Maintaining your momentum after you’ve parted ways

By Scott Charlton

Summary
Taking a break from coaching can be beneficial. Changing your coach periodically is also healthy. But if you’ve still got goals to achieve and improvements to make, don’t leave it too long before you get back in the saddle.

Introduction
For both sportspeople and professionals in practice, there comes a time to reassess your coaching relationship and potentially part ways. This article explores why this is so and contains some recommendations for those who want to keep improving, even after that last coaching session.

Don’t be afraid to say goodbye
Strange as it may seem, let me be the first to say that no coaching relationship should be forever. In fact I believe that there is a “use by” date for every coach you engage. Most likely, you will get the biggest benefit from the relationship early on. It’s here when fresh knowledge is being imparted and new methods engaged that you will experience the greatest improvements. Thereafter, it’s likely results will taper, as you steadily absorb what the coach has to offer and things get all too comfortable.

There’s no hard and fast rules about how long a coaching relationship should last. But it’s when intensity morphs into perfunctory, unwillingness to submit performance data creeps in and improvements have stalled that it’s time to reassess. Astute coaches will in fact sense this first and even suggest that a change of mentor is in order.

In this regard, there’s much that practitioners can draw from elite athletes. For example, every so often, a top swimmer will “change it up” – new coach, new city, new pool, new squad. Yes, they’re still churning up and down with head buried in water but it’s a different black line being stared at and a different message they’re focussed upon implementing.

Personally, I think this is a great way of improving. Each coach brings a unique combination of knowledge, skills and personal style to the table. Why limit your quest to maximise outcomes to a single source of input?

But remember why you signed up for coaching
Just as sportspeople love their off season, practitioners often find stepping back from coaching comes as relief – there’s fewer constraints and more time to relax. But athletes know there’s a price to be paid. As a wise man said, “Comfort is the enemy of success”. Hard earned fitness disappears all too quickly, skills get rusty and distractions abound. A case in point is Cathy Freeman who took a year off post her Sydney 2000 triumph and never won another race.

I see this too with professional practices. Without a coach keeping them accountable and friendly competition from coaching colleagues, practitioners drift back into a “flabby apathy”, leading in some cases to wistfulness and even remorse about how things have been allowed to drift.

Like sportspeople reporting back to training, you’ll find it helpful to come back to coaching as part of a group. The support and camaraderie of your squad will get you through the initial adjustment and it won’t be long before you’ll once again experience the thrill of improved performance.

How to regather momentum
As the decision to take up with a new coach should not be taken lightly, here are some tips for making a success of your fresh start -­‐
1. Write down your business goals.
2. Make a list of the benefits you experienced from your previous coaching relationship and expectations of your future coach.
3. Cast around. Seek out a coach you respect – one you will enjoy working with and who can help you achieve the goals set.
4. Set a date when your off season ends and training begins!

Conclusion
For good reason it’s rare to see athletes coach themselves. They know that getting the best out of themselves and matching it with the competition means having a coach on board. So, if you’ve still got goals to achieve or you simply won’t’ be content with underperforming, then don’t leave it too long before you appoint another coach for your business.

 

Scott Charlton is a director of Slipstream Coaching, a company dedicated to assisting financial practitioners achieve their potential. A long term business coach to both accountants and financial planners, Scott is also the author of three books regarding professionals in practice. Scott can be contacted via phone 0409 870 330 or email [email protected]