? Not right, and then I'm going to get into a little bit of what it means to actually be coachable. Right, what it means to have coach ability, I'm not sure if that's a word, but I'm gonna say that I think I read it somewhere. So I think that this is a really a key thing to keep in mind. So coaching is not therapy, all right, it's not about your past, it's not about fixing anything, coaches, for the most part, if they're ICF aligned coaches of some sort, they don't think you're broken, right? Coaching is about taking you from good, really to Excellent. Alright, another thing to keep in mind about coaching, right? If you're thinking about investing in yourself or for your employees, it's not about mentoring, right. So the key thing here is that coaches can wear different hats. And even within a conversation, I might put on a bit of a mentoring hat. But at its core, it's not about my experiences, it's not meant to be about the experiences of the coach, it's meant to be about you. And for a lot of leaders and a lot of members of their team that might be very uncomfortable, especially, that's not something they have experience with. And so it's so important if you are going to work with a coach, that that's something that's explained. And they give you the opportunity to think about how you want to ask questions, and how you want to make the most of any sort of situation. Alright, and just another thing to keep in mind coaching is not consulting, right. So it's about your solutions, not the coach's thoughts or solutions. Sometimes a coach might give you worksheets, or frameworks or formulas that you can use, or even strategies that you can use. But once again, it's really meant to come from you initially. And as I say this, and anyone who's actually worked with me, you know, I use a combination of these different ways of supporting, I don't do therapy, but I do use the other. So I do use mentoring, I use consulting. And then I also use some training and training is more direct teaching to support my clients, especially in the beginning of our first in an engagement. And I'm actually going to get to a point in this conversation where I'll share some other ways in which you could potentially support your employees and your leaders that would have a greater impact and actually be a lot more effective for them where they are depending once again on their capabilities, and also their capacity. All right. So I've talked a little bit about my definition of coaching. I've talked a bit about what coaching is not right, just as a quick reminder, so we're all on the same page, we all have that same foundation. Let's talk a little bit about what it means to be coachable. And this is the key piece for me when I am talking to people and sharing with them that coaching may not be the right solution for everybody because everyone is not always going to be open to be questions. Everyone's not going to be willing to create the time and energy to reflect and then finally implement and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. Right. Another key thing to keep in mind about being coachable and coachability is that coaching is very relationship based, right? I might get along with a potential client I might not get along with another so really just recognising that whether or not someone actually finds coaching to be helpful and useful will also come from whether or not that's a relationship that they're willing and open to invest in. And that's a really big part of this, because I've seen some instances, and I've also worked with some clients where it feels like to them that coaching was imposed on them. And if you feel like it's something that's imposed on you, and you're not really buying into the process, buying into, you know, having a growth mindset and being open to working with someone in this manner, right, and it's quite an intimate way to support someone, it's going to be really hard for you to make the most of those conversations, and the most of those engagements. Okay, so coachability refers to the willingness to accept feedback and the ability to improve, right, and so that's a huge part. For some people, fortunately, or unfortunately, they have to hit a wall before they're willing to change or try something different or new. For others, they may be a little bit more open to it. But it's really about recognising that you have to be open to hearing different perspectives to maybe having your perspective questions. One of my favourite things to do is actually play devil's advocate, right, or bring up something that was shared in a previous conversation that we had, especially as it relates to the vision or goals of my client to help remind them right and help them see where they might be out of alignment based on the things that they've shared. So another big part, and I mentioned this a little bit earlier, is being able to create that space to implement the learnings and reflect in between sessions, right. So clients that I've worked with that are, you know, really able to make the most of our time together and feel like coaching has had a large impact on them. They're the ones doing the work, right. They're the ones in between sessions that are challenging themselves, to try on new behaviours, try on new habits, right? Try new routines, right, do things differently, and really think about how they want to show up, and how they want to impact others moving forward. So what is not being coachable. Just to make it a little bit more tangible to those of you listening to this, especially if you are reflecting on investing in a coach for yourself or a member of your team, right. So not coachable would mean that they don't ask for feedback from others. They feel like they know it, all right, and they never ask for help. They seek proof or they want sort of people on their side, in relation to any type of feedback they've received, they find it really hard to accept criticism, they don't really have that growth mindset piece. So they're not open to change, they might be incredibly negative. And that's something that you've seen over a long period of time, they might see themselves really as the victim in any situations. And at the end of the day, they might also be avoiding challenges and won't recognise other people. So these are all signs from my perspective of not being coachable. And if this is something that you see and a member of your team, and this is a person, you potentially want to have some coaching, I really would recommend that you reflect a little bit more on that and really ask yourself and maybe even potentially ask them what they feel they need in order to feel engaged, because there might be some other things happening or other things that can be shifted, in order for them to show up right and be able to contribute to the bottom line coaching may not be the answer. All right. So before I talk a little bit about how you can make the most of looking for a coach for a member of your team or even yourself, I did want to say one thing in relation to talking about you know, investing in a professional external coach, if you once again took a look at the caption, you know, that I included that everyone can benefit, you know, everyone right can you know deserves a coach, but everyone might not benefit from it. I do think that everyone can benefit from coaching tools and techniques, right? So that's very different from having an external coach potentially work with you. I think that the coaching tools and techniques is definitely something that everyone can benefit from. And I think almost immediately, and that can actually be used and utilised in many different ways. It doesn't have to come from a one on one engagement, okay, so that can come from, you know, a facilitated conversation that can come from a group coaching, you know, coaching conversation that can come from, you know, you bringing in people to teach your managers and your leaders bite sides tools and techniques, right, that are aligned with coaching, but they themselves are not coaches necessarily, but they are leveraging coaching tools to support themselves and also support others. And then another way that you can start to create this coaching culture or this culture of people really thinking about how to cultivate their self awareness how to engage better and then ultimately how to set better expectations. Accountability is to start with peer coaching, right? Where once again, you're creating an environment where people are giving feedback to each other that's a lot more sustainable and probably a lot more effective than trying to bring in someone external, right because once the external person is removed, if that individual who was in that coaching will wasn't really making the most of those sessions didn't really embody some of those shifts that they were trying to make, right, they're gonna revert. And that's not a long term solution. So those are some things that you can keep in mind, if you are interested in trying to start to implement some coaching tools and techniques into your team and into the culture that you're trying to build. So, as I mentioned before, I want to make this super, super actionable. So if you are looking for a coach, for a member of your team, or for even yourself, I have some questions and some thoughts, I really would recommend that you keep in mind. All right. So the first thing is really just asking yourself or thinking about that leader that you want to have, get some coaching support, and asking yourself, Is this as a capacity or capabilities issue? Right, what is really the type of support that this individual needs or that I need? Because there might be some instances where direct training is necessary, right? So direct training might be better suited for them. And this is typically what I recommend, if someone approaches me to work with a member of their team, they feel like is not performing and they potentially wanting a performance plan, right. So once again, coaching isn't about fixing anything. Coaching also is not about teaching, I definitely think that there are specific skills that can be honed through coaching. But if it's something that's an incredibly hard skill, if it's something that might be better suited with some more structured training, that might be something that you want to invest in and think a little bit more about, then getting an external coach. So that's really the first thing. Another thing to keep in mind about this. And once again, this is gonna depend on different coaches. But personally, I don't work with employees, as I mentioned before, that are on an employee improvement plans, because I feel like there's a different level of support that they need. And engaging the services of a one on one coach may not make the type of difference that you want, especially if it's something that's imposed on them. All right. The second one I have here is just continuing with this question of what type of support does that individual really need is asking them what they think they need, right? So going to the source and sort of asking them and trying to get a better understanding of the situation that they're in and really trying to see whether or not investing in a coach makes the most sense. Do they need the support of a therapist? Are there other ways that they could potentially get to a point where they are performing or they are really being able to show up and support you in your bottom line? Another question, as I mentioned before, is really around, you know, where you see them in the future. And so is this leader a high achiever? Are they a high potential, right? Is that something that you see for them, then potentially investing in a coach makes a lot of sense. On the flip side, if this is a leader that you feel like you might need to fire let go of in the future, I don't think investing in a one on one coach necessarily makes the most business sense and probably would signal right or give the wrong signal to that member of a team because typically, coaching is used to support those going from good to excellent, not bad, too. Okay. All right. Another thing you can always ask yourself is how would this leader act if I shared coaching as a potential option to support them? Because as I mentioned before, not everyone is always open to receiving this type of support? So just trying to get curious and think a little bit about how they might show up? How they might respond to this? Are they open to getting additional training or support? Is this something that they even want? Or will they see it as a punishment, and as I say that you might laugh, or you might smirk, but some people do see having conversations with a coach or an external coach as punishment, or that they're not doing well or something's going wrong, especially if their supervisor whoever is investing in coaching on their behalf hasn't explained to them really the type of support that they can get from a coach. All right. Another thing here that you can ask yourself, if you are interested in investing in a professional external coach for a member of your team is as their direct manager or supervisor, can you provide them the support that they would need if they invest in coaching, because a huge part of being able to make sure that coaching really has its impact is making sure that you as a supervisor, getting it for a member of your team can also be there to support them as well. Another thing to keep in mind about coaching that I have on the list is do I want to have access to what they are discussing during coaching. And this is a key question to ask somebody who potentially could support your team with coaching. I personally do not provide that information to my company sponsors. Because I think it's really important to have confidential conversations, but that's definitely a question that you might want to ask somebody who's potentially interested or potentially would support members of your team. Another question on here is I think a very key question is around the budget. What is my budget for this right what is this look like? And when we talk about budget There's so many different elements actually, that can come up, right. And a part of this conversation actually was inspired by a friend of mine who had a conversation with me on Saturday, because lots of different coaches were coming up to him on LinkedIn, or DMing him on LinkedIn. And he was just asking for my perspective on how to select a coach, where to look for a good coach. And my hope is that some of these questions help you with that decision and help you think about whether or not even hire a coach makes sense. But in terms of your budget, and asking yourself, what type of coach do I want to have work with a member of my team or work with me? You have to ask yourself, I think, a series of questions and thoughts because there are so many different types of coaches. So the first I think a key question you want to ask yourself is, do I want to have a coach for a member of my team or myself that has similar experience or the same experience that I have, or has a similar trajectory to what I have or what I want. So that's one way that you could potentially find someone that can support you, once again, with the type of coaching that I do, I don't believe I need to be the expert. My job is really to provide the frameworks and structure to help enable somebody else's thought process. So I personally don't believe I need to be an expert in that sector or that industry in order to support someone. But there are once again, different types of coaches. Another thing is sort of asking if it is related to experience does it need to focus on that same element. So if there's a specific area that you want a member of your team to be coached on? Do you want that individual once again, to be an expert on that specific skill, another thing I put on here is identity focused coaching or focus coach, I see more and more of these types of coaches identity focus coach would be coaches, who are typically leveraging their own backgrounds, their own culture, you know, their own maybe specific interests, you know, I think it can be defined in so many ways to really market their services. And so people are attracted to work with them, because they see themselves in them, if anything, all coaches because it is relationship based, a part of it is, of course, sharing your identity, your values and what you believe in, but sometimes I would, I would probably argue that an identity focus coach might actually only work with certain cultures, or certain types of people are more likely to attract certain types of people. So that could be something that you're looking at, right. So if you want someone potentially who has focused on supporting minorities are focused on supporting people within a cross cultural context, that's something that you can also look out for. And keep in mind as you're looking at potential coaches to support you or members of your team. And the last thing that you might want to keep in mind. And I just want to also, I guess, really focus on this for a little bit, because I think that for some people, they believe that when you're thinking about budget, that's going to potentially be determined by whether or not someone's credentialed or certified. And that's not necessarily the case, the price of coaching really can vary across the board. I personally have not seen much of a correlation between how credentialed somebody is and how much they ask in return for the work that they do. But that might be something of interest to you, or something that you want to have a better understanding of. And you can actually go beyond asking whether they're conventional or certified, but maybe also asked, do they have a structure that they work within a framework that they use to support others, a structure that they use. So those are all things that you can keep in mind, if you are looking for a coach for a leader of your team, or you're looking for a coach for yourself? Alright, so if you are thinking about investing in a professional coach, these are some of the things I really would recommend that you keep in mind. So I would love to know, what are your thoughts based on what I've shared? So far? You know, did these things make sense to you? Or are these things that you've asked yourself or that you've thought of, and I also just wanted to do a quick sort of pitch for the work that I also do, right. So if you are interested in working with a certified executive and leadership coach, I'd love to share a little bit more about what I do, you can feel free to reach out in the DMS if you are interested in a little bit more, but I work with entrepreneurial minded leaders who have a million balls up in the air, right and are utterly overwhelmed by a thought of any or all of these balls dropping. And my job really is to support them so they can clarify where they're focusing their time and energy each day. So they really go for being proactive, sorry, they go from being reactive to proactive, right. And I do that using a three step process that I call the see better method, right. So as I talked about some of these questions here, you'll see that I'm hitting some of these elements, because I do think that they are important to keep in mind when I'm looking for coaches for myself, right. So as a coach, I also have coaches, these are the types of things that I really want to keep in mind. Right. So if you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out. I work with about five leaders one on one every single month, and I do have a few slots left for an August start. All right. So that's I think all I wanted to share in this week's live just a bit more about my perspective on thinking about coaching and how it relates to supporting members of your team or how it could relate to supporting you. Alright, so thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. I hope that you found what I shared today somewhat helpful. You know, as always, let me know in the DMS you're also welcome to leave a comment Down below, you know I'm available if you have any questions and yeah, enjoy the rest of your Monday stay safe and stay sane. Bye. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials. So that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.


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