Executive-level coaching for employees at all levels
newsonjapan.com -- Mar 25
"Everybody needs a coach," stressed Bill Gates in the opening of a recent TED Talk.

He points out that the one characteristic that high achievers share in common, from executives to athletes, is that they all had a coach. Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) has an acting coach, Oprah has a life coach, and even Steve Jobs had a business coach to bounce off ideas and get feedback.

But coaching is not only reserved for executives, actors or all-star athletes. Anybody can benefit from having a coach, says Misha Yurchenko, founder of Netherlands-based global coaching platform, Carrus.io. "A coach is somewhat different than a mentor or consultant," says Misha. "They don't tell you what to do, but rather lead you to find your own answers. They ask powerful questions, test your assumptions, and ultimately help you reach your goals."

While technology was supposed to make our lives easier, in many ways it has made it more complicated, says Misha, who is himself an experienced career coach. "It hasn't solved many of the challenges we face in the workplace, and we find ourselves more stressed than ever before. Multiplied with the uncertainty of the job market, it's clear that we need a more holistic approach to building skills, finding meaning and achieving our full potential." Carrus, which recently entered the Japanese market, aims to solve this problem by bringing the best coach to the right person, at the right time. From leadership to careers, they connect people with expert coaches who provide professionals seeking to advance in their workplace, make a career change, and achieve other personal and professional development goals with the guidance they need.

Coaching is popular and well-established in Europe and the U.S. Japan has been slow to adopt coaching, but this is gradually changing. When a Japanese firm wants to provide learning and development opportunities, they usually offer one-time "training" to employees. This could be a short training on enhancing communication skills, or a five-day classroom training for new managers. "The problem with one-off training," says Misha, "is that within one week, people forget on average 90% of the new concepts you've taught them." Coaching, on the other hand, is an ongoing process that reinforces learning. "Typically you meet with your coach twice a month for one hour, sometimes more, for several months depending on your needs." Real behavior change takes time.

Many companies in Japan do not have a defined career path for employees, and instead practice rotating employees into new roles every couple of years, a practice called jinji ido. While this structure made sense under lifetime employment, it no longer makes sense for those who want to stay globally competitive. People are looking for growth, leadership, and direction. In fact, around 87% of millennials say professional development and/or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job. But most are not getting it, and a majority of employees report feeling disengaged from their jobs. Coaches can cater to these needs through a personalized approach, and provide ongoing feedback to meet the needs of employees looking for career growth.

"We asked one large manufacturer in Japan how often managers have one-on-one meetings with their staff... their response was once every three months. There's still a lot of educating to do, but I'm optimistic," says Misha. When employees are coached, they are more likely to adapt the coaching style themselves, which can positively transform an organization's work culture. Common behavioral changes seen in a "coaching culture" include employees at all levels having open, honest and supportive conversations with one another. Employees assume a more supportive, and even mentoring, role and routinely give one another feedback while fewer 'play politics.'

For the proactive individual who is interested in his or her self-development, a coach is one way to overcome mental roadblocks and "level-up" a career. This applies to the recently arrived expat in Japan who needs help navigating new terrain, as well as the manager who is struggling to break through the "rice-paper ceiling" in a Japanese firm. If you are lucky, you have a great boss who can guide you through these situations. Most managers, though, are more focused on the day-to-day management of the business than their long-term career success (with some exceptions, of course). A coach is not a replacement for your manager, but instead complimentary. An external coach is not burdened with preconceptions about either you or the organization. This means that they can often see things which are not obvious to your manager or other people embedded in the organization's culture and processes.

It's important to note that coaches are not psychologists who focus on the past to treat childhood traumas, and they shouldn't be a replacement for therapy. Rather, a coach plays on your strengths to focus on current challenges in front of you. The most popular coaching topics are self-management and people-management. How do you better manage your stress? What can you do to become a more effective leader? How do you know when to quit and when to persevere? A coach cannot solve your problems for you, but like the Socratic approach, they can lead you to your own solutions. "Advice from a good coach is like holding up a mirror that never lies," says Misha. "Sometimes what it reveals is difficult to accept. But the more brutally honest the criticism is, the more useful it will be in your professional development."

An often-cited challenge in coaching is quality. In a world where anyone can say they're a coach, who can you trust? On Carrus, coaches go through a strict vetting process. They must maintain a 4.5/5 star rating on the platform. Carrus has a team of over 50+ international coaches all around the world, including Japan, many who are International Coaching Federation (ICF), CTI, and EMCC certified, with at least 100+ coaching hours under their belts. These coaches are also leaders, entrepreneurs and CEOs with decades of leadership experience.

Finding the coach who can advance your career is easy. After you fill out some basic information, Carrus will match you with the best coach based on your background and coaching needs. You can then schedule and connect to them through video calls on the platform. The timing is fitting, as all coaching is done virtually through the service, giving individuals and companies the flexibility to get coaching amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people who have been forced to adjust their lifestyles and work from home can use this time to work on their professional development.

"We've asked ourselves how we can help workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 —healthcare workers, police officers, educators and non profit staff who are working hard to deal with the situation." In response Carrus has recently launched an initiative to provide free coaching sessions to those on the frontlines to help them manage stress and reboot for the day. "For now this is focused on Europe, but we plan to offer the same service in Japan very soon."

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If you'd like to learn more about Carrus, you can sign up for one hour of free coaching at https://carrus.io/

News source: newsonjapan.com
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