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Coaching is Not a Punishment

The Coaching Lens

Years ago, I was promised a promotion that never came to fruition. I was angry and hurt that this company that I had dedicated so much time and energy to would not follow-through with their promises to me. It rocked my value of “what you say is what you do” and it bruised my ego significantly. At that same time, although presented as an entirely separate discussion, the organization offered Executive Coaching to me as a way to support my continued leadership development and career advancement.

As you would imagine, my first reaction was to feel like I was being punished for poor behavior (which was not the reason I was told I was not getting the promotion) – or that this was a token gift to keep me motivated after receiving such unsettling news. Either way, I wasn’t very excited about getting a coach and was even embarrassed to tell my peers about this “gift” from the powers that be.

I looked at coaching as a punishment. Flat out, it felt like something I had to check the box on and I wasn’t excited or looking forward to it in any way.

Fast-forward and that Executive Coach helped me to reframe my perspective, shift my energy away from negativity and supported me in making significant changes in my life (i.e. she changed my life).

I wasn’t aware of the lens that I was viewing coaching through and the idea that it was a punishment to me was a false belief. Often, we are not aware of the lens that we are looking at the world through and that lens will shadow or color our outlook on any given situation.

So what is coaching?

Many people feel that coaching is a way to fix something that is wrong. That it’s a way for someone to listen to you, tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it. Some organizations do use coaching to help support growth and development of people in need, but the intention behind coaching is to help to raise awareness of how you’re showing up so that you can make decisions about what you want to do with that information. Coaching is about finding the answers and truths that you have within and removing obstacles that may prevent individuals from being as successful or amazing as they can be.

Coaching provides significant benefits – regardless of whether you work with a leadership coach like me, or a relationship coach or a life coach or a health/wellness coach, etc. – there is power in being listened to, taking time to reflect and consider alternative options, and in receiving accountability to support your progress. Statistics show that individuals who receive coaching are more likely to:

  • Establish and take action towards achieving goals

  • Become more self-reliant and confident

  • Gain more job and life satisfaction

  • Contribute more effectively to teams and companies

  • Take greater responsibility and accountability

  • Work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers)

  • Communicate more effectively

Coaching in organizational and leadership settings is an invaluable tool for developing people across a wide range of needs. Over 80% of individuals who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills and 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment on coaching.

And the list goes on and on.

Coaching is a gift. Not a punishment. Coaching is powerful. Not punitive. Coaching is empowering. Not limiting.

If you have any areas in your personal or professional life where you are feeling stuck, or know you could be doing more, or are having difficulty gaining clarity, then coaching is a great option for you. And if you get the honor of being given coaching from your employer, consider it as a gift to enhance your future. I know it changed my life and there are countless others who would say the same too. So go get that gift today!

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