How to Get to Know Yourself Before your Coach Does

Identify your development needs

01/06/2013 Barcelona


Leading people is a tough job. Dealing with conflict, motivating teams, driving and evaluating performance are not skills that come naturally to most people. Often this is where a coach can step in to help managers develop and maximize their capabilities through a thought-provoking and creative process leading to opportunities and action.

At IESE, coaching begins with self-recognition tests like Belbin, Keirsy and includes a 360º evaluation, among other tools. The program is designed to help you identify your development needs and use the one-on-one coaching sessions to further build your strengths or eliminate a weakness. This program component is a highly beneficial investment in career development, yet making the most of the opportunity can actually begin before the program through some pre-course introspection.

According to Estibalitz Ortiz, the Executive Director of IESE’s Coaching Unit, AMP Program participants should enter the process prepared to reap its benefits. To do so, they should develop a commitment to the process, a positive intention to change, and often the most difficult, a willingness to accept the possibility of drastic individual self-improvement.

She proposes a few pre-coaching tips to encourage a process of introspection and increase self-awareness before the coaching process begins.

1. Asses your openness to the process of coaching. Many people are hesitant or skeptical about coaching, but usually because they do not know much about it. Executive cognitive-behavioral coaching is well researched, so look for academic reports. Speak to others who have participated in such programs so you begin to anticipate and look forward to its benefits.

2. Define what you wish to accomplish. "In addition to bringing willingness and openness to coaching to the process, it is also important to have a specific goal in mind," says Michael Brandenburg, Lead Coach at IESE. So, what are your key challenges on the job? What do you want to learn in the general management program? What will you be able to do better once you have gone through the program? Be sure you are clear about where you are headed in your career and what could limit you on this path. Coaching will help you to eliminate those impediments.

3. Be ready to challenge your self-assumptions. You might think you need to pay less attention to detail or learn to delegate better. Though these may be true, they may not be getting in the way of managing as much as other areas beyond your awareness. The process of coaching often brings new factors onto your radar that you never knew you had to address. Be ready to find out new things about yourself and take action.

4. Develop self-awareness. Before you begin the program, you can brainstorm areas of improvement. One approach is to make a list of accomplishments and failures. For each category, create a list of the factors that made each possible. Why were you able to implement the new marketing plan? Who did you motivate and how? What worked? Or why did you not meet your sales goal or land a new account? If you could not get everyone on board with a new project, why not? What failed? Just having examples of your experiences at your fingertips will help get the process moving once you start.

More information about IESE AMP Programs.