25 Nov BY Andrew George Was engaging a coach a sign of weakness?
Andrew George moved out of a Leadership role in a large financial planning business in 2019 to join the Elixir team as a Consultant in Melbourne. In this article, Andrew shares his personal experience with receiving coaching support that ultimately led him to pursue his passion for business coaching.
It was 12 months into a Head of Advice role, working for a great company, with great people, being challenged and being remunerated fairly. My family was happy and healthy and we were enjoying a comfortable life. However life wasn’t perfect.
Over a glass of wine with a friend we discussed business and careers and the question came, “where is your career heading?” “No idea”, was the answer. Coincidentally I’d mentioned to my manager recently that I didn’t want his role. My friend recommended that I meet with an Executive coach to enable me find some clarity. If I agreed, was it a sign of weakness? Thankfully I realised very quickly that was my pride talking. That seeking professional help was in fact a sign of leadership and a willingness to grow, rather than an admission of weakness or lack of expertise.
Several years ago I worked with a coach on a leadership course. Not knowing what to expect, I found myself letting my guard down and expressing that for the first time in my career, I was torn. My very supportive manager saw leadership potential but I still had a passion for clients. Prior to sitting down and engaging a coach I wasn’t even able to articulate my challenge but within 10 minutes of being in a safe place with someone who was independent my challenge was on the table. The relief was instantaneous and now the issue was out there. My first experience of working with a coach with the right skill set, who was independent with no vested interest was a resounding success.
So why wasn’t everything perfect? To start with, was I being honest to myself? Whether you are running your own business or holding a leadership position, there’s a positive facade that comes with the role. Over time you start to believe your own positiveness. When does the facade start to crack?
Mentors, managers, friends and family all play important roles. All my mentors were within or close to the organisation, and I’d had terrific relationships with my peers and managers. In fact it was my friends and family who could see through my facade. My wife saw through it all but wasn’t sure how to help. So when the opportunity arose, there was no hesitation to have an initial chat to a coach. Trust was established very quickly and I opened up. The next step was the investment decision. The cost to engage this professional 1 on 1 wasn’t insurmountable, but that night when I got home I explained the program and cost to my wife and without hesitation she said “you need to do this, you are clearly not happy”. She said it, I wasn’t happy but I couldn’t say it aloud.
Working with a coach allowed me to block out all the noise of a demanding role, leave the facade at the door and work on me. At the end of the program, I’d achieved clarity. It was clear what I wanted to do which was to be a business coach in financial services, the question was where? In addition it gave real clarity that one of my major personal goals was to travel around Australia with the family. In my case, what I needed was an independent coach who could help me recognise areas of my personal development that needed some work, to show me how, and then support me as I worked through them. What we do here at Elixir is work with clients needing an independent coach to help them recognise areas of their business that need some work. To show them how, and bring their team on the journey as they implement the changes required to grow the business to achieve the vision of the Principals.
Six months later, still in the same role a friend said “do you know Elixir Consulting are looking for people?”. Within 20 minutes I’d messaged Sue via Linkedin and the rest is history. Not only did I find the coaching role I’d been searching for but I’d negotiated that the start date would be after our trip, which turned out to be 103 day trip around this beautiful country.
People keep asking me why did I leave, and it took me months to be able to be honest. So was reaching out to a coach a sign of weakness or did I have to swallow my pride? Actually who cares! Through my career to date and in the future, I will need help and I’m prepared to drop my guard and make the investment.
The financial services industry is going through tough times. People within it, especially business owners are going through even tougher times. Ask yourself if you need help. If you do swallow the pride, drop the facade and reach out to someone. Preferably someone who has the skill set to either help you personally or assist your business. It’s a terrific feeling to come out the other side.
If you would like to explore what help is out there for your business, drop me a line at [email protected] and I’d be happy to see how we can assist you.