As a newcomer to covering insurance and retirement-planning news, I’m struck by the amount of training, research, strategy and networking that fuels many of the successful professionals in these industries. Thomas Edison’s famous quote about genius being “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” certainly rings true for the insurance business.
In my career, I learned the importance of taking time away from the actual work to focus on skill building and goal setting from the corporate leadership coach and author Deb Siverson. I had the honor of helping Siverson, an independent businesswoman, capture her poignant vision for shaping today’s most effective leaders by editing her 2014 book, “The Cycle of Transformation.”
Siverson has amassed nearly three decades of experience working with Fortune 500 companies. Her book describes how the proverbial boss can move from being an everyday taskmaster to being someone who inspires happy, highly-productive employees. With numerous case studies and real-life examples, this material also serves as a reminder that even the most successful businesspeople will stumble when they fail to seek out fresh information, reflect on and address their own strengths and weaknesses, support their colleagues, and pay homage to the inert and individual power that enabled their success in the first place.
What follows are three reasons you may want to seek guidance from a professional coach like Siverson, who bulked up her own skills through the Coaches Training Institute.
1. Business is stagnant.
Siverson argues that one of the major problems with today’s workplaces is that too many business models are set up around productivity rather than employee satisfaction. Successful businesspeople know that great employees are their No. 1 commodity, so they foster a work environment that people want to come to everyday and where they strive to succeed.
If your numbers are down, the solution likely lies in strategies that have little to do with your actual work and more to do with how well you inspire the people around you.
See also: 5 workplace trends to spot in 2016
2. Employees are restless.
I always hated the saying, “It’s business, it’s not personal.” That dated adage struck me as a cool way to pacify someone who may be questioning a decision or who may simply disagree with you. I’m reminded of the schoolyard bully who stomps on a kid’s foot then proclaims that the child’s pain is “not my problem!”
Placating a colleague or charge with “it’s not personal” is a sure way to shut down conversation and at the same time stymie their allegiance. What’s more, research supports the idea that millennials tend to pursue careers about which they feel passionate and personal, not simply select jobs because those gigs will pay the bills.
Siverson agrees. She often references Gallup research that indicates only about 1 in 5 American workers are “engaged and thriving.”
“I want to feel emotional connection at work, and I bet that you do too,” Siverson writes. “Without emotions at work, we all lose. It is the reason people buy, it is the inspiration that causes us to follow, and it is the passion that drives innovation.”
If you’re feeling disconnected from your colleagues or those who report to you, a professional coach can help you develop tools and techniques for broaching even the most difficult workplace conversations.
3. Goals need tweaking.
There’s a bonus to planning a party or vacation that goes beyond the fun you’ll have during the event.
That perk has to do with creating something in life that you can look forward to. Any engaged couple who spent a year or more planning their dream wedding only to feel a slight let-down once the day has come and gone, would agree that life is more enjoyable when we have something to work toward.
Many times, successful professionals have long since achieved the goals that they set for themselves early in their careers. Even if you’re now in your dream job or recently closed the biggest deal of your career, failing to adjust your goals to reflect that success can lead to complacency and even depression. A professional coach can serve as an objective listener and help you zero-in on new priorities and strategies.
“Remember that through reflection there is refined action,” Siverson writes. People need time to slow down and reflect “so they can speed up their success.”
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