This week I had my last session with my coach. A couple of months back A Thinking Ape announced that they would be doing another round with an executive coaching platform, Torch. They'd run through it twice before, but as A Thinking Ape keeps growing, there were already quite a few new leads who had not yet gone through the experience (myself included).

The Torch program was in three parts: selecting your coach, a 360 feedback performance review to generate data that is shared with the coach, and then several months of biweekly 1:1 sessions with the coach.

In my experience, it was a very effective training. I was lucky to have selected a coach that I was very much compatible with. Within a couple of weeks I saw the value in having someone significantly more experienced that I who was invested in my own professional performance. They would act as a neutral party, validating my interpretation of events and offer advice and feedback around my blind spots.

On more than one occasion, I would come with a specific situation in which I knew something was "off" but couldn't put my finger on it, to have the coach immediately ask a few quick questions and then identify the gap. It was almost as if they'd already seen the exact same situation happen several times before.

I left most of our 1:1s with insights that I'd quickly write up on stickies and post on the wall in front of me, to act as a reminder throughout my day.

gentle reminders :D

I was surprised at the value I gained from through coaching – I had underestimated the value of someone who is able to give you exactly the right advice when you need it. This, to me, was the huge difference over what I get through reading and reflecting on leadership literature.

Leadership means working with people. All kinds of people. Most important is management of yourself, so you are best able to productively collaborate even when times are rough  – it's an inevitability, so might as well prepare for it!