Moving home after a decade overseas I was happily entering a new job and a new house with a young family. While it was all quite exciting, it was in fact, a bit of juggle and a struggle. To help with my transition, my new CEO recommended a virtual coach. I had never had an executive coach.
As a typical driver personality, taking time to pause, reflect and generate self-insights were not things I did often. Although, being quite curious and to be honest, open to the idea of having someone to talk to that was not part of my peer group, I agreed.
A relationship with a coach is a very personal choice, I met my coach face to face for a “chemistry test” and immediately felt comfortable. Her experience and style was a great fit for me. Little did I know what great benefit she would be from her usual location of over 10,000km away.
While I was based in Hong Kong and then Sydney, my coach was 11,078km away in South Africa. While we did meet a handful of times, when calendars aligned, most of our coaching was done by phone or video. Each month we’d talk for about an hour and I was always amazed at how sixty minutes of guided reflection, by someone skilled in asking all the right questions and holding up a mirror, could make me feel.
Often, it left me both motivated and excited about choices and potential actions. Sometimes, it was a real challenge to accept some of the insights about myself, my behaviours and habits. Mostly, it was just a wonderful experience to be able to talk to someone who was there purely to guide and support me, with no agenda other than my own growth. I felt very privileged to have had the experience and now believe it was this support that allowed me to cope with tremendous professional and personal change.
I am passionate about coaching, so much so, I now do it as a profession. My experience of virtual coaching has allowed me to use this method successfully with others. We are lucky to live in an age where technology means I can coach people interstate and overseas as easily as if they were sitting in front of me.
As my own coach says “a good coach will help you notice your patterns of behaviours and habits, to self-correct and to develop action plans and solutions. You may even discover leadership strengths you weren’t aware existed”. It doesn’t matter where they are based. If you thinking about a coach, don’t let distance be an excuse, choose one that is experienced and the right fit. Don’t miss a chance to get to know a better you.