Your child comes home from school and shows you their report card. It reads ‘average performance overall but shows potential to do better’. Sitting back you reflect on the comment and decide there’s three options you can choose moving forward.
- Ignore the comment and continue life as usual
- Encourage your child to chat to friends, and use their friend’s guidance to increase their performance
- Seek out professional help to coach your child
What would you choose? Most people in this situation choose C. They recognise an opportunity and choose a course of action that’s going to give them the greatest return. After all, who wouldn’t want to increase their child’s performance if they had the chance? For many, this is an easy decision. Ignoring the problem is out of the question and seeking informal help may provide a short-term social buzz but do nothing for long-term performance.
When it comes to making the best decision for our children, we see a situation, think rationally and apply the best solution. But why is it so hard for us as adults, to apply the same principles to similar situations that involve us? That is, when we’re doing ok personally or professionally, but know we could be better, what stops us from seeking the services of a professional coach to improve our performance?
According to research by Spence & Grant (2007) from Sydney University, when individuals seek the services of professional coaches, rather than consulting peers, they are more committed to reaching their goals; progress more quickly towards these goals and experience greater well-being.
For many readers, this is probably no surprise. You want to improve your child’s education so you get a tutor. You want to develop your son’s tennis skills so you send him to tennis lessons. You want improve your daughter’s singing, so you send her to singing lessons. You know that when you want to improve something, you seek expert advice and this results in accelerated performance and your child is happier as a result. Why then, is it so hard for us, as adults to acknowledge that we too need to increase our performance and the only way to do it, is by seeking support from experts?
Maybe it’s the old case of ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I don’t know where to go’ perhaps its even a result of the he-man complex and believing you don’t need any help. But to those excuses, we provide you with this science:
In a study by Smither (2003) executives in the workplace who sort the services of a professional coach increased their workplace performance because they were better at providing feedback, they set more goals for themselves, sort out more feedback, could use the feedback more wisely and got better performance ratings.
In another study by Luthans and Peterson (2003) executives at work who sort the services of professional coaches not only increased their performance at work, but positively increased their attitude to work and relationships with others.
Finally, in another study by Grant, et al (2009) people who engaged in a structured executive coaching program, compared to those who didn’t, experienced enhanced goal attainment, increased resilience, increased workplace well-being, increased self confidence, increased ability to handle organisational change and decreased feelings of stress and depression.
Who wouldn’t want these things?
To date, there is an ever-growing body of research highlighting the benefits of seeking out the services of professional coaches to enhance our performance at work, at home and all the places in between. The question is, what’s stopping you from participating? So, over to you. If you want to experience greater well-being, improve your performance at work, improve your relationships with others and of course role model to your children the importance of working hard to reach their goals, then ask yourself; what are you doing about it?
By Danielle Buckley
Grant, A. M; Curtayne, L., & Burton, G (2009). Executive coaching enhances goal attainment, resilience and workplace well-being: A randomised controlled study. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 4(5). 396-407.
Luthans, F., & Peterson, S. (2003) 360 degree coaching with systemic coaching: Empirical analysis suggests a winning combination. Human Resource Management, 42 (3), 243 – 256.
Spence, G. B., & Grant, A. M. (2007) Professional and peer life coaching and the enhancement of goal striving and well-being: An exploratory study. Journal of Positive Psychology, 2, 185 – 194.
Smither, J. W., London, M., Flautt, R., Vargas, Y., & Kucine, I. (2003) Can working with an executive coaching improve mutlisource feedback ratings over time? A quasi experimental field study. Personnel Psychology, 56 (1), 23 – 44.