Coaching: Nothing to fear and everything to gain

By Trish Butera, Founder, The Global Assistant Online

When I talk to executive or personal assistants about coaching to transform their skills, their response often suggests coaching will add to their “to-do list”. The idea of deconstructing the way they approach things is misunderstood. It will not increase their workload nor add more stress to their life. There’s been more than one reluctant participant in my coaching programs. I empathise. The prospect of changing your way of thinking or doing is often daunting, if not scary. But, these reluctant participants are often the most inspired by the end of their program.

To be an effective proponent of change, as a coach, I can’t force change. What I do, is provide insights that help to reframe and remove perceived barriers. I don’t add to the day-to-day pressures and certainly not to your to-do list! I help lower the hurdles to action and transformation.

Asking the right questions is critical. Questions have the power to inspire. In this supportive dynamic, questions help develop awareness, cognitive flexibility and reframe one’s perceived strengths and weaknesses to reveal one’s true superpowers!

But this process of guided exploration into attitudes and behaviours may seem scary, even confronting at times.

The right coach will make this process one of understanding and empathy. They will provide a practical approach to help develop a greater awareness that can directly impact your professional growth. Through broadened awareness comes a mindset shift that will help you achieve clarity and focus on attaining your goals and aspirations.

But – Why Coaching? Why Now? Why Ever?

As the executive support role and administrative industry rapidly evolve, so too should your skills. The leaders you’re supporting or will support in the future rely on team players to be agile and adapt to the changing demands of business in the new normal.

The pandemic has forever changed how we engage in a business environment, across virtual platforms, in our local culture and across international hubs. It has also altered processes, jobs and the scope of responsibilities and attributes to a whole host of roles, not least those in administrative support.

As administrative professionals, no matter what level, experience or industry, you can’t expect to be shown the way, every step of the way.

It is not a realistic expectation for two reasons:

  1. That’s not the way of the ‘head and heart’ agile leader of today. They’re working ‘at pace’ and so should their support teams. The expectation is that executive support will also ‘lead the way’ and extend their leadership capabilities. This begs the question: Are your skills up to par?; and

  2. You must be able to adopt a growth mindset. This allows intelligent risk-taking in ambiguous environments. As skilled executive support, one must, in the most effective way possible, contribute to the forward-momentum of a manager’s efforts. Are you equipped to do so?

Coaching in this light provides you with the “so what?” significance of its undertaking.

Investing time, resources and energy in personal development or coaching is not a luxury. It is a time to identify and take ownership of the barriers preventing growth and taking action to bridge essential, career-defining skills gaps.

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