Jan 122016

Why Being a Coach is Like Being a Sculptor

I am entering my tenth year of coaching this month. Many times I have been asked, “What do you do?” When I answered, “I’m a coach,” people would respond, “Oh, what sport?” I would tell them that I wasn’t a sports coach, but that I coached executives, teams, and aspiring leaders. The typical response would then be, “Oh, you’re like a consultant.”

I explain to them that there is a difference between how a consultant helps clients and how a coach helps clients. The difference is like that between a painter and a sculptor.  Let me explain.

When a painter paints, he or she creates beauty. When a sculptor sculpts, he or she creates beauty, but in a different way. Yet they both add value.

A painter starts with a blank canvas and adds different colors and shapes, using his or her own style and strokes to create a final product. It is their creation of beauty.

A sculptor starts with a product and develops its potential and strengths. Ironwood Eagle TransparentA sculptor doesn’t add anything; he/she brings out the natural beauty that lies within. It’s like a piece of wood.  It could just be laying in the desert until a sculptor sees its potential, working with it and developing its natural beauty from within. Like this ironwood carving of an eagle, it was once just a piece of wood.

That’s what I do as a coach; I help people develop their leadership and team skills by helping them develop the strengths and potential that’s within them. Consultants paint, coaches sculpt. I’m a sculptor.

You hire valued employees because you realize their potential. Are you getting that full potential from them? If you’re not, what can you do to bring out their best?

Give them the gift of coaching, because it will help them create change that leads to desired results. Coaching opens windows of opportunities to help individuals realize their full potential.

A coach starts with a client’s natural strengths as a foundation and shapes, molds and fashions them with artistry and precision—transforming their management and leadership skills into the best they can be. A coach’s tools are powerful questions, assessments and listening skills.

Coaching is not an answer to discipline: it’s an avenue for growth and development for employees who need a little help in overcoming obstacles and achieving their potential.

If you lead or are a member of a team in your organization, the coaching process is also about adding value. Do you have a team, or a simply a group of people? A group is people working in isolation. There is no input from other members; each does their own thing; there is little collaboration; and there is no opportunity to learn from each other.

A team is a group of people with a common goal that works together to fulfill their mission. If people are working in a healthy environment, it is truly a team. There is trust, creativity, common understandings and common goals. They are bonded to a common vision.

Team coaching is a way to get your team to work at its optimum, to function smoothly and effectively. Instead of individual coaching, the team is coached in a team environment. Team coaching helps the team set its own goals so they become more productive and get along better as a team. It’s a team process.

Think of what would be possible if your team was functioning at an optimal level, “firing on all cylinders,” all the parts performing efficiently and effectively.

I work with organizations that value their employees by providing resources and tools to make them more productive. I do this by coaching individuals to discover their strengths, and coaching teams to be more productive and positive.

Individual coaching and team coaching are investments that benefit your employees and your organization, because coaching helps improve performance and adds to the bottom line.

I welcome the opportunity to help your valued employees and/or your teams reach their optimal level of performance. How soon can we start?

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