I was recently on a 10 day bike trip in New Zealand with 19 other more experienced cyclists. I was not an experienced biker going in but after 10 days of support, leadership and coaching, I became a more enthusiastic biker as well as a better version of myself. This got me thinking, coaching is not only impactful but an essential catalyst for boosting performance and taking others to the next level.
Leadership Context – Leaders build more effective teams when they coach vs. delegate. Building a coaching skillset takes conscious focus, practice and input from our stakeholders so we know how we are doing.
Coaching Goal – I had a goal - bike over 300 miles during the trip with three 100km days (around 70 miles). I did not know how I was going to achieve those goals but I was determined!
Coaching Moment – Day 3 was the first 100km day featuring over 1,800 feet of vertical climbing. A panic attack nearly overwhelmed me, however, during breakfast I received some much needed coaching.
Coaching Framework – As with a well-known coaching model, GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Way), the good news was they all knew my “Goal” which is where effective coaching starts. The skills needed are include active listening and effective questioning. As the coachee, I could tell how focused they were no listening and asking the right questions to support me.
I realized that I received differing styles of coaching, all of which I needed to help me achieve my goal:
Style 1: Someone I could relate to and aspire to be. A woman named Pat, an experienced biker, offered a supportive mood and this coaching question, “What support do you need today on the ride?” And she was totally willing to offer that support.
Style 2: Someone to quiet the voices. Pat’s husband, Jon, who offered me a ‘buck up’ approach. He asked me, “What are the voices in your head telling you?” Once I vocalized them, he helped me quiet those voices of doubt. And this helped me to buck up!
Style 3: Someone to give me permission to fail. The guide, Laura, offered her approach. Her question was, “What is the worst that can happen?” This led me to realize that failure was not the end of the world. And even if I did fail, I would still learn from this experience - and that motivated me to try.
At the end of Day 3, due to this coaching, I successfully completed 100 kilometers and was one of three people who completed all the rides up to that point.
Does this inspire you to develop your coaching skills to enhance your team’s performance? What coaching style do you use to help others GROW?