If you’ve never worked with an executive coach before, you’re not alone.
While having a coach is pretty commonplace in the US or UK, the popularity of coaching in Singapore is relatively low. According to the International Coaching Federation, only 5% of all coaching activity happens in Asia—despite the fact that it’s home to over 60% of the world’s working population.
This presents a huge missed opportunity for both employers and employees alike in the region, because the reported ROI of professional coaching is an average of seven times the initial investment.
Research by the Institute for Employment Studies also found that employees who received coaching at work reported statistically significant rises in overall mental well-being, job satisfaction, and engagement.
So why aren’t more professionals in Asia demanding professional coaching as part of their employee benefits?
The main barriers are lack of awareness and rampant misconceptions about coaching, who it’s for, and what it can do.
Across her 12 years as a personal and professional coach, Robyn Cam, in-house executive coach at Intellect, has encountered her fair share of misconceptions related to employee coaching. In this article, she helps debunk some of the most common ones, and explains the true benefits and possibilities of coaching.
Before we proceed, it’s important to know that executive coaching can cover multiple areas, including:
- Career coaching: addresses professional and career goals, and provides insights that aid in career development, role transition, or job search
- Life coaching: covers personal growth and motivation, including issues related to career, health, fitness, finances, interpersonal relationships, and more
- Organisation or business coaching: supports business owners in mapping out business goals, strategies and plans for improving organisational performance
- Leadership coaching: hones leadership skills, and is valuable for any professional, whether they’re currently in a leadership position or are aiming to be promoted into one
Truth 1: You don’t have to be “in trouble” to seek out coaching
There is a popular assumption that coaching is only for employees who are struggling.
In reality, coaching helps the good get even better, and works best on motivated performers who want to achieve next-level growth in their performance or careers.
That’s because coaching is about more than just problem-solving. Beyond helping employees solve issues such as how to handle daily office tensions or improve their communication skills, coaching is also used to help workers answer questions related to their career path and progression.
“Coaching combines planning and vision, and creating achievable steps to propel you forward towards whatever goal you’ve chosen,” says Robyn.
Because of this, employees can benefit greatly from receiving tailored coaching as soon as they start their careers, as well as throughout their professional lives.
Truth 2: Personal coaching is not the same as therapy
But it can be complementary to therapy.
While therapists fix and address issues related to past traumas, family dynamics, or diagnosed health challenges, coaches help you set a forward direction by providing strategies, tools, solutions, and perspective.
The coaching relationship is centred around action and follow-through. Their focus is on helping clients develop their potential to improve present and future performance.
“Coaching focuses on how you implement new strategies for yourself and create accountability measures to move forward safely and efficiently,” Robyn shares.
“I often have clients who are concurrently seeing a therapist and there is no overlap. I work with the client to implement action and direction for the week/month ahead without unpacking sensitive details.”
Truth 3: Having a mentor doesn’t mean you don’t need a coach
Mentors are valuable for providing job or industry-specific support based on their personal knowledge, experiences and connections.
A coach, on the other hand, is someone who has gone through specialised training to help guide you in finding your own career path or direction. They often provide client-specific strategies and tools to help you develop detailed action plans with clearly defined personal goals.
Like therapists, Robyn explains, mentors are not a replacement for coaches.
“A mentor can give insight to a workplace or industry, but coaching resources the client with the tools and strategies they need to blaze their own path, do things differently, and create opportunities that best suit them,” she says.
While mentors are valuable for dishing out general, big-picture advice, coaches can help you map out the path that actually gets you to your goals.
Truth 4: Anyone and everyone can benefit from executive coaching
Coaching is not, and should not be, a luxury exclusive to those in higher leadership positions.
Anyone can greatly benefit from having a coach to help them better define their professional goals and aspirations, so that they can carve out happier, more fulfilling careers for themselves.
“Coaching is fundamental in helping you gain clarity when you cannot find it yourself,” Robyn emphasizes. “It helps you refine and sharpen that dream or vision so it becomes your reality.”
That’s because coaches act as a personal soundboard and accountability buddy, allowing you to check in with your own thoughts about your life, your personal development, and your career progression.
“Sometimes, we just want to float an idea or thought across to another person but not ask for any answers,” says Robyn. “Having a coach as a confidant can help you plan out difficult conversations or projects in a safe, neutral space.”
But it’s also important to choose the right coach. According to Robyn, it can take a few sessions to build rapport and for a coach to learn more about you, so don’t give up too quickly—have a few sessions before deciding whether a coach is the right fit for you.
Coaching is about being proactive with your mental wellbeing and career development
Coaching is a valuable resource for helping anyone at any level feel like they’re being their best selves—and it pays off in more ways than you would expect.
“I had a client who was putting off coaching because he was too busy,” shares Robyn. “We worked on that together and he became more organised and efficient at work. As a result, he felt more relaxed in the evenings and ended up spending more time helping his son learn to ride a bike!”
Far from being about fixing something that’s broken, coaching is a valuable and effective self-care resource—for executives and employees alike—to help strengthen your motivations and remove any blockages that may be preventing you from living a more fulfilling professional life.
Ready to get started on your coaching journey? We have you covered—find out how you can work with an Intellect coach here.