Why a coach is the best way to reach your destination
Desmond High, a financial consultant and turnaround specialist
with EMC in Maidstone, has become a business coach. Pictured below,
he ponders whether it's a fad or something of lasting value.
now and again along comes something that seems to make excellent
What is odd in this case is it has come from government. After
years of business links, subsidised consultancy programmes,
regional development grants, Train to Gain and so on, we now have
Ambitious companies with under 250 staff can hire business
coaching at a fraction of market price, attend free masterclasses
on say finance or sales and benefit from subsidised leadership and
Coaching can often be seen as a luxury, offered by individuals
reinventing themselves, often under a franchise structure. But this
feels like the right long term answer to developing skills.
As a cricket coach developing juniors for 10 years, as well as
wide business experience, I recognise at the core of coaching is
knowledge transfer – or teaching. In sport, the aim is to improve
performance and help people understand how they can continue to do
So I've signed up as a business coach, building on my 20 years
of experience helping senior staff develop new skills. This scheme
stands a better chance because it unlocks or improve skills within
a business rather than reliance on a passing consultant.
It's important Growth Accelerator uses people who know how to
coach, with experience of board level decision making. Colleagues
have asked how it differs from consulting. With a passing nod to
the old Chinese proverb "give a man a fish and you feed him for a
day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," here
- CONSULTANT: Fishes for you, using his own boat but keeps
half the catch.
- ADVISER: Tells you where the sea is and that you'll need a boat
and a rod.
- MENTOR: Used to fish and suggests you might enjoy it.
- NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Knows the best fish restaurants.
- COACH: Asks how you might deal with your hunger, reminds you
there is an ocean nearby and encourages you to work out what you
need to catch fish.
- CONSULTANT: Takes your watch and tells you the time.
- ADVISER: Suggests you buy a watch.
- MENTOR: Says in his day he found watches useful and you might
- NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Has a Rolex
- COACH: Asks if you can work out how to measure how long it
takes to do something. Then asks if you think you can find a way of
doing it quicker.
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