Category: Business Coaching
This week I had the opportunity to speak at the International Transformative Learning Conference at Columbia University in New York City. The event prompted me to think about transformative learning experiences that have occurred at various stages of my life.
Caregiving for my mother-in-law at a relatively young age presented a disorienting dilemma to our family that was totally unanticipated. Nobody imagines getting a brain tumor, so when one appears, it’s an existential shock to you and those who love you. Our family rallied around Mom, giving her as much support as possible as she invited a surgeon, skilled as he may be, to cut open her skull, remove the unwelcome mass, and staple her cranium back together. We did not know if she would survive the surgery, or if she survived, how long she would live afterwards. We didn’t know how our lives would be affected in the future. All we knew is that Mom needed help; she needed it now; and we had to be there for her. So she moved into our home.
As I reflect upon the ensuing five years of care that our family provided to my mother-in-law, I see this as the transformational pivot of my professional life. My career is punctuated by a defining transition of work “before” and “after” caregiving, even though the care for Mom was a personal family matter. Before Mom got sick, I had been working as a human resources professional and a healthcare policy wonk. After taking care of Mom, I became the owner of a home care company and a caregiving scholar.
When we were enveloped in the day-to-day care of Mom, we had no sense of perspective on what was happening to our family. We faced one day at a time. Only through subsequent experiences working with families in similar caregiving situations, employing professional caregivers who know how to transition through end-of-life stages, and exposing myself to rich insights born from research have I come to truly understand the quiet strain and heroic service that caregiving exacts from individuals, families, and society.
Now through Caregiving Kinetics, I have the privilege of helping organizations to raise awareness of the caregiving process and develop ways to effectively support those who care. When I was younger, I never envisioned myself involved in such work, but today I cannot see myself doing anything else.
Generally speaking, confidence is a good thing in business. You need to be confident in your ideas, and you need to believe in your abilities. However, as is the case with most things, too much confidence can be a problem. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is ask for help, or at least invite in another opinion to point you in the right direction. For many business professionals, especially in the caregiving and healthcare industries, that means turning to business coaching. Some professionals turn away from business coaching because they think they already know the answers, they are afraid to hear the truth, or they simply don’t want to spend the money. Unfortunately, that means they miss out on the many benefits that are associated with quality business coaching, such as those listed below.
Hear the Honest TruthIt’s hard to get honest opinions in the business world, when only talking to those who work for or with you. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. In the workplace, many people are hesitant to say what they really think, as that means going out on a limb with their ideas and perspective. More frequently, employees will just toe the line, agreeing with what those above them have said. When you decide to bring in some business coaching, you can put these worries to the side. A business coach is paid specifically to provide honest feedback and perspective, so that is exactly what he or she will do. Without having to think about long-term career implications like someone who works within the organization, a business coach is free from limitations and will be able to give it to you straight.
Open Up a New PerspectiveIt can be hard to see your business in new and creative ways when you work inside it day after day. The rhythm that comes along with a business is self-sustaining in many ways, and it’s easy to just ‘go with the flow’ and keep things as they are. But what if sticking with the status quo means missing out on big opportunities? That would be a shame. A business coach can open your mind to new perspectives and perhaps spot opportunities that you and your team have overlooked to this point.