When we were younger, we would spend countless hours studying and admiring our heroes – you know, people with a considerable and unmatched level of experience in our area of interest.
Maybe your hero was a football player, or a celebrated musician, or a prominent writer; regardless of the area of expertise, you knew you could learn a lot from someone who has made it and, if you did everything they did, you could succeed as well.
But is it true that anyone who’s been successful in their chosen career or business can teach you how to reach your career or business goals? And what if they came from a different background – like a shoe salesman coaching a soccer team – would you trust them? It might sound a little odd, but it’s not as wild as it seems.
When it comes to executive coaching, and depending on your goals, following the same steps as others before us won’t guarantee success. This is why learning the difference between hiring a coach and hiring a mentor becomes so relevant.
What Coaching Means
The idea of “coaching” comes from a time when people used horse-drawn carriages to reach their destinations. The word “coach” can be traced back to the 1550s and literally translates “carriage of Kocs”, from the name of the village where the best carriages were made. Soon all carriages were called “coaches” and when tutors taught the rich sons & daughters of noblemen during long overland trips, it was called coaching.
Nowadays it isn’t much different; a coach is someone who knows exactly what to do to help you reach your goals and help you get where you want to be.
Mentoring: Following the Path of a Champion
If you know a thing or two about soccer you probably know about Zinedine Zidane, one of the most prominent soccer players in France. Zidane was the Winning Goal Scorer during France 1998 World Championship, and that gave France its first Soccer World Cup in history. Besides, Zinedine Zidane has earned multiple recognitions and won a couple of Champion Leagues with the Real Madrid FC.
Now Zinedine Zidane is the manager of Real Madrid FC, and he uses all of his experience in order to help the team reach its goals.
In this case, Zidane is more of a mentor than a coach. He uses his personal experience to help others achieve what he has previously achieved. His authority comes from his experience and he uses his own personal formula to obtain the same results.
Coaching: A Shoe Salesman Becomes a Star
For some people, it’s difficult to grasp how someone from a different background can benefit an organization or project. “How can you teach me about financial investment if you are not rich?” or “How can they tell me about love if they’re not in love?”
Arrigo Sacchi, a shoe salesman who revolutionized the history of football tactics for Italian soccer, has something to say:
“I never realized that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first.”
Arrigo’s words can help illustrate how the coaching-coachee relationship works. A jockey knows his numbers; he has studied the competition, the weight, track record, and time of previous races. He’s an expert and knows, as any good coach, which steps to take to win the race, but that doesn’t mean he can get off the horse and run on his own.
Coaching is different from mentoring because it focuses on tasks that drive tangible and measurable behaviors. It’s also more objective than mentoring since the person doing the mentoring could be easily biased by the circumstances of his own success. Finally, a coach is always reinventing herself and learning from multiple scenarios, and that gives her work a freshness that’s unparalleled when it comes to finding new and creative approaches
Also, coaching is always goal oriented and it works marvels for developing specific competencies. A good executive coach can turn a talented coachee into an expert by helping him acquire new skills and strategies for tackling new business challenges.
Ultimately, a coach’s job is to improve on what is good and turn weaknesses into opportunities for growth.
How Coaching Makes a Difference
We know what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the experience and solid background from a successful mentor with the tools of a seasoned coach? Luckily, Chris Gossard can offer you the best of both worlds.
Over the course of his career, Chris has led teams large and small and has mentored managers, as well as customers as trusted counsel. He’s also a trained International Coach Federation coach who helps leaders step into being the heroes they’ve always admired. If you want someone with a great deal of experience, and the specific knowledge to redirect your potentialities into a path of success, Chris Gossard can make it work for you.
Find out more by contacting Chris today, and take the next step towards leadership.