Reality Straight Up!

Thoughts & Observations of a Free Range Astrophysicist

Professionals Need Coaches Too

Executives use coaching to reach their full potential while maintaining balance in their lives. Professionals could learn a lot from their example.


When Fortune Magazine asked Eric Schmidt, Chairman and former CEO of Google, what’s the best piece of advice he ever got his answer was, “Everybody needs a coach!”

Schmidt is not alone in his assessment of the importance of coaching. John Russell, managing director of Harley-Davidson Europe, puts it this way. “I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve the problem previously thought unsolvable.”

Once viewed as a way of addressing problems, the 2014 Executive Coaching Survey found that executives and HR professionals now see coaching as an essential part of leadership development and managing transitions.

Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman and former CEO talks to Fortune Magazine about the best advice he ever received.

Executives Get It, But What About Professionals?

When a space physicist I went to graduate school with heard that I am coaching these days his reaction was, “Has Jeff gone New Age???”  Nothing could be further from the truth! But the reaction makes a point.

Mention coaching to a professional and you are likely to get a slightly quizzical, bemused look. That is their way of hiding the fact that they don’t have the foggiest notion of what you are talking about. Professionals also have the sort of self-reliance that, while admirable, can lead them to be skeptical of what coaching has to offer.

Professional Time-Out

Most professionals choose their field because they love what they do. But it can be a real challenge to deal with the diverse demands and stresses that we face. How often do you take a time out to evaluate, prioritize, and think about how best to accomplish your goals? If the answer is, “not often enough,” a coach can help.

That’s unfortunate, because if ever there were someone in need of what coaching has to offer, it is today’s professional!

Trained as Racehorses then Shackled to Plows

Doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, scientists, educators, IT professionals… the list goes on.  Becoming a professional is not an easy road to travel. After what can be a decade or more of post-secondary education we emerge into the world armed with powerful knowledge and skills in our chosen fields. We are motivated and passionate and look forward to productive and fulfilling careers engaged in important and impactful work.

Unfortunately our training often does little to prepare us for handling the demands involved in turning a profession into a career. When reality sets in today’s professional is faced with challenges ranging from budgets and administrative duties, to personnel management, to compliance issues, to you name it. All of that happens in uncertain, rapidly changing and politically charged environments. And then there is the tension between the pressures of work and the pressures of life.

When did they cover that in graduate school?

Once upon a time a professional degree and some experience were enough to guarantee security, but no more. Is it any wonder that in recent years levels of stress, anxiety, divorce, chronic illness, depression and other symptoms of burnout have skyrocketed among professionals across the board? It is often those with the most promise who are most susceptable.

A doctor friend of mine put it this way. “They train us as racehorses, then they shackle us to plows!”

Coaching takes you from where you are to where you want to be.

Coaching is an action-oriented conversation built around your goals, your values, and your challenges. It is about discovering ways for you to get the most out of your life and your career, then turning those into real plans with tangible results.

The thing is, more often than not “they” refers to the face that looks back at us every morning in the bathroom mirror.

If Executives Deserve Coaches, Professionals Deserve Them Too

By our nature professionals relish a challenge. We care about what we do, and we do what it takes to get the job done. Imagine what we might be able to accomplish for ourselves if we turned that same attitude and focus on our own lives. Who knows? It just might be possible to have the life that we want after all!

Professionals could learn a lot from our colleagues in the boardroom and the C-suite. You don’t have to do it alone. A professional coach can help. As Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot put it, “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.”

Executives around the world are benefitting from the truth of that statement. Professionals owe themselves a seat on that bus as well.

Professionals Need Coaches Too  © Dr. Jeff Hester
Content may not be copied to other sites. All Rights Reserved.

Reality Straight Up!

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Click on thumbnail to select post:

  • Schools in the Time of COVID  The Decision Will Ultimately Make ItselfPosted in Thoughts
  • COVID-19 Arrives  The Humanitarian Disaster is HerePosted in Thoughts
  • Correctly Predicting Failure  It’s time for scientists to get loudPosted in Thoughts
  • Typhoid Mary on Two Wheels  Spreading COVID one lap at a timePosted in Thoughts
  • Pine Boxes  Invest now, the numbers are going upPosted in Success & FailureThoughts
  • Scientists Stuck Inside  Curiosity in the Time of COVIDPosted in For Your ConsiderationThoughts
  • After COVID’s First Wave  No getting back to normalPosted in Success & FailureThoughts
  • COVID-19  Cutting through the confusionPosted in Success & FailureThoughts
  • Great Deceiverism 101  Explanation or Theory? Therein lies the rub.Posted in For Your ConsiderationUnreasonable Faith
  • One Step at a Time  The  not-so-mysterious origin of lifePosted in For Your ConsiderationUnreasonable Faith
  • The Mind’s Siren Call  Being certain is a primrose pathPosted in For Your ConsiderationUnreasonable Faith
  • Constrained Hallucinations  How the brain uses science to perceive the worldPosted in For Your ConsiderationUnreasonable Faith
  • You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. Yes, schools are desperately important to kids. No, COVID-19 doesn’t care, and COVID is making the rules right now. Attempts to open schools this fall will fail of their own accord. The relevant question is how to meet the needs of children, families and the community in the face of that reality.

  • Currently new cases of COVID-19 in Arizona are doubling every 7 days. ICU beds in the state are already full. The rest of the country isn’t that far behind us. You do the math.

  • Now is not the time for scientists to be circumspect and silent. We are on the short end of a battle over whether truth even matters. If scientists do not stand up for what is real, who will?

  • The morning cyclist in my neighborhood may not be standing in the Michigan Statehouse carrying a gun and demanding her right to spread contagion far and wide, but she may as well be.

  • You know those nice charts and graphs that make it look like we are over the hump of COVID-19 and that things are about to get better? Those predictions are dead wrong, with an unfortunate emphasis on “dead.”

  • Imagine three gregarious scientists, each with the gift of the gab, all coping with stay-at-home orders. Of course we started a livestream/podcast talk show! What else would we do? Welcome to the kickoff episode of Scientists Stuck Inside.

  • Even after COVID-19 kills hundreds of thousands in the U.S. over the coming weeks, we will still be almost as vulnerable to the pandemic as we are today. We’d all love to “get back to normal” after that, but the price could be a second wave, worse than the first. Some see us facing either economic Depression or allowing vast numbers of preventable deaths, but that is a fool’s choice. There are better options if we have the will to find them.

  • There is a lot of information about COVID-19 out there, much of it misleading. When looking at the future, start with what the science really says.

  • If someone can’t tell you how they would know that they are wrong, they don’t have a clue whether they are right.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • Once seemingly incomprehensible, the origin of life no longer seems such a mystery. Most of what once appeared as roadblocks are turning out to be superhighways.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • Being certain lights up our brains like a junkie’s next hit. Literally. Unfortunately, being certain and being right are two very, very different things.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

  • The unique worlds we each consciously inhabit – the only worlds we will ever experience – are constrained hallucinations, products of hypothesis testing by our predictive brains.

    This article originally appeared in my Astronomy Magazine column, For Your Consideration.

Over his 30 year career as an internationally known astrophysicist, Dr. Jeff Hester was a key member of the team that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. With one foot always on the frontiers of knowledge, he has been mentor, coach, team leader, award-winning teacher, administrator and speaker, to name a few of the hats he has worn. His Hubble image, the Pillars of Creation, was chosen by Time Magazine as among the 100 most influential photographs in history.
©Dr. Jeff Hester LLC, 5301 S. Superstition Mountain Dr., Suite 104 #171, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118