True story.  Toward the end of a coaching session many years ago, a very busy COO at a Fortune 500 company confessed to me, “I almost canceled today; I didn’t think I could afford the time.”

And then in the next breath, “I’m glad I didn’t.  I actually can’t afford not to come.”

We didn’t change his responsibilities during that session.  He still carried them.

But in that space of reflection and strategic thinking, he exhaled, took a step back, and together we solutioned from a different angle rather than the hamster wheel.

In that space he became better.  More efficient because he was able to see and prioritize clearly.  Better able to problem-solve the inevitable challenges and glitches that arose.  Able to actually lead his team to increasingly fixing their own mistakes because he wasn’t reflexively stepping in, thinking it was just easier.

He got more sleep because he wasn’t working until 11pm playing catch up.

His family got more time with him.

And he was far less stressed.

His boss noticed something was different.

The whole team was more efficient that year under deadline than he’d ever seen them, he observed.

With fewer errors.

I don’t know what you’ve done, he said, but keeping doing it.

You don’t need a coach to create this kind of shift, although an outside perspective often proves invaluable, clients tell me.

But you do need space to think and see.

You can put that time on your calendar on a weekly basis and make it sacrosanct.  Admittedly, this is difficult for most clients because of the demands and rigors of their schedules.

You can join a group of other leaders, getting double the return on your time by solutioning while also developing yourself.

Or, yes, you can work with a coach or other thought partner and trusted guide.

Whichever your choose, as my client said, you can’t afford not to.