I recently read an article in the sports section of my local newspaper regarding New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. Here is a guy who works on improving his performance on a daily basis. “Tom’s always trying to get better and is always working hard at it,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “There are certainly things that he can do better than what we’ve done in the first portion of the season. I know he’ll work hard at trying to maximize his performance.”
A lot of us are doing a stellar job, but there is always room for improvement. Especially if we are open to asking others how we can improve and taking their advice into consideration. My most successful coaching clients are the ones who come to me because they know they can do better. These people aren't perfectionists. They recognize they haven't yet reached their full potential and could benefit from having someone on the sidelines cheering them on.
Shawn Randazzo and Linda Michaels, owners of Detroit Style Pizza Co., know first hand the benefits of bringing in a coach. Randazzo and Michaels are a mother and son team who hired a coach even though they didn't have the money to do so. In a recent interview, they told me that they knew they had to do something to improve their business. They were doing the same things over and over and getting the same results. They both recognized that they needed to get outside help in order to take their business to the next level.
“I don’t know how any professional or business person can do this without a coach or a mentor," states Randazzo. Michaels says the experience has helped them minimize disputes. Their coach has helped them to manage their different personality styles and has helped them clearly define the roles each of them play in the business. The results have been transformational. They are hoping to open their third pizzeria in 2013.
Think about how much time is wasted everyday wondering if the move you are about to make will make or break your career. It can be exhausting. Now imagine what it would be like to have someone working by your side, pointing out landmines that may not be in your vision.
When seeking a coach, look for someone who has walked in your shoes. It's more important to find someone you respect than someone who you really like. After all, you've got plenty of friends who are more than willing to tell you how perfect you are and how nothing needs to change. A good coach will have your best interest in mind, even if that means he or she won't win the "Best Liked" award anytime soon.
I'm thinking if a guy like Tom Brady thinks there are things he can do to get better, then there is certainly room for improvement for the rest of us folks. Brady is not afraid to throw himself into the game, a lesson we can all learn no matter what home team we are routing for.
--Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the president of Matuson Consulting (matusonconsulting.com ) and author of the forthcoming book The Magnetic Workplace (Nicholas Brealey, 2013) and the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around,  a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. She has over 20 years of experience coaching executives and leaders looking to boost their performance. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, Talent Maximizer .
[Image: Flickr user Keith Allison ]