‘Strictly Come Dancing’ yields some useful lessons for all business leaders and indeed for anyone wanting to develop a higher level of performance. Every year the band of celebrities come together and start to learn how to dance. They all start from a different place. They all have different levels of natural talent and ability. The first few shows are amusing as we see people starting to do dancing. They are varyingly clunky, stiff, club footed and generally ill at ease, although all displaying some degree of talent and ability. After a few short weeks, every year, things start to change. Those that remain in the competition start to become more fluent, more graceful, more competent and noticeably more at ease. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that these are not professional dancers but a ragbag of amateurs thrown together with some expert tuition. We are witnessing a transformation of sorts that takes place every year with a predictable pattern.
In part, the transformation is people moving from ‘doing dancing’ to people becoming dancers, and some actually transform to become excellent dancers. This transformation from doing to being, or at the very least becoming, is a transformation that coaches will be very familiar with. As a business coach I see my job, often, as helping people transform from doing leadership to becoming a leader, and indeed a very capable leader. That transition from doing to being allows us to develop the attitude, skills knowledge and behaviour that in turn allows to achieve more of what we are capable of and to do so more easily and effortlessly and to be more at ease with ourselves as we do so. That is one of the fundamental differences between coaching and teaching or training.
Many years ago, I did a post graduate business qualification at a highly respected business school. I learnt quite a lot. I made some great connections but as an investment in myself, or the business, it wasn’t great. Nothing much changed in me and therefore nothing much changed in the business. At best I had learned how to do business, or maybe I had learned how the case studies did business. What was needed was for me to change and grow and develop to become the business leader that my business needed. I needed a coach.
Coaching is less about information, and all about transformation. Coaching may sometimes include information but its real value is the transformation that good coaching will facilitate. It was only when I started to understand that what I did was less important than who I was becoming, that what I knew was less important than who I was that things began to really come together. What about you? As a strictly competitor are you still doing dancing or are you becoming a dancer? Are you becoming the best dancer you are capable of becoming and what are you doing to make that happen? This isn’t about entertainment. There are lives at stake.