Do I need an executive coach or life coach?

In her latest article, leading executive and leadership coach Veronica van Nierop takes a look why coaching is vital in achieving professional and personal growth and resilience.


I lost count many moons ago of the number of people I have met who tell me earnestly that they don’t need to use the services of a coach.


In most cases I understand what it is that’s led them to that conclusion. Usually it’s because they’ve wandered into the familiar trap of trying to compartmentalise their

lives into boxes labelled ‘WORK’ and ‘HOME’ in the mistaken belief that these two aspects of life are intrinsically separate.


Equally common is the assumption that executive coaching or leadership coaching is a tool that’s restricted to the working environment rather than a tool for life generally.


But it’s simply not possible to separate what you do and who you are at work from what you do and who you are when you’re not at work.


Everything we do in life is interconnected. Everything we feel and do in one context

inevitably impacts on everything we feel and do in every other context. How we respond to pressure, challenges, opportunities, stress and choices we face ultimately informs our

mood, decision-making, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.


In turn, all those things affect the one thing that, when all’s said and done, is the key to the level of success we’re capable of achieving: our happiness or contentment.

Part of the problem, I always think, is that the terminology that’s used to describe what we do isn’t always helpful.


If I tell you I’m a business coach, I’m reinforcing the ingrained mental connection we all have between the word business and the professional environment. If you already consider yourself to be successful at work, your immediate conclusion is you don’t need me.


If I tell you I’m a life coach, you may have visions of meditation and yoga, or an

overwhelming sense of something vaguely New Age, or a general perception of something without substance.


And if I tell you I’m a leadership or executive coach, and you don’t see yourself as a leader or an executive, then it’s hardly surprising when you decide that you needs and my skills don’t match.


I am all of these types of coaches, though of all of them, life coach is probably the most accurate description for what I do, because the outcomes I work to achieve will have a tangible and lasting impact on every single thing you do, whether you’re in the office or away from it.


Every step of the journey to success – however you might define it – starts with an

emotional reaction to a particular set of circumstances which in turn triggers an active

physical or mental response.


And this is where logic becomes a powerful advocate in the argument in favour of using a coach, because if we accept that your actions are linked to you emotions, then how can your decisions not be inherently driven by your emotional state?


A good coach does more than simply tell you how to get that promotion you’re chasing –

though that promotion may be part of the endgame. Coached well, the most important

thing you’ll do is build your resilience and emotional intelligence.


Resilience is the equivalent of the deep breath that can be the difference between a bad

decision and a good decision. It’s the armour that allows you the space and time to be able to process your response options and to see the long game.


By learning how to mitigate the emotional impact of any given situation, you’ll also learn

how to find the clarity and insight to navigate the challenges and opportunities you meet with more constructive, positive and success-focused decisions.


And those skills apply not just in the workplace or the interview panel. They’re also essential to achieve the same success outcomes away from work – whether in managing relationships and friendships, navigating parenthood or setting life goals.


So, do you need the services of a coach? Well, the answer is that you’re asking the wrong

question, because we would all benefit from the services of a good coach. The better

question, perhaps, is whether the success you’re looking for is important enough to do the work needed to achieve it.


I blend neuroscience and behavioural science to help put the people I work with in control of how they manage their resilience, responses and triggers, all within the framework of a clear and measurable plan that has your success at its heart. So, if you’re ready to set and achieve your life goals, let’s talk!