The answer is almost certainly not what you’d expect…
The simple answer is no-one. No-one needs coaching. In fact, when people hear about what I do and tell me about a difficult colleague, tricky employee or delusional boss who “could really do with coaching”, I try and tell them gently that I am not interested in coaching that person.
Firstly, the coaching I offer is not remedial. It’s not for the person who is being managed out or can’t cope. It’s not a fix or a band-aid. It’s for people and organisations who are doing a good, even excellent, job but who are keen to move to the next level and face upcoming changes, challenges and opportunities more effectively.
Secondly, coaching is about the client – their awareness, their insights, their plans and their motivation to carry them through. If the client is not committed to their own progress, if they’re not willing to put in the work, the coaching is not going to work.
So no one needs coaching but almost everyone would benefit from some coaching. If you have a job or a business which requires you to think clearly, interact with people and deliver results, then good business coaching could help you do all of those things better. If you have any sort of professional responsibility or challenges, then good business coaching could help you meet those with your own resourcefulness and capabilities. If you’re someone who is interested in enjoying your work more and doing it better, then the right business coaching could be an excellent way to pursue that.
There are some exceptions. If you’re dealing with deep loss or recent trauma or mental illness, a coach cannot and should not replace a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. It’s completely possible, in some cases, to work with both a business coach and a counsellor or therapist as long as everyone involved is aware of the situation and working together.
Even coaches benefit from coaching. I’m currently working with an excellent coach to ensure that I am receiving the benefits I offer to my clients – an opportunity for professional clarity, challenge and accountability within a safe, non-judgmental context. Having a coach has helped me immensely in my work and I would ask any coach you might be considering whether they have received coaching themselves. It’s good for us to put our money where our mouth is and be reminded of the value of what we offer our clients.
So, no-one needs coaching. It is not a necessity like food or air. But we all (well most of us) need to work. In that context, we all benefit from the chance to develop professionally. We all need challenge, support and accountability in our work. The opportunity to develop better professional mindsets and behaviours can have wide ranging impacts for us and those around us. And, finally and most foundationally, a space in which we can be listened to carefully and curiously without judgement or interruption brings a clarity to our professional practice which clients often describe as game changing. Good coaching offers all of those things and I would argue we all need them some of the time if we are going to thrive, not just survive, in our working lives.