Recently, a client of mine forwarded me a TED Talk that I had watched before but was eager to see again. “Want to Get Great At Something? Get a Coach,” was presented by Dr. Atul Gwande, a surgeon, public health professor and author of one of my favorite books, Being Mortal. The TED Talk itself is well worth the watch and I am including it below.
Even as a renowned surgeon, Gwande reminds us that for many professionals, it’s not about how good you are now, but rather how great you have the potential to be that matters. Echoing a powerful theme that brings many of my clients to coaching, in his Talk, Gwande asks us to consider how professionals get better at what they do. In other words: how do we transcend from good to great? Dissatisfied by the more traditional, pedagogical view that “a professional is someone who is capable of managing [his or her] own improvement,” Gwande experiments with hiring himself a coach to observe him in the operating room. The results, as he shares in his Talk, are profound, and yet not surprising for those of us familiar with the power of coaching.
With the effect of helping him significantly improve, Gwande describes his coach as his “external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of [his] reality.” As a coach, one of the greatest privileges granted to me by my clients is to serve as their “external eyes and ears,” bringing another level of awareness to their lives as they build on their strengths and navigate their vulnerabilities. As Gwande experiences first-hand, it is through the coaching process itself – one of active observation, deep listening, and clear communication - that clients have the freedom to explore, improve and unlock the very greatness of their own potential.
Curious to learn more about how coaching can help you improve? Contact me for a free 30-minute conversation.