Yale School of Management

The Value of a Coach

December 5, 2013

As part of Yale SOM’s Leadership Development Program, I was blessed to have had two outstanding coaches – one a professional coach, and the other a peer coach from my class. I’m not sure I knew what to expect exactly as we started the coaching process….. were these coaches to help me self-reflect on ways I could improve my leadership? Or were they to be sounding boards for ideas I might have? Perhaps to keep me accountable to what I had set out for myself in my Leadership Development Plan?

  As it turns out, they did a bit of all of those things – but the real value of these coaches was that as life unfolded, they forced me to believe in myself more than I did, to question my own self-doubt, and in the end, to dare to achieve more than I ever thought was possible.  It is perhaps not unusual that in the day-to-day rigor of life, we question what is possible, what is realistic.  We doubt our own abilities, wondering if we have what it takes.  We get mired in the “way things normally proceed”, and the regimented mindset of what is usual and customary.  But greatness is not what happens within two standard deviations of the mean…. True greatness is the stuff of outliers – those who dare to dream the impossible dream, and who actually have the tenacity and fortitude to make it come true.  It happens when ordinary people truly believe that they can achieve extraordinary things.  What is problematic, of course, is that people often reject the notion of what they can achieve based on preconceived notions of what is possible.  There’s a great TED Talk called “The Mindset to Succeed”, in which Prof. Tim Noakes claims “What we really need in life is a coach who will give us the self-belief to do what is extraordinary”.  I couldn’t agree more!


About the author

Anees Chagpar

MBA for Executives, 2014